Archive for February, 2009

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Divorce Guide?

February 24, 2009

So I am at the pharmacy today… and there in the waiting area is a book rack featuring the “Divorce Guide” to help make divorce less expensive and complex.  I said to myself…. WTF?

 

Now granted that my feelings around Divorce and the ease by which one can get one are filtered by being on the hurt divorce-guy3end of a divorce.  Meaning I was the one who wanted to work it out and at the very least TRY to save it.  But my ex wanted no part. 

 

Then she left with little communication and cooperation on how we were going to wind down a 12-year marriage with 3 kids, 2 business, a home, mutual friends, family and countless belongings and memories.  And she left straight to the arms of another man in waiting who had just recently left his wife under similarly suspicious circumstances.

 

So ya, I am far from unbiased on the subject of divorce.  Frankly I hate it.  Yet it is not mine to say that all marriages “must” or “can” stay together.  I simply feel that our cultural climate is at the point where it endorses, enables, and in many cases, encourages divorce.  And seeing this book in our local pharmacy where families shop just jumped out at me.  It pissed me off. 

 

Divorce is often “humourized” to stories about how awful the ex is and the money spent.   Granted that we can deflect pain with humour and humour indeed can be helpful in coming to grips with difficult events.

 

For those of us who have gone through a painful one, it is quite a different story and perhaps not so easy to laugh divorce-child2about.  I feel it is completely dangerous to presume that divorce is a smiple benign parting of the ways between two people.  My experience is that it is most often not simple nor benign.  Most often, it is complex, deeply hurtful, and far reaching… especially when kids are involved.

 

To put it plainly, our culture’s attitude toward divorce feels like we just don’t give a shit.  That we can end a marriage as easily as ending a magazine subscription.  Once we have had enough, we can just walk away.  I believe the legal term is “no fault” divorce.

 

Having had parents who divorced and then having arrived myself at the pointy end of a divorce, I know first hand what many of the outcomes are.  If our parents divorce, we never have the first-hand opportunity to see how a marriage and family can do the things it takes to stay together.   

 

Don’t we all feel the ups and downs of our marriage or “partner” relationships at different times?  To me, the variations in feelings is just a normal part of how relationships work.  Yet our culture seems to feel that if feelings of love sad-childrendiminish, that it is time to quit and does not recognize that there are huge impacts to divorce. 

 

I suppose the reason I am posting this is because seeing the Divorce Guide book so casually and plainly displayed brought me back to how casual my ex was in packing in our marriage.  And how flippant she was on how the impact on …. well frankly pretty much everything…. especially our kids and our families.

 

I can’t say why any or all marriages end in divorce.  I simply know that many, including mine, ended with a large component of blind selfishness.  And I see it in our divorce culture over and over and the fallout of pain and dysfunction on those involved.  And this is better than trying to find a way to overcome the problems and stay together?  Second marriages aparently have a higher failure rate.

 

My program of recovery teaches me that I do not need to change this for anyone but myself.  At least to start.  I do everything I can to make my current marriage the best possible.  I want it to last forever for all the reasons that a marriage should.  Like my recovery, I can only manage this a day at a time.  So far it is working.

 

Ciao.

 

Chaz

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My 12-Step Psychiatrist

February 15, 2009

My Doctor recently referred me to a Psychiatrist to further address my tendency toward depression.

While I have come a long way in gaining reprieve from depression and anxiety by living the 12-Steps, some residual depression has remained and shows up from time to time.  Likewise has some irritability that feels familiar to the way I used to feel constantly.

I was concerned about the ongoing depressed feelings, particularly when I wake up.  They would show up from time to time and they would be very dark.  I am resistant to go on meds because the last time I relapsed it was triggered by a prescription drug.

Likewise, my doctor is resistant to go immediately back to meds for me because of my past experience and a few other factors.  So he put the decision in the hands of a highly-trained psychiatrist who works exclusively with alcoholics and addicts and is himself in a 12-Step program of recovery. psychiatrist1

The experience has been amazing.  He has been working with me through some “Cognitive Behaviour Therapy” where we continue to focus on re-training specific areas of thinking.  I have discovered even more clearly that most of my depression derives from my thought patterns.

It is a widely observed fact that many emotions are a direct result of how we think.  And if we can change and improve on how we think, our emotions will carry us away far less often. 

By no means does my shrink feel that the only cause of my emotional volatility is my thinking patterns.  Simply that it is a key contributor and that we should first deal with this before adding meds (if ever).  He first did some questioning and probing to make sure I was not going to jump off a bridge tomorrow.  Which he determined I wasn’t.  So with that confirmed, we began our work. 

I am happy to report that after 3 months, I feel a great deal better.  Like the 12-steps, this course of therapy has taken work on my part.  My reading assignment is “Feeling Good”, by Dr. D. Burns as well as a number of daily written exercises that help continue to re-shape my thinking.

I write all of this to offer hope to others.  I know the darkness of depression.  I know the tendency toward resentments which seems to be characteristic of us alcoholics and addicts.  I know what it is like to be paralyzed by fear and anxiety.  I know what it is like to look into the barrel of a gun and pray for the strength to pull the trigger.  I know what it is like to have no hope.

Gladly, I now have hope and hope continues to grow.  I feel better and continue to grow in this as well.  And it has not taken any miracle cures.  Simply the 12-Steps and some well-proven main-line Psychiatric help.

I do not know what tomorrow holds.  Nor do I worry about it.  I am grateful that I have had a bunch of great “todays”. 

I believe this is available for all of us.

Ciao.

 

Chaz

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No matter where

February 8, 2009

The longer I live, the more I realize that life is about what I make of it more than it is what life does or doesn’t do for or give me.

This kind of thing is so often repeated, it seems drab.  Yet, it is such a fundamental truth.  It is also the basis for much recovery.

A clear understanding that grass isn’t greener if we simply change jobs, relationships, clothing, or whatever is incredibly important.  How many people do we know who make these changes expecting to get something better only to find out that the grass is only greener until they go and piss on it.

Or their ship comes in… and then they go and sink it. 

I am speaking as much to myself as anyone.  I am in a head space today where I am bothered by a lot of things.  Yet somehow, I feel it is my calling for this phase of my life to learn to be a stronger, wiser person in the midst of the bothersome situations.

There is a guy I work with who is totally bothersome.  He is arrogant.  He presumes to have authority that he does not have.  He is selfish.  The voice in my head says “Quit.  Go do something else somewhere else”.  Yet I would be surprised if there was a reader among us who does not work with at least one bothersome, difficult, arrogant person.

So if I come and work at your work place, I will be no further ahead because you have arrogant, bothersome people there too.  So it sounds like my task is obvious…. to change me.  To change the way I think and behave.  Because by and large, I will run into the same thing anywhere I go.

I guess this is just the space I am in today.  I am glad to have my program that keeps reflecting the mirror back on me.  It keeps me pointed in healthier directions than my addict or alcoholic thinking would want me to go.

Today I am grateful.  And I can take that with me no matter where I go.

Ciao.

 

Chaz