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How do you cope with "anniversaries"?

Old 10-20-2011, 12:11 PM
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How do you cope with "anniversaries"?

This is the first time I've experienced this and I'm struggling...

Things with AH got to be their worst starting this week last year. I'm not keeping track or anything, it just struck me after reading a message from AH that he wouldn't be able to see the girls today bc of a soccer tournament that this is the same tournament last yr that he went to drunk, drove all over the place all night drunk (calling me, scaring me half to death) and then proceeded to fail to show up for D3's surgery in the morning. Didn't call to see how she was etc... When he came home the next day I was angry and scared and hurt and expressed as much and he went on a bender that lasted for days.

The rest of the fall continued in this manner. Veterans day weekend was another horrible memory and again Thanksgiving, etc....

So, it just hit me when he mentioned blowing off the girls to go to the soccer thing just how sad I still am about his behavior at this same time last year. And though its a different sort of blowing off of the girls this yr as opposed to last, it's still blowing them off.

The difference now I guess is that I am not worried about whether he'll be drinking or lying about it. I don't care.

And yet the memory of last year at this is raw right now and I'm struggling to sort through why it's so upsetting to me....
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Old 10-20-2011, 12:19 PM
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wtbh, please burn the score card it's keeping you in the past and start to look towards the future for you and your girls. This too shall pass.
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Old 10-20-2011, 12:22 PM
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It's like re-living the trauma. Over and over again. Detach from it - it is a memory now and you are onto bigger and better things.

His loss not to see his girls. Go have a nice weekend with them instead. Do something fun and silly! Make a new, even better memory!
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Old 10-20-2011, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by fedup3 View Post
wtbh, please burn the score card it's keeping you in the past and start to look towards the future for you and your girls. This too shall pass.
? not sure what you mean. If I had to guess I'd think it meant that I was keeping "score" of things AH did or didn't do.

Silly me, I thought that when moments came up that were hard to remember, this was a place I could share.

Judge all you want. The girls and I are moving fwd and it's normal and perfectly healthy to have feelings of sadness about moments that I'd sort of shoved aside...

If you don't like what I share, you're free not to respond.
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Old 10-20-2011, 12:28 PM
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no that wasn't what I meant. I meant thinking of how he hurt you a year ago is not giving you any serenity in your life. I'm telling myself this as well when I start to dwell on what my xah has done to me in the past it steals the peace right out of me in the present. I'm sorry wtbh that you're going through this.
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Old 10-20-2011, 12:30 PM
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WTBH, I don't think that was meant as judgmental -- I read it as "the past is keeping you in the past."

Do you think it would help to focus on how far you've come? How you can create your own traditions now, not having to worry about having a drunk ruin it all? I know for me, I spent a good six to nine months after the separation just coping and dealing with practical things -- it took me a while to actually start grieving my dream of the perfect family life. Do you think that's what you're doing right now?
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Old 10-20-2011, 01:25 PM
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I realize it may not have read this way, but one of the things I'm thinking about (and I guess I can see how it could be interpreted as me dwelling-- but I assure you I'm not) is just how different things are now. I'm remembering how miserable I was, and my kids were and AH was last yr at this time and at the time I couldn't have imagined not living life that way-- I guess I was resigned to it always being that way.

Having some distance from that life is I think what's making it hit me so hard as to how sick it was... I don't know if that makes sense...

Like I said this all just sort of hit me out of the blue and I was kind of flooded with a bunch of feelings and the more I'm thinking about it all the more I'm sorting out what I'm feeling...
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Old 10-20-2011, 02:21 PM
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I get it WTBH, I do. I understand completely that feeling of "reliving" a moment. Every year my parents have a Pumpkin Weekend - where we all get together (all 20+ of us!), pick pumpkins, hang out the kids, etc. Last year, my AH and RABIL both spent the entire day on a bender. It sucked. As this years Pumpkin Weekend approached, I was overrun with anxiety. What to do??!!? How to handle it?!? I was stuck spinning.

What helped me was to let go of what happened last year and make choices to make Pumpkin Weekend something positive for me and the kids!! For me, that meant not including AH... we spent the entire weekend at my parents away from the drama of AH. WOw... pumpkin weekend took on a whole new meaning to me!!

This weekend (Sunday) is our wedding anniversary. Ugh. Last year, AH spent it doing shots with the neighbor and then at a bar alone! Awful. So, instead of dwelling on how crappy last year was... I'm making special plans for me! I'm chosing to make the day mean something better and happier FOR ME!

