Friday, August 31, 2007

So...um... yeah...

I'm not sure how to begin this post or really how to end it. In fact, I'm not really sure what to put in the middle either so excuse me if I just sort of ramble in incoherent sentences and in some sort of a random order. Things at my house right now are stressful, to put it mildly... REALLY mildly.

Jake is home. Not for a visit, he is home. Sort of got dumped on me after the funeral. I told you all how he had sort of stalled in his progress two weeks ago and then he appeared to be moving again but apparently not at the rate they think that he should be. His counselor called it failure to thrive.

I don't know how I feel. I have talked to her a couple of times and she has assured me that this is not really a problem with Jake but more a problem with the environment. She doesn't feel that he's making progress because he is too focused on me and Zack and he is too far away from us. She thinks that he will do much better in an outpatient environment here, where he can still see us every night.

I called her again yesterday morning just to be sure. I made sure that she understood that I was basing my decision to let him back in our household on this information and she needed to tell me the truth, not what she thought I wanted to hear. She assured me she was.

She says that she has no doubts that Jake can do this and with five months of sobriety under his belt she doesn't think he needs a residential treatment center any more. In her opinion he will do much better and make much more progress if he can be around us and not be distracted by worrying about us.

There's a part of me that's happy that he's home. It's now another set of hands to help me with Zack and thus far, in the three short days he's been there, he has been a great help around the house too.

However, there is also a part of me that is disappointed and sad. He wanted to finish this program, I wanted him to finish this program and the both of us feel that they sort of gave up on him because he wasn't making progress as quickly as they would like.

My counselor tells me that sometimes these places have stats that they turn in and if someone is bringing down their stats they will discharge them. I don't know if this is the case or not. However, I am sure that if Jake tries at this, he can make it.

On Tuesday he will begin outpatient treatment. This weekend we will attend some meetings. There are some tonight that are an AA meeting in one room and an Al-anon meeting in another. I think we may try to hit those.

As for my stress level, it is through the roof. I think I need a Valium or a percoset or whatever it is that people pop to bring their heart rate down and make them function again. As a friend of mine so wonderfully pointed out, I have chosen to let him come back so I have to give him the space to prove to me he can do this.

I think my stress level will be much diminished once I fully embrace this concept. This is no longer my battle to fight. Jake has to sink or swim and at this point I know that if he falls I have an amazing support system to lean on and I can do this on my own. My big thing now is not that he's here but that I had no warning. I wasn't prepared for it and so I'm feeling very caught off guard and a little out of sorts.

Hopefully after a three day weekend and a whole lot of projects that I hope to get done I will feel a little more like myself.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Homework for Jake's Councelor

A couple of months ago I got a phone call from Jake. I could tell that he wanted to tell me something but I didn't quite know what, so the conversation progressed and there were these awkward pauses where I was kind of waiting for him to say whatever it was he needed to say, but he didn't quite get to it.

Then after about five minutes he just sort of blurted out, "I need to know what you love about me." Just plain as day. Simple, short and to the point. When he blurted that out my first thought was "Why?" Not that it mattered but I couldn't figure out why the heck he was asking. That was followed quickly by my mind freezing. It just went blank. It's not that I didn't know anything; it's just that I'm not really a Johnny on the Spot kind of girl.

I could tell that my silence really bothered him. He was kind of waiting for me to say something and then when I didn't the tone in his voice kind of changed and it sounded kind of sad when he said, "Well if you don’t know you can think about it and I can write it down later." And really, it wasn't that I didn't know, I was just sort of taken off guard.

So, while my mind was racing, he answered my original question of why. He told me that his counselor had asked him that day and he had told her he didn't know. So she had told him to ask me and then write it down. Therefore, never one to disappoint the counselor, I pulled my thoughts together and just started rambling things off as he wrote them down. Or at least I thought he was writing them down. Every once and awhile he would stop me or tell me to slow down so he could get it all down and then he would read back to me what he was writing down.

