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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.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Annual optimistic arrogance

Here we are. We’re here every year, year after year. There’s nothing we can do to stop it and I don’t know anyone who would want to if they could. It’s the New Year. It comes with fresh new hopes and statements of adamant changes in lifestyles. In our optimism, we have images of brighter days and calmer nights.  In our pessimism, we dread what we know in the deeper recesses of our being is the logical outcome of this bright New Year.

Each year I start out thinking that I will strive to do things differently. I will pledge to write a chapter each week in the next book. I clean out my
closets and vow to drop a few pounds. I get fully dressed each morning. I attempt to be nicer to Riley and spend more time trying to have conversations with him.  I forecast my budget to the end of the year including putting a few dollars aside each payday for my next respite. It all starts out so good that I can feel the smug satisfaction of accomplishing my goals even though I haven’t even gotten though a complete week.

The reality is that by the end of March, I’ll be scrambling in my closet for an outfit that actually fits. Some days I’ll never even get to the closet and just stay in my jammies all day.  Communication with Riley will boil down to serving his meals, changing his soiled clothing and telling him what is for dinner. Unexpected expenses for my medication or tires for the car will destroy my forecasted budget. The feeling of failure to manage my life will replace that arrogance of a few months prior.

I don’t think I’m really different than anyone else. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get off track at some point during the year no matter how well they plan. No one has all their plans go off without a hitch each and every time. To top it off, if there is an alcoholic in the house, all plans must have a contingency plan. For me, there is always a “Plan B” or “back-up plan”. There are times when even a Plan C is set in place. The trick is to be fluid enough to accept the alternate plan and the wisdom to know when to put it to work.

The fact that I know what is about to happen and in spite of it all, I still start each year with exuberant optimism is an inspiration to me. I could be all doom and gloom and hide in the back of my closet in the fetal position every New Year’s Day. What would be the point in that? I’d still have to go forward after emerging from my closet cocoon. The sun will still come up every day and problems will still have to be resolved. I think it’s better to just face the new yaer, make good plans and let them fall into whatever cracks may be.

I don’t really make New Year resolutions. I just know what I need to do and do my best to do my best each day. Some days my best is pretty crappy and some days it’s better than best. I think that’s really all any of us can do.

May your plans for the year be the better of your best and may your time in the closet be brief.


Anonymous said...

I can relate. Enjoy your vacation

SufferingInMD said...

I, too, can relate. I am trying so hard to hang on for my kids, but wonder all the time if I am doing the right thing. I honestly can't win though. If I remove him from the house, I'll be the bitch who threw out her sick husband. If he stays I wonder how the boys will be affected long term watching their father shit himself, fall down and just gradually die in front of them, and how much longer I can be strong enough to be my best for them and yet care for him as he continues to deteriorate, slowly, oh so ever so slowly. It's so painful to watch and thus I don't even have any optimism for this year. I cried all day New Year's Day. New beginnings? What new beginnings? Just more of the same hell, like that terrible movie Groundhog Day but with no happy ending. He will never get better and be the husband and father he once was before his demons caught up with him. And after he's gone? That won't be happy either. It will bring a sense of relief--for us not having to watch it anymore, and for him to not be in pain and trapped by the demons. But happy? There is no such thing as a happy ending when you marry, care for, have children with an immortal alcoholic.