I am learning to reprogram my mind. My tendency is to focus/dwell on the negative. Examine (and REEXAMINE!!!) all the past wrongs, hurts, etc. Reliving them is like picking a scab - it prolongs the healing, and just stirs up pain. So, when I find myself focusing on something negative, I have to instead turn to something positive. Sometimes it's easy... sometimes not so much. When it's really hard, sometimes the only thing that works is the Serenity Prayer... over and over and over again until the ugly thoughts stop.

You are not alone. What you are thinking/feeling is codependent thinking. Work your recovery program and things WILL get better
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Old 10-20-2011, 02:31 PM
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I admit that around the time of year when my A stepson went completely crack crazy after nearly dying by drinking.....well, I still think about it then.....and it is coming up soon because it was over the US Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Kind of hard to avoid.

I can say that it fades with time. Mr. HG and I sometimes discuss his AS more as the "anniversary" nears, but that, too, happens less and less.

I found it helpful for me to distract myself with some really positive experience or by just calling the people in my life who bring me joy.
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Old 10-20-2011, 02:43 PM
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It gets better. For a while I couldn't go to the beach or camping because they were what we did as a couple. Now 4 yrs. later I can- without the feelings. I am now in gratirtude I am not in the drama.
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Old 10-20-2011, 03:27 PM
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Hmmm, I don't actually think for me that feeling feelings about a time that is dramatically different from now is bc of my codependency but I can see how it could become that if I were to just wallow in "wah wah it was so bad". That's not where my head is though.

To be honest there's little about the past that I've been thinking about for some time-- it caught me by surprise that I was reminded of all of this from last yr and reflecting about it has been helpful to see just how far I've come... When I posted earlier I'd just started to think about it and was feeling freaked out by, well, I guess the visceral feelings that came over me that reminded me of how I felt ALL the time until the past few months...

In an odd way, remembering just how nuts this time of year was last year makes me all the more grateful for what things are like now. I can't fathom how I functioned day in and out living as crazily as I did (meaning my full participation in the crazy).
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Old 10-20-2011, 04:35 PM
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Having some distance from that life is I think what's making it hit me so hard as to how sick it was... I don't know if that makes sense...
It makes perfect sense. I can get into real self-hatred spirals when I start asking myself "how did I put up with it for so long? How sick must I have been?"

But the important part is that we're no longer there. Hugs!
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Old 10-20-2011, 04:40 PM
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when is it time when you notice that thinking of the past is just that..?....its a waste of time and ENERGY...move forward...and read and read and grow and learn...its all in the healing....
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Old 10-20-2011, 06:59 PM
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lillamy- thanks for letting me know i'm not alone in being shocked by what i chose to live with for so long. thus far i haven't entered self hatred territory-- i'm more in 'holy crap- it was really messed up and i really stayed and lived with that and subjected the girls to it' kind of astoundment territory... i have spent a lot of time in self hatred land over recent months (guilt about what the girls had to live with and beating myself up over it repeatedly) and i think i am slowly getting out of there...

it's just crazy how when you're living in the midst of it it's your "normal" and you don't really see at all how crazy it is. and now, looking back, any one of the things that i brushed aside as not "that big a deal" are enough to make me shudder and wonder how i didn't just pack up and go right then...

i have a new appreciation for the denial/fog/whatever it's called that alcoholics live in. they aren't faking not seeing how bad things are... they really really don't see it. just like while everyone around me surely saw how bad things were last year, i didn't-- and it wasn't conscious denial or stubborn refusal-- i really, truly didn't see it.

i am so freakin grateful tonight, despite all that has been lost and all the difficulty that lies ahead with divorcing AH, that i finally "see" it.... i shudder when i think about how the girls would have grown up if things had stayed the same and i honestly don't have any idea where i'd be, sanity wise, if i hadn't gotten sick enough of being miserable and finally gone to al anon after this very weekend a year ago. the very first meeting i went to was the day after D3's surgery that ah failed to show up for. in a weird way i am glad i guess that that happnened bc clearly it was the wake up call i needed.
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Old 10-20-2011, 07:36 PM
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WTBH, you are going through a lot of the same things I am so I follow your posts. I just wanted to tell you my divorce was final Tuesday. I am very relieved, but that too has been sadder than I thought it would be. The divorce was necessary and I am glad I did it, but I just want to warn you, don't be surprised if you feel a bit of a letdown and sadness once it is final. That is what I am going through this week, reliving the good times in my head, wishing things could have been different somehow...I think it will take a long time to get past these feelings and remembering the "anniversaries".
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Old 10-20-2011, 08:01 PM
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Like I said this all just sort of hit me out of the blue and I was kind of flooded with a bunch of feelings and the more I'm thinking about it all the more I'm sorting out what I'm feeling...

