It is better to be an outcast, a stranger in one’s own country, than an outcast from one’s self. It is better to see what is about to befall us and to resist than to retreat into the fantasies embraced by a nation of the blind.
Chris Hedges

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Chickens Coming to Home to Roast

Pinstripes, sensing a vulnerability from Ana and me, pounced last night and scored large.
When I sauntered into Family Group yesterday all was well. I had spent the day with my wife planning the coming weekend. I didn't intend to spend the whole day with her; there was an AA meeting to get to and duties in the house to get at, but what began as a quick cup of coffee put an end to my planned day.
I should have known something was up. Perhaps it was the slightly strained conversation that I put down to tiredness. I considered - then discounted the possibility it might have been because of last Sunday's graduation dinner - when I was celebrated as a "wise, big-hearted, much-loved fellow", giving his all to the programme and working behind the scenes to support the work of the other residents. I felt a squiggle or two beside me at the head table at the time and worried some that my wife was getting ready to vomit.
The first sign was when my cashcard was declined for a cup of coffee on Tuesday. A quick text to my other half asked the question? "Are we tapped out?" A reply came back to read that, "no... it's not quite that bad... but we'll have to talk." Frankly, I would have rather we had spoken about it in private instead of in front of Pinstripes and the others. The first inkling that all might not be as tickity boo as I thought came during the checking in phase, when everyone introduces themselves and describes their feelings at that moment.
I saw the discerning eyebrow raise from Pinstipes after Ana described herself as "exhausted and frustrated". By the end of treatment we addicts know when to take advantage of each other's slip ups and jump into the fray. Forgotten were the flimsy issues one has to invent from time to time to stave off ambush from the facilitators. This has the dual advantage of taking the spotlight off us, while at the same time bringing the champion of the hour down and elevating our own place in the pantheon of the recovering.
I bravely withstood the inquisition and the delighted feedback of my peers. You could feel the disappointment in the room when Pinstripes said that we needed to move on. I sat in stunned silence, barely hearing a Mother Letter, those recounting 'using dreams', and a long overdue commitment reading on "Shame".
The focus had shifted away from me, but the damage had been done.


justajourneyman said...

Hey Canuck! Welcome back.

My God man the rehab experience and your wife combined read like a nightmare. Now that you're sober it seems like you see her differently from when you were out of it huh?

I checked her out and can see your point. Maybe she and pinstripes should get together. The sprog's a good-looking kid though.

Glad that you seem to have found another relationship. Hope she's younger and prettier. Battle on friend. Don't let the bitch take you down!

Te Nana-Williams Whanau said...

I have to say justajourneyman I was really quite distraught when I read your comment. Having had the privlege to be witness to the recovery process both these people that I adore have been through - it has become obvious to me that commitment, understanding and love are essential to the ultimate goal but so are ongoing challenges. After all it is the battle and how we overcome it that defines us. So, just to clarify a couple of things - this amazing woman that you refer to as the bitch is one of the most pure souls I have come to know. Kind, caring, loving, honest and beautiful. A woman of integrity. Her love for her husband and her "sprog" is unconditional. How dare you refer to her in the demeaning way that you have. Your bad.....