I thought this was sufficient; however, a little over a month ago I found out that what he wrote down was apparently the readers digest or the Cliff's Notes version of what I had told him. When I talked to his counselor after his visit in June she told me there were only three or four things on his list and they were just items written down with no explanation.

So, since she was trying to work on Jake's self esteem, obviously he has low self esteem, all addicts have low self esteem, she wanted me to think about it and write down what I loved about Jake.

At first I didn't really think that this would be as much of a reflection project as it has been. I thought I would just write a few things down and then move on with life. However, when I was talking to a friend of mine about this project right after I received it she said to me that she thought it would be kind of hard. In her opinion I had only known him as an addict and so if she had to write down ten things she liked about Jake she wasn't sure she could do it because she's not sure she knows the real him.

At first this really caught me off guard and I admit, I saw red. I thought how rude of her to say such a thing. She is not married to Jake, so of course she couldn't write down what she liked about him. She was seeing the superficial stuff, not the real him.

I on the other hand have known the man for 11 years; of course I know what I love about him. Don't I? In fact it kind of made me defensive, like obviously if I've stuck by him for this long I should know what I love about him. Shouldn't I?? And then I started thinking about it. I ran through the list of things that I had given him the first time and there were several character traits that I do love. Several things that are fundamentally him but there are also several things that I am now questioning.

As I listened to myself say them out loud I wasn't so sure that some of the things I loved didn't sound like what a parent would love about a child instead of what one spouse would love about the other. You see Jake and I have fallen into a very parent/child relationship over the past 11 years.

Mostly out of necessity I have taken on a parental role in taking care of the finances and continually having to remind him to do household chores. He has a prepaid Visa card because he has been unable to manage money and therefore has never been allowed (see that parental role) to have a regular credit card or checking account. I also did a lot of parental "babysitting" when he was home. Calling to check to see where he was, trying to make sure I knew his friends or where he was, going to get him if he didn't come home, things like that.

At first I was unsure if I was willing to give some of those roles up because I'm pretty comfortable with them. But after some more reflection I've come to the conclusion that if he wants to get a good job and work full time while I work part time I would gladly give up the role of the main breadwinner. If he wants to step it up and take care of his house I would gladly give up the role of nagger of the year. (I never really liked that one anyway.)

In fact one of the things I am most looking forward to when he returns is having a normal adult relationship. I don’t want to have to question where he is or what he's doing. I'm NOT his mother and I'm tired of being "forced" to play that role. I have actually grown quite comfortable with being able to sleep the whole night without waking up for every little sound wondering if it was him and being able to work a full day without having to call him and worry about where he is or what he's doing.

In fact, so much of the last eleven years of our lives has been in such turmoil that some of the things I convinced myself that I loved about Jake had really just become things I was comfortable with. And in the same token, so much of what I thought were qualities that he had I am now questioning whether were lies or truths. Do I really know the real Jake??

In the end, what I thought was going to just be a quick write down the things I love about Jake has turned into a two month project of really examining everything about our relationship and everything about who he is to me. I have really had to examine the roles that we have kind of put ourselves in and decide if I love those qualities and those roles or if I'm just comfortable with them because they are all I know.

So once I sorted out the things I wasn't sure were things I loved but were more like things I was comfortable with I discovered that the list was pretty small. So I decided to look back at our website and through my old journals to try to remind myself of who Jake was and who he has been to me. And you know what I discovered? More anger.

In fact it has taken two trips home for him and two trips down there for me and lots and LOTS of question and answer sessions for me to finally process all of that anger. I have anger about things that he has done and said and I also have anger about things that he should have been doing or saying.

On top of the anger I have resentment. All of this has been a lot to process in the past two months and not at all what I thought this process was going to be. However, I think I am finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm finally starting to remember what it is that has kept me with Jake for all of these years and the things about him that just make me smile inside. For two months I have been looking all over for him and this weekend, while I was visiting him, I opened my eyes and there he was.

