The past long weekend was an ugly one.
As long weekends or holidays or just the random Tuesday can be in an alcoholic marriage but this was one of the really ugly ones.
"FUCKING BITCH! FUCK YOU! SHUT THE FUCK UP!" Ugliness. Spray flying out of his mouth, he was screaming and cussing so profoundly.
These episodes leave me gutted like a fish.
Even after more than 20 years, you never "get used" to the behavior of an alcoholic husband. Your skin never becomes so thick, you heart never so hardened, your soul never so impenetrable as to allow you to brush off, ignore, be indifferent to the verbal assaults.
And when these happen (which I am trying to refrain from saying "not all the time" because that would imply I think even sometimes is acceptable!), an urgency overtakes me. I'm like a wild animal, trapped in a cage, desperate and racing from (emotional) corner to corner, frantically searching for a way out.
And that, I am finally realizing, is the problem.
I have an exit plan in mind.
I've seen a lawyer and I have a general understanding of other options.
When I am calm and rational, I want to proceed with my exit plan.
When I am desperate and panicked, I want to proceed with the lawyer's plan.
What is the difference, you are probably wondering?
The lawyer's plan leaves me more reliant on my to-be-ex husband for financial support, initially at least. I don't want to "screw" my to-be-ex though I don't want to screw myself either. I stayed home and raised children while he earned money and built up a retirement fund. That needs to be accounted for. I left a career while he grew in his. That needs to be accounted for. So, yes, money and assets and things need to be divided. But I don't want to walk out with nothing of my own and be beholden to him - even if it's temporary - though I am divorcing him.
Which brings me back to my plan of building up some financial means so when I leave, I am leaving more on my terms.
Either plan can be the right plan.
But oscillating between plans -whether it's what's for dinner, how to paint your living room, or reclaiming your life - is never a good plan. Truth be told - and this is rather embarrassing to say- but I have never really had A Plan for my life. Never. I had what I wanted to do, what I hoped to have in my life but A Plan? No, I never had A Plan for my life.
It's a though I hopped in my car at age 21 with the intention of driving from the east coast to the west. Except I had no plan. No itinerary. Not even a map. (And certainly pre-GPS) I just started driving. And now, 30 years later, I can't figure out why I'm not in California already.
On a review for my book, 'The Alcoholic Primer: Survival Tips For The Alcoholic's Wife," a woman wrote (to paraphrase) that my book was good for someone "starting out" in the alcoholic marriage but "what about those of us who are 20, 30 or more years in? What do we do?"
I understood fully her question.
What does a woman do "in the middle?" She's maybe not interested in saving the marriage but not ready or able to end it yet? She's not young in the literal sense of years on the planet but certainly young when it comes to her life and how much more she has to live and give. What does She do?
I'll tell you what she does:
She creates a plan.
A real plan. Of where she wants her life to go, who she wants to be and how she wants to exist in the world.
And then she sticks to it.
She doesn't allow his drinking or the opinions of friends or even her own moments of desperation and despair to detour her.
There's any number of roads that will take me to California.
I need to pick one and stay on it.