One of the side effects of living with an alcoholic is having nerves of steel. Well, maybe not steel. Maybe more like wet noodles. Not so steel-like. I think when you have lived with this disease for a long period of time, it somehow leeches onto the family that surrounds it. Not that I have become an alcoholic, but it affects my life in myriad ways.
Some of the feelings that come up with having been almost conditioned to it remain, even after the alcoholic is in recovery. Some fears and shadows remain, below the surface, just waiting to spring up into your life. To take you right back to where you were and said you would never be again. (See how that sounds just the alcoholic himself?)
Last night I was just about to go crazy. And it was all me. My brain thinking, my hands shaking, my stomach sick. All of my own doing.
He said he was leaving work, on his way home. It was 4:15. Woo Hoo! Coming home early, we could do some yard work that the rain of the weekend prevented us from doing. Then I could go to yoga. Perfect!
He wasn’t home at 5. That’s ok. Traffic coming from downtown to the suburbs can be bad some nights.
He wasn’t home at 5:30. Wow. Over an hour seems a bit long. Don’t panic. But don’t call. Don’t let him know you’re worried. Just relax.
He wasn’t home at 6. Ok. I’m calling. This is crazy. I call. No answer. I text. No reply. OMG! I call again. No answer. Why isn’t he answering???? It’s been almost 2 hours since he told me he was leaving! What is happening??
Full force panic has now set in. I’m sick to my stomach. I’m imagining him on the side of the road, crumpled, waiting for an ambulance to make its way through rush hour grid lock. I’m imagining him in cuffs in the backseat of police car after getting another DUI. I’m imagining his phone going off on the front seat of the police car and he knows its me calling.
I’ve broken into a sweat and my entire body is literally trembling.
He walked in the door at 6:09. I literally burst into to tears as I collided with him in the hallway, hugging him, crying, squishing him in a monster hug.
He has no idea what’s even going on. He’s alarmed. Why is she crying? Did something happen to Ryan? Rob? Her parents? He pushed me back and searched my face for a clue. He doesn’t know what to do or say to make me stop crying.
So after I explained my completely irrational thinking and behavior, thanking God that he was home, he tells me he was on the phone on his way home. He didn’t leave the office until 4:50 after getting pulled into a meeting. He stopped for gas. He thinks his phone is on the Do Not Disturb setting which he uses frequently at work because he is on so many conference calls that he can’t have his phone beeping. My calls didn’t beep through. My texts were received but no notification signal.
He apologizes profusely. He’s so sorry. He didn’t mean to scare me or worry me. And most of all….he’s SOBER. He wasn’t trying to pull a fast one where he was drinking but oh-I-didn’t-hear-my-phone-ring BS. He was truly sorry for causing me to worry to the point of tears.
So I tried using my yoga breath (the suggestion of my dear sweet friend!) and tried to calm my shaking. He tells me about the phone call and the weird but potentially good news from his office. He’s made quite a name for himself and I’m very proud of what he has achieved in his company.
In through the nose. Out through the nose.
I changed and went to yoga (which of course in my doomsday thought process, I figured I would have to miss since I would be down at the police station and/or hospital) and tried to channel my fears and calm my mind. Find that stillness that is sometimes so elusive to me. I just need to trust, relax, let go, and breathe. All the things my yoga instructor teaches me every class. Find a way to put them into practice in the middle of a manufactured crisis in my head.
In through the nose. Out through the nose…..