I know how something can pull you right out of "now" and throw you back emotionally to where you were, even if just for a few minutes (well, hours really). I had a conversation with AH that reminded me just how much he still doesn't get it. By "it", I mean that he is an alcoholic and needs recovery and things are not o.k. It wasn't a big scene, just a small calm, devastating conversation.

I was incredulous at him. I guess I was figuring because I was experiencing recovery maybe some of it was rubbing off on him or whatever?? But then I realized I had an expectation of improvement on his part, which is unrealistic as he has no program. Even while I was realizing this slogans were running through my head and right out again and I was still reeling. Where the he!! was this program I've been working on so hard and long??

The strength of emotions was so unexpected. I had last felt this before seeking Alanon. After reading here, going to a meeting, talking with friends, etc. the emotions have subsided, but it really did catch me off guard. I think part of it had to do with the conversation happening just before he left on a business trip, which used to be a trigger for worry that he would drink himself out of a job. It sure does point out that this stinkin' thinkin' and crazy emotions might bubble up at any time. Now I am glad I have the tools to deal with them!
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Old 10-20-2011, 08:38 PM
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It recently struck me how significant October is to me. 4 years ago I discovered the messages on my husband's pager that confirmed my suspicions about him having an affair. We then began counseling at his suggestion only to find out that he wanted out of the marriage and blamed me for all the wrong choices in his life.
2 years ago our son returned from Iraq and it was as if my AH had just been holding on til that point. He stopped sleeping in our bed and every weekend was spent in a drunken haze.
Our 30 year anniversary is coming up and I am having a hard time when I think about it. I will be kind to myself and treat myself well.
For me remembering such things aren't reliving them or keeping score per se. They are a "remember the crazy person you were then and look at how far you've come " kind of moment. I also feel real gratitude for the folks who helped me through it.
Its also validation that I did what was best for me and need to take care of myself.
Focus on what you did right for you and your girls, how much better equipped you are to handle life's ups and downs, your support network and living one day at a time.
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Old 10-20-2011, 09:59 PM
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it's just crazy how when you're living in the midst of it it's your "normal" and you don't really see at all how crazy it is. and now, looking back, any one of the things that i brushed aside as not "that big a deal" are enough to make me shudder and wonder how i didn't just pack up and go right then...
Isn't it though? I'm sort of ashamed (but I tell people anyway, because I know there's someone who is today where I was then and who needs to hear it) to admit that until a friend overheard my then AH berate our daughter in the background while I was on the phone and said "That's abuse. You don't have to live like this" I just wasn't sure. I knew I didn't like it, but I minimized the problems. I knew it wasn't normal (my birthfamily was supremely normal and addiction-free), but I could handle it (because I was so sane and superior and Superwoman).

I needed someone from the outside to point out to me that what I was living with was unacceptable. I will cherish that friend forever. Most people don't want to step in and say things like that -- but I had one friend who was like the little kid in the fairy tale and pointed out that the Emperor had no clothes. And that he was drunk and abusive. And for that, I am grateful.
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Old 10-20-2011, 10:50 PM
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I am about one year out from everything hitting the fan and am experiencing similar sensations. Because the denial is gone and the edge of sharp hurt is off I think I am feeling all of the other emotions more deeply.

It feels like denial can really be protective in the acute phase of crisis, but I let denial get the best of me for a long time.

Thanks for this post.
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Old 10-21-2011, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by LifeRecovery View Post
I am about one year out from everything hitting the fan and am experiencing similar sensations. Because the denial is gone and the edge of sharp hurt is off I think I am feeling all of the other emotions more deeply.

It feels like denial can really be protective in the acute phase of crisis, but I let denial get the best of me for a long time.

Thanks for this post.
I think that's just it exactly... Denial sort of protects us from one sort of pain but clearly the pain it keeps us in on a day to day basis is far worse. I don't feel super or comfortable with these thoughts/memories but I am trying to focus on how far I've come. And being out of denial and seeing things for what they were sure brings a lot of feelings that I didn't let myself feel at the time, come to the forefront.

It's really comforting to know that there are others on this same journey too who can relate.
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