I feel like I've come full circle and I can now start to be Jake's biggest fan and supporter again instead of his biggest critic. For several years now I have been the first one to question what his motives are and take a position against him. Now I finally feel like I can begin to support him and believe in him again. I've come to a place where I can once again take his side or believe him without needing to call his counselor and question him or check his story. It's taken me a LONG time to get here… but it sure feels good to have arrived.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Answering Questions & A Bit About Jake

I have gotten some wonderful comments on my last post. Several have been anonymous and I wonder do you leave them that way because you don't want me to know who you are or because you don't want others to know who you are?? Either way, I greatly appreciate all of the support and compassion that you all continue to show me. You are a great help to me in this time of my life.

I have gotten a few comments and/or questions that I would like to address though. First of all, to Jess, I have not told you about Jake because it is not a HUGE deal (well it was on Tuesday but it's not now). I intended to do a post about it today but then last night while reading all the old journal entries they seemed more important so I wrote about that instead.

The deal with Jake is that he is not progressing as quickly or as much as his counselor would like. Basically he is still stuck in a lot of his old behaviors that they are trying to change but he is not doing it. I don't think it's for a lack of trying on his part, I just think it's hard to change everything about yourself. (Which is what they ask them to do there.) I know for me I'm doing a lot of self evaluation and while I can see the problems it is much harder to actually go about fixing them.

What really brought this situation to a head though was that Jake told a lie. Last week he called a group on his father. Out of respect for his dad I won't go into great details here except to say that his dad drinks and Jake is uncomfortable around it and so they had told Jake how to talk to his dad about that and a few other things. Jake did call his dad but he didn't talk to him about that stuff because he thought it would embarrass his dad or make him mad.

However, when the group asked him, he lied to them and told them that he did talk to him. Then when he got back from pass he was upset about his dad again, he stood Jake up when he was supposed to meet him at the fair, and so he called another group. In this group he mentioned that he had, in fact, not talked to his dad about the drinking and other items. So, when they had treatment reviews on Tuesday he was essentially "called out" for lying.

That basically brought the whole thing to a head. His counselor talked to Jake about how he has yet to come up with a good reason that he's in treatment. When asked he will say because he wants to get sober for me or Zack, but really he needs to have a reason to be sober for him and he hasn't found that yet.

He also still has a huge problem thinking for himself. He consistently looks to me or to the counselors for approval when he has an idea. He wants desperately for someone to tell him how to do things instead of coming up with his own ideas. He does his homework to get it done and then he has to redo it 3 or 4 times before it is right instead of taking the time to think it through and do it correctly.

And those are just a few examples. According to his counselor everything Jake is doing is typical addict behavior. It is all things that she works with all of her clients on. The problem with Jake doesn't stem from these factors it stems from the fact that he is in a rut. He has basically been going no where for about two weeks and so she told him that he needed to come up with a list of reasons for them to let him stay.

He came up with that list and for now he is there and hopefully this will be what he needs to begin moving forward again. At this treatment facility you can stay as long as you need to but you have to continue to move forward to do it. You can't just sit still and take up space.

So to answer another question that I got, no he is not coming home right now. Will he come home eventually, yes that is the plan. If he does what he needs to do and he graduates this program than yes, he is welcome in our home. If he can't get it done than I'm not sure what will happen. I want desperately to tell you all that if he doesn't graduate he won't come here but right now that's not realistic for me to say. I have learned that if I am going to say something I need to follow through with it so I'm just going to leave it open ended for now.

About what I love about Jake. Someone said that it shouldn't be hard to think of the things I love about Jake. I think I made it harder than it was. You all have opened my eyes to that quite nicely. I think I just needed to dig through some of my emotional baggage and get to the real Jake. The Jake that keeps me smiling. Once I dug through that and realized that they don't have to be the "huge" things that I love they can be little things too it became much easier. I should have it finished as soon as I finish this post.

