This morning is my first Friday off in my new 4/10 schedule. That means I now work four 10 hour days rather than the typical five day work week. Oh the bliss of the perpetual three day weekend! No more feeling like I can’t get everything done and have fun or get some relaxation in on the weekends. There is time for everything now. No more Sunday blues wondering where the time went (okay maybe those are inevitable before the work week). The three days feel like an eternity. This week had been one of firsts, new learning, excitement, and stress: setting up a new office, helping to set up a therapist in my old one, new patients on my caseload, new families, lots of children with Autism on my new caseload, new office procedures, and supervision of the person taking my place at the old rehab. My home life is always tough, this week particularly hard as it was rent week. Anyone who has loved an addict knows what a bank account killer it is, and the addict’s battle for funds is relentless. Fighting the money monster, working your ass off to make more money, and keeping watch over the bank account is pretty damn exhausting. But still, on this Friday morning, I saw a sliver of light in the murky pond that is my home’s reality. A shiny new Friday with three days of infinite possibilities. So first things first, in an act of pure self-love, I slept in today. When I awake on this work free Friday morning, I feel the hot bulky mass of my husband next to me and the soft ball of Chihuahua fur cuddled up in my lap. I feel content. I NEED coffee…
Into the kitchen I go: holy @#*$. The kitchen is a mess, dishes in the sink, dishwasher full of clean dishes, and bacon splatter in the microwave. A fuzzy memory of my husband feeding me bacon in bed while half asleep comes back me, oh yeah he was eating bacon in the middle of the night. The shininess of my first work free Friday starts to fade into annoyance. I begrudgingly clean up his mess so I can make some coffee. As the coffee is brewing I urge the hot mass in the bed to get up to walk the dog…the luster from my shiny day fades even more: “In a minute”. I push back the bile of resentment that bubbles up into my throat thinking “it’s almost noon and you don’t have a job, I just cleaned up your mess, get up and walk the dog.”
The king awakes from his slumber, gives me an attitude, and walks the dog. When he returns, he tells me he is going to get cigarettes; “give me the bank card”. I calmly reply that we cannot spend any money using the ATM card, because all funds need to go to rent (“you know to pay for the roof over your head”, I think), and I offer the credit card. And the battle ensues with an endless tirade explaining why I need to give him the ATM card. Now we all know the reason WHY but the dysfunction coupled with the bullying is uncanny: the reasons he gives are empty and his pleas are desperate, yet his words are razor sharp, manipulative, and smart. He is smart but he is also sick. He gives me a clear view into into his damaged brain: his thoughts stuck as if tumbling around and around in a dryer, his words the same repeating himself, perseverative, and reverberating like an echo in a small metal room bouncing from wall to wall, the iron clad cognitive rigidity is unbending, my calm words of reason do not reach him. In this battle though, I stand my ground. He calls me a “bitch” and leaves.
So to this cash back thing. Once he leaves I check the bank account. It is in the negative as the rent check was already deposited. I send a snapshot of this to my husband to give him a glimpse into reality. He texts back an apology, I seemed to have reached his deluded brain, but by then I have already discovered the CB. Apparently my bank’s phone app does not give the detail of transactions that my iPad app does. As I scan through the transactions, the letters radiate from the screen, endless transactions at 7-Eleven, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Home Depot all with CB, aka cash back. Now I am sitting here writing to you 18 people following my blog (love you guys!) and thinking about this reinvention. The old me would have wallowed, cried, texted, and pleaded with my husband. Now please don’t judge me, because I know that I am not yet making the tough choices, like leaving my husband and staging interventions, and all of that. But I am doing the best I can right now. Doing the best I can day by day and evolving (I think). The new me has learned a valuable lesson about standing my ground. The new me will figure out some ways to avoid falling into more debt and financial crisis. The new me is writing in her blog and feeling inspired. Today the new me will do a mineral mud mask and go to the gym. The new me will go to my first Nar-Anon or Al-Anon meeting. Oh and the new me will NOT spend any money on my first three day weekend.
For those of us who struggle with this, we are not alone. Here are some articles about the financial cost of loving an addict: