from my inbox:
MrB (day 2): “Finally had a long talk and discussion with the husband. It turns out he is very concerned about his own drinking and also wants to stop, which is why he instituted a dry January on his own. It’s so interesting because I always felt under his microscope, that he was watching my consumption, when in reality, he was, but he was comparing it to his own. He eventually got to more than a bottle of red more than 4 nights a week, and it’s just time. Alcoholism runs in his family and he has vowed (very scared) never to become his father (who is drunk every day by 10 a.m.).
It is thrilling and, selfishly, comforting to know I am not alone. It’s also a huge relief now that none of our social plans will involve drinking for a long while. It’s movies and book club versus parties, etc. So, I have a resource, a sounding board, a partner in crime as it were.
But here is the bad part … he has now, for 11 days, quit drinking, quit smoking, started to exercise regularly again, and is eating healthy and vegetarian again. It is simply remarkable and totally infuriating. It hits all my shame gremlins. Now, granted, he is sleeping a lot and essentially just surviving (he is supposed to be looking for work to take some of the pressure off of me, but that’s another story), but still, he’s doing it and it’s inspirational.
It’s inspirational and yet causing me great resentment at the same time. Because it’s just hard for me to flip a 100% switch. I have GAD and I’m a Libra – all or nothing is a disaster for me. With my anxiety, I can’t stop thinking most of the time, and quitting all three of my vices at once makes the voices in my head become a chorus of doubt and panic. The desire is there – I want to be rid of my booze and cigarettes, for me (yes, for my kids etc., but for ME too). To be free, for my health, my sanity, and just to spend time actually figuring out who I am and what I want out of life, without numbing. But I know I can’t do this all at once like he does. Plus I have to survive my stress at work …
It’s so infuriating to me that I have resentment towards him for this. WTF?”
me: it is very common for people in the very early days of sobriety to feel pissed at everyone and everything. we all feel resentful and raw and shitty and irritated. it could be your partner, but if it wasn’t him you’d be irritated with someone or something else. we can always find something EXTERNAL to us to be irritated with.
here’s the truth. you being sober is about you. it’s about no one else. what your husband does or doesn’t do has nothing to do with your sobriety. if you have anxiety issues, you will be taking good medication, seeing a psychiatrist once a year for dosage adjustments, and doing some mentoring with a sober coach. Your husband is doing his own thing, and it has nothing to do with you.
you can feel ashamed if you like, but here’s the thing: you are not the same human. you are not him. you are you.
and you focussing on him is you NOT focussing on you.
being sober isn’t something you think yourself into. it’s something that requires supports and tools and external things. you will want to add some of those. it’s time to try different. it’s not about trying harder. you’ve done harder. you’ve done thinking too much. it’s time to try something else now … hugs