The Ex Area

I have been feeling good today. Happy with myself. Happy to be sober. Thinking of all the ways my life has been better since I quit drinking.

Then I drove through the area my ex-husband is from. Where all his relatives live. My ex-in-laws. I was worried to stop for gas from fear of running into one of them. Last time I saw my ex-father-in-law was the day I signed my divorce papers. I ran into him at the post office. “What have you been up to?” he asked me that afternoon 12 years ago. “Divorcing your son” was my response. Not a very nice response.

I started to think about my ex-husband and our marriage. I know that there were a lot of reasons we did not work out, many other reasons besides my drinking problem. But if I did not drink so much, could we have solved those other problems? If I did not hate myself so much, would we have had a lot of those problems? Or if I had faith in myself and did not feel he was my last chance at love, would I have married him at all?

It brought a rush of guilty feelings. It made me wonder “what if’s”. It made me think again of all the relationships I ruined with my drinking. I really wish I realized I had a problem with alcohol when he and I split up. I do remember a phone call, or instant messenger conversation,  I had with his mom after we separated. I told her it was a shame he grew up with an alcoholic father and then married an alcoholic woman. So I did acknowledged it back then. I just was not willing to change it. Or maybe I thought I could fix it. Control it. Normalize it.

That “it” has almost destroyed my life. I am finally dealing with it. I know I can never drink again. I just hope I can put behind me all the harm it has caused.

Mistake 155- My husband and I went to a New Year’s Eve Party. It was at our old neighbor’s apartment but he moved to a new place. It was still walking distance. We got drunk and my husband wanted to leave. I refused to go. So he left and walked home. He later told me he got sick in bushes on the way home. That is better than me. I got sick in a bowl at the party. I was eating Doritos or some sort of chips. Then I just puked right into the bowl. Then I passed out in a couch. I left the next morning before anyone else woke up and walked home.

A year or so later, I ran into a guy at a bar that was at that party. He came up to me and my friends “didn’t you puke in a bowl at so-and-so’s New Year’s party?” I tried to pretend I didn’t know what he was talking about but it was too late. He started to laugh and I turned bright red. My friends looked horrified.

But then it was forgotten and filed away as another drunk story for which I was starting to be known.

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My marriage

Tonight I read some enteries in a journal I kept when I was married. Unfortunately, I do not have all my journals. I have a sister that found my journal from my first year of marriage. She kept it and was planning to use it as blackmail. She wanted to send it to my mother-in-law. She also shared it with all my family members. My whole family knew about  my feelings of my marriage. They knew about my sex life. They knew about what I wrote about each of them. There was a lot of negative things in there about the sister that took the journal. They found out about my affair.

As I read this journal I have now, which I started after I lost the other, there are a lot of up and downs in my marriage. I have been asked if my drinking problem caused my divorce. I can honestly say “no.” There were other problems to our marriage. I was not ready to get married when I did. I tried to delay the wedding three weeks before it but he said “if you are not ready to get married now it means you do not WANT to marry me.” He said we were over if I did not get married when we had planned. I thought if I did not marry him, I would never find another guy to love me. I was twenty years old. We were only together 8 months when we got married. We were dating 3 months when he proposed.

I always look back on my marriage and say “I was too young and it was too soon.” After we split up, he admited he rushed me into marriage because he was scared I would not wait for him. He was in the military and was going away for six months 2 weeks after our wedding. I think my affair is evidence that I would not have waited for him. I used “I wasn’t ready” as my excuse during the affair. It was lack of self-esteem that led me to an affair. Most of my marriage was poisoned by my low self-esteem.

There a lot of entries about my jealousy. I did not like this female friend he worked with or that woman flirting with him. Again, that is my low self-esteem. Then I would feel guilty that I was jealous of thinking of him with other women while I was the one that actually cheated. I do not remember him ever giving me a reason not to trust him.

Another problem we had was that I felt he did not give me enough attention. There are a lot of entries about him staying up late to play video games while I went to bed. He also had a hobby of painting minatures. He would go to bed at sunrise as I was getting up for work. He would work in the evenings when I was in class or home alone. Or he would want to stay home and watch cartoons while I wanted to go out. I wanted to go to bars and be social. I wanted to go to bars to get attention. I wanted to live the life I felt marriage was depriving me off: the party college years.

I dropped out of college after two years when I got married. Maybe deep down, I blamed or resented him for that choice I made. I left university and moved away from my family to be with him and I was not finding the happiness I thought I deserved. Sitting around balancing a checkbooks and watching Cartoon Network was not the fairy tale I expected.

He spent the first six months of our marriage deployed with the military. I was still in college and continued partying like a college girl. I had my first affair with a friend. It lasted a month. I wish I still had that journal to help me remember why I did it and how I felt. I think I justified it that I would start acting married when my husband returned home. If he didn’t “force” me to get married, it would not have been an affair.

Actually, I am also remembering a small car accident. The accident was in the winter. I was on my way to visit his mom while he was deployed. The car skidded on black ice and I slid into a van. My car was banged a little bit. I was more rattled than the car. He called when I finally got to his mom’s house. When I told him I was in a car accident, the first thing he said was “how is the car?” Not “how are you?” or “are you okay?” He was concerned about the car. The affair started a month later. I am not using that as an excuse. I was young. Naive. Craved attention. Middle child syndrome?

He went on another six-month deployment after two years of marriage. I started a new job. I met a lot of new friends at this job. They would invite me out to bars and clubs. This was the first time I had friends that were not his friends. I enjoyed going out dancing with other young friends. I loved the attention men gave me. A lot of this journal says “I don’t know why that guy was flirting with me but I was having fun!” When my husband returned, he did not like me going out. He admited he was not used to me having friends of my own. I also started going back to school. I did not admit to anyone that I was planning to leave him when I finished college. We split up a year before I was supposed to graduate.

Mistake #7: The night we split up: We were at a small club. Two women from my job were with us.  We were all dancing and drinking and having a good time. I guess I used to complain a lot at work about my marriage or that I was unhappy. One of the girls got drunk and said, in front of my husband, “you need to appreciate him more. He is hot and a very nice guy!” I was also drunk and told her to mind her own business. Somewhere in there, he agreed with her and asked why I seemed so unhappy. I turned to him and slurred “I love you but I hate marriage. I feel I am suffocating in it.” He took off his ring, threw it in my beer, and walked out. I finished the beer, put the ring on my thumb, and bragged to everyone in the club that I was getting divorced. I don’t think I really believed it. I stayed with my friend we were out with (but I never again talked to the woman that questioned my marriage.) When I came home the next day, he asked me to move out. I hid my fears of the future and lack of confidence in the bottle. My parties days were really starting to begin.