Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Comfortable Distance

There is this new feeling between us, or at least a new feeling that I have noticed the last few nights we've spent together. After my big breakdown because of his relapse last week, we have this quiet space. It's a comfortable space, and I think we both need it. We sit on the couch, or on separate couches, and we talk a little, we lie down together and touch each other easily, gently. There is little pushing on either side. Just quiet.

It is hard, though, when we try to talk. Last night when I picked him up from work, I was trying to tell him about how a friend's dad had died, and how sad it was, and how he is the one of the only people I've ever heard talk about his parent with such total positive regard and clear affection--obviously, this is something that doesn't directly affect me, and so maybe I shouldn't expect him to listen and feel empathy for someone he hardly knows...but he interrupted me and started talking about how bad his sinuses and allergies had been bothering him and how we really needed to stop and buy him some medicine. It's a small selfishness, but it reminded me of so many bigger ones--like the time when my father was in the emergency room with heart problems and I was afraid, and he just kept complaining about work instead of listening, holding me, comforting me. Jeff's dad isn't mine, but it's someone's life who I care about and someone I spend a lot of time with, and I want to be able to talk with my husband about things that are on my mind.

It is hard to sort out sometimes what is addiction and what is him...that personality that accompanies the disease is hard to deal with sometimes, and his selfishness is sometimes insufferable.

So we're quiet. I don't say much. He doesn't say much. I feel like if I start talking, he will feel a need to start talking about himself and demanding for me to buy him things.

One woman at the meeting last night mentioned that she felt most of the time like she was living with a 12 year old. It is sad how addiction does that to a man. It made me think that maybe my husband is being such a child now because he didn't really get to be a child when he was younger because of his parents' addictions.

I hope we are able to keep this nicely detached space comfortable. It feels somewhat like it could fall apart--he might get enraged that I'm not being affectionate enough, like he does sometimes, or I might blow up because he will say something or do something that I think is ridiculous.

He needed his legs rubbed last night, and he wouldn't let me say it was because he had used. He says that he's always had trouble with restless legs, that it has nothing to do with using. I told him that his brain is broken, and that every time he uses, he sets himself back a little in the process of healing, and his body is going to react. I don't know if he can hear me when I say these things.

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