You'll Never FIND Peace
Being married to an alcoholic is nothing if it's not an evolution.
When I began my first blog, quietragingwaters.com, it was all about figuring out how the hell to keep from going insane while living in the midst of insanity. Back in "those days" (which admittedly weren't really that long ago) I wanted nothing more than to figure out how to find peace in the middle of the emotional, spiritual and mental war the alcoholic marriage is.
I really, really did.
I think a lot of us try. Whether it's an alcoholic marriage or psychopath boss or dysfunctional family "of origin," we try, we really do. We try to will ourselves to feel peaceful even though chaos swirls all around us. We write, we journal, we meditate, we pray. We promise ourselves, as we go to sleep each night, that tomorrow...tomorrow we won't get angry with the kids or annoyed at the dog or be pissed off at our drunk-again husband. We'll ignore our jerk-boss, not let our controlling mother push our buttons and/or be calm in rush hour traffic.
But it seemed invariably - or it did for me anyway - that by yet another nightfall, I had not-not gotten angry with my kids or annoyed at my dog or pissed off at my I'll-just-line-these-12-beer-cans-up-on-the-kitchen-counter husband. Maybe it had been a "good" day til dinner time. Maybe it sucked beer-cans from practically the first light of day. Maybe even I made it through the morning, escaped my own mental mayhem in the afternoon and put dinner on the table with the grace of "Donna Reed" (Old! reference. Google it if you're under 50, ha!) day… after day... after day the peace I sought eluded me.
And then...after all years of reading countless books, listening to endless podcasts, watching TED talk after TED talk - sometimes feeling like I was wasting my time and/or money; sometimes admonishing myself for not "getting it" after all these books/podcasts/TED talks - I got it!
You can't find peace.
You have to create it.
You have to make your life bigger than the alcoholic husband (or bad boss, toxic mother-in-law, estranged child, etc.)
You have to give your life a purpose that is not about escaping. A purpose that is beyond what you want to escape.
You have to give your life a focus that is moving toward something good and wonderful and positive (like, you know, your life) rather than a focus that is on getting away from the toxic and hurtful and corrosive.
For so long (SO! LONG!) all (ALL!!) I wanted was my own house! God, I wanted my own house!! But I wanted it to escape my to-be-ex husband. I wanted it so that I could get away from his toxicity and pathology. He would explode about something or I'd see those flippin beer cans on the kitchen counter or maybe he'd just be quietly drunk in the living room but regardless, I'd feel a physical desperation to be gone, away from him, free.
It felt hopeless.
And then somehow (as in "somehow" all those books, podcasts, TED talks had actually been getting through to me)) I got this brilliant idea:
I would pick the date I was going to buy my own house!
Not pick the date I'd "have the money."
Not pick the date I'd "leave my husband."
Not pick the date I get a new job or sell a million books or be offered an advance on my latest writing project.
I just picked the date I'd close on my new (dream!) house.
And with that, there was a magical shift within me. Everything I am doing these days, how I live my life and structure my days is no longer about getting AWAY from my to-be-ex husband.
It's about getting TO my own house in October!
When I see the beer cans all over the kitchen counter or he walks in the door without saying "hello" or I feel his empty presence beside me, I think "I don't need to be mad. Why would I be mad? I'm moving into my own house in October!"
Like many folks these days, we have way too much STUFF in our house. It would make me anxious and irritable and internally twitchy. It seemed I was constantly working on "de-cluttering" but getting no where. My (daily!) focus was on all the crap we had accumulated, how could I get rid of it and why was I failing at getting rid of it.
Now I'm not de-cluttering.
I'm pre-packing for moving!
Everyday as I chip away at the "ton" of stuff we have, I ask myself one simple question,
"Do I want to bring this into my new house?"
It's a far more pleasant - and MUCH more productive - internal dialogue compared to the day when my mind used to rattle off things like,
"Do I need this? I don't. But what if I do? Do I like this? No, but so-and-so gave it to me. Should I throw this away? Oh, that's such a waste."
Etc., etc., etc
And it's not just something practical like the physical de-cluttering of one's life that benefits when we change our focus.
Emotionally, spiritually, mentally, we change how we are going through the world. We become excited about our lives again. Think of it this way: would you rather tear down an old house or build a new one?
There may not be any peace to be found in your current life-situation.
But there is plenty of peace to be created.
By focusing on the building the life you want.
Rather than escaping the one you don't.