Finally, on to my last question. Do I feel obligated to stay with him so that he stays successful with his recovery? Wow, when you guys ask questions you go for the gusto don't you? Actually this has been something I have struggled with quite a bit. When people asked me why I didn't just leave him and let him rot in the getto this was my answer. If I left him he would have no one else who would go get him. And for a long while that was true.

Now, however, I don't know how I feel about it. That's a fair answer isn't it? If nothing else, it's honest. I do wonder what will happen to him if we do not stay together. That is why I fully support his counselor when she says that he needs to find a reason that he wants to be sober that is for him. For a long time he has told me that I'm all that he has and without me he has nothing. While that's a sweet sentiment and all, I'm really hoping that he can build back up some of his self esteem and get to a place where he loves me and he wants to live with me but he knows he could live without me. I don't want to feel like if I can't leave him (should something happen where I feel we can no longer stay married) because he would relapse without me. That's a hell of a burden to carry around. Even for me.

So now, I think I've answered all of your questions and told you a bit of an update on Jake in the process. If you have any more questions or if I was unclear on anything please don't hesitate to ask or e-mail me. I am one of the most open people you will meet and part of my reasoning for writing about all of this is to educate and to make sure that no one else who is going through this feels alone.

Being Alone

So, like I mentioned the other day, I've been looking through my old journal entries. Some of them have been really funny but a lot of them have really got me thinking. I'm supposed to be writing this thing for Jake's counselor about why I love Jake and I've had the assignment for over a month. I've managed to write three pages of filler but only about one page of real stuff.

So I thought maybe I would find some answers in my old writings. However, I'm not finding much. What I am finding is an overwhelming sense that I have been through a LOT in my life, and not just with Jake. I'm also discovering that this stint on my own is probably the longest I have ever been alone in my life.

Throughout my journal there are numerous entries about not wanting to be alone. I was continually clinging to friends or to boyfriends. Even when they were not as nice to me as they should have been I stayed because I didn't have a backup plan and so they were all I knew.

In high school I had a whole string of friends who I was SOO close with, even one who I called my mommy for a time (don't get me started on how stupid this sounds to me now) and yet none of those friendships were really based on anything other than the fact that these people liked me and accepted me for a time and I clung to them like glue.

It is sad to me to think that before Jake I had a steady boyfriend that I fought with for 5 months before we broke up and STILL I was sad when he left. Before that I had another boyfriend that I NEVER saw and only talked to on the phone once a week, but still... I had a boyfriend and I was not alone. (And when we broke up I cried in my cheerios over that one too....)

My journal is filled with all of these entries about how much I love boyfriends and friends and how within the span of just a few short weeks I am SOO attached to someone that I would let them walk all over me just so I wouldn't be alone.

It makes me wonder who that person is. Five months after Jake has been gone I am having a hard time remembering her. However, two days ago Jake called to tell me things were not going well and he may not graduate his program and it all came flooding back.

I know in my brain that if he doesn't graduate (I'll write more on this later) that he's not serious about his recovery and so I should not let him back in my life. But in my heart there was a great sense of panic. This is why I have to continue to be honest with my friends and family.

It would be all to easy for me to fall back into my old routine and make excuses for him and then let him come back and blame the system instead of him. It would be all to easy to make sure that I'm not alone. But I can't do that. I have a son who depends on me to keep him safe and so really, I'm not alone. (In fact in a few short years I may be BEGGING for time alone.) But right now, I'm the sole care giver for the smartest, most adorable baby in the whole wide world (heavens no I'm not biased) and I have to make sure I keep him safe.

So what's my real problem? The fact that his counselor gave me an assignment that should not have, but has caused me to look at myself in a whole new way and to really examine who I am and why I put up with what I have. Why do I get SOO attached to people who are obviously bad for me? How do I make sure that I'm letting Jake back into my life because I love him and I love our life together and not just because he's comfortable? And most importantly, how do I make sure that I never go back to being that person that I was, so afraid of being alone that she would let herself be trampled all over just to be with someone?