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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Really... no I mean... REALLY???

This morning an argument took place concerning money matters. Riley wants to get a copy of his credit report so he can find out “what’s really going on” with the money.

What’s really going on???  What the heck does that mean??? Is he implying/inferring/accusing me of mis-managing the money? Does he think I’m lying or keeping something from him? Just exactly what does he think is really going on??

I hate people who talk in riddles. If you have something to say – just say it. Pull up your big boy pants and say what’s on your mind. Ask me a question. Make a statement that allows for conversation and doesn’t imply a hidden meaning. Initiate a discussion that doesn’t point a finger of blame. But, be prepared – if you hit me hard enough – I will come out fighting. I will protect myself.

What is really going on is that we are in a better financial situation than either of us has been in years. There is money left over at the end of the month. We can afford to rent a car or buy little extras at the grocery store. We can afford to give the kids money when they run out.  It is true, we are not in the perfect place. There are bills that need to be addressed. But those bills ARE being worked on and eventually they will be taken care of.  Now that more than $500 each month is not being spent on vodka – maybe I can get us to a better place. It’s a long term goal – it won’t happen between now and next week.

But, to me… this is not about our budget. This is about Riley not remembering what condition his money was in before he came to my house. It’s about him not being grateful that I volunteered to try to get his credit cards paid up and put him back into a solvent situation. This is about Riley not trusting me to do what is in our best interest financially.

In my previous post I mentioned about fading memories. This is a prime example. He doesn’t understand that I was on my own with every single decision that needed to be made. He has forgotten that he did not / could not participate in anything that even resembled a major decision.

I tried. I tried to include him in all decisions. I have tried to keep him informed – then and now. I tell him everyday of the status of the bank account. When I sit down to pay the bills – he’s right there – across the desk from me. He knows what I’m paying and how often. He knows what’s in the bank. I discuss all aspects of money with him.

I want him to participate. I wish he could/would make suggestions that were real alternatives. But instead I get silence. I get passive-aggressive actions and then “What’s really going on.”

So… where’s the gratitude? Where’s the “thank you” for handling everything single-handedly? Where is the trust? Is he thinking he could do a better job?

 I know… I know… there is brain damage. I know that it’s unrealistic to expect him to be a true partner. I know he doesn’t remember how things were and cannot be grateful from what he doesn’t remember. I know all this…

But the slap in the face doesn’t hurt any less. And the anger I’m feeling is justified. Would it really hurt him to say, “Thank you for taking such good care of me and everything else in our lives.”? Would it really hurt him to trust that I have BOTH of our best interests at heart? Would it hurt him to not be so accusative and be more of a participant?

Evidently it would hurt him because that would mean that his true love – vodka – had hurt both of us. I would mean that he might have to take some responsibility for his actions. He can’t do that – his loyalties are firmly implanted. In his mind his beloved vodka would never have complicated his life.

I want to buy him a bottle today. I want him to drink it down and I want him to disappear into the haze.

It’s a good thing we are snowed in.


NorthernTeacher said...

I've been peeking at your blog for just a few months and have found it interesting. My grandfather was an alcoholic but I don't remember very much about him as he died (yes, from drink) when I was early teenage.

Today's post struck me for another reason. My mother was a gambler - in fact, I think she probably still is, though I only keep in touch occasionally by phone as I am not involved much in her life now.

A long time ago she tried to kill herself since the bailiffs were due at the house the next day. I came home from work to find her (I was 17) and got her to the hospital. My dad, me and my sisters sorted the finances out and my dad's workplace helped out with appropriate phone calls so that in the end we could continue to rent the house.

I went to uni and was back home one holiday when I accidentally opened a letter addressed to my mother. It was from a bank threatening to send debt collectors around as she had apparently missed 'some payments'. What!? We all thought at the time that she'd disclosed everything that was owed. Obviously not.

The point is that I feel sure such a mind (gambler or 'similar') never really changes. I did try to speak to her about the suicide attempt 10 years or so after the event. She said she couldn't remember it happening at all. It's funny isn't it? That day is still crystal clear to me.

I hope you have a really good 2011, Linda!

Syd said...

I don't think that the leopard can change its spots overnight. It may take years and still some vestige of the alcoholic mind remains. I have seen friends 20 years sober be raging dry drunks.

god said...

You are, as you know, in a difficult spot and it's hard not to take what an alcoholic says 'personally." Everything is personal.

It's possible he saw some ad on TV, exhorting the viewer to find out what's really going on. He may feel as though, as much as you do for him, he's "lost control" of his life (and he has, by giving control to drink) and this is one small way he can feel as though he's "taking care of business."

Alcoholics notoriously have a very small toolkit when it comes to communication. Likely he doesn't have the tools to communicate things like gratitude, feelings of helplessness, or other things with tact.

You don't really need me to tell you you've chosen a hard row to hoe. You know it, live it, experience it every day.

I hope you are doing things for you, to keep you healthy and sane during this difficult period in your life.

Anonymous said...

I read this this morning and it is a dejuv of my life. I have taken to writing everything down and have been verbally slammed while working 3 jobs to support my family. It has been mentally exhausting dealing with my alcoholic and your blog has been a great find. Just to know it is out there and what I experience is not isolated. This is a mild version of my financial life.