Tomorrow morning I will be saying “see you later” to Mrs. M.
It’s definitely not a “goodbye”, but whether or not we stay married is a total unknown at the minute.
My wife prefers a minimal online presence and I respect that, but I want to make a few things perfectly clear – mostly to myself – before I face tomorrow.
After this post, I won’t be writing about Mrs. M for awhile, but here’s what you need to know:
Mrs. M has been nothing but supportive of me over the last two years when my drinking really spiralled out of control. She has driven me to hospital at least half a dozen times. She has driven me to rehab. She has had to clean up my sick, and watch over me to make sure I don’t choke on it in a drunken stupor.
When I have been shaking and climbing the walls with withdrawals she was by my side, soothing me as best as she can.
She has tried to love me back to health. She has always, always, encouraged me to be who I really am. She has been the kind of partner I wasn’t able to be.
So to be clear: I am not angry at Mrs. M.
What we have both learned is that no one can love me back to health other than me, and that can’t happen within the context of our relationship.
This is why a separation is necessary.
I’d like to think that the ugly is over. It’s everything Mrs. M has already endured and more: my blatant lying, total financial irresponsibility, being physically present but emotionally withdrawn, declining physical health, declining mental health, hallucinations, being sick, being verbally abusive, and to top it all off blaming her (and others) for my behaviour.
When I was drinking I gave it all to her. All of that is mine now.
To a certain degree I have already taken ownership of the ugliness: I know I was a Grade A asshole. No one made me act that way.
There will come a time when I really have to examine my actions, and frankly I don’t want to look at it. So much easier to sweep it under the carpet and pretend it didn’t happen, right?
Easier, but not conducive to recovery. Really facing the person I was while drinking…that’s going to be ugly.
“The good news is that your feelings come back. The bad news is that your feelings come back.”
Yep. This is the bad. Well, it’s also largely good but let’s be honest: there’s a reason why it is suggested that people in early recovery avoid big changes like relationships and moving.
Mastering new ways of coping with huge feelings takes time.
(True story: on our wedding day one of my best friends said in her speech that I have the biggest feelings she has ever known someone to have)
I haven’t had the luxury of time before facing massive change, so my coping skills are – shall we say – “rusty”.
Chain smoking and binge eating are keeping me sober, but not healthy.
I am also very used to having Mrs. M’s supportive ear when I need it. I am sure I will one day realise how much I was overly dependent I was on her to make me feel better.
So all the sadness, anger, frustration, guilt and loneliness will be there for me to cope with sans booze.
It feels a bit like being asked to do a marathon after a week of training. Not impossible, but definitely not easy.
I will likely stick to unhealthy habits to keep myself safe a little bit longer than if my world hadn’t turned upside down, but then that brings me to…
Despite the ugly and the bad, there are actually buckets and buckets of amazing opportunities that lay before me.
I will learn to cope with my feelings in a healthy way. In doing so I will tap into a strength I currently don’t know I possess.
My confidence will return.
I will have no choice but to make new friends, and nurture current friendships.
I will figure out who I am and what it is I want without the temptation of compromising on anything to make Mrs. M (or anyone else) happy.
I will be able to look at my financial situation and do something about it.
I have the freedom to try new things, and rekindle my love affair with passions that have been dormant for a long time.
I will make peace with myself, make amends with the people I’ve hurt in due course, and move on without sweeping anything under the carpet.
I will be able to be completely and utterly selfish without taking anything away from anybody.
I will learn to love myself.
I will heal.
I know that Mrs. M loves me. Asking me to move out has been just as tough on her as it has been on me, but it’s honestly and truly the best thing to do.
She needs time and space to recover from the shitstorm I created, and I need to focus on my relationship with myself before I can ever expect to be able to have a relationship with anyone else.
I also know that I love Mrs. M.
Loving her means being willing to let her go.
Our separation is “tentatively temporary”: no communication for six months, after which point we will see where we are both at.
Six months is simultaneously an eternity and a split second. Who knows what will change?
No one is making any promises. What will be, will be.
I needed to write this mostly for my own benefit. When we part tomorrow I suspect the grief will come in unrelenting waves for some time, and I need to have this to refer back to as a reminder that this is a good thing.
A very good thing.
So, future Moppy, dry your eyes. Watch a film. Call a friend. Grieve if you must but only for a little while.
This is a loss…but there is so much to gain.