Sunday, April 21, 2013

“I'm not the problem, you see.”

I'm not the problem, you see.
It's everyone else that bothers me.
They make it so hard to be kind,
But when I'm with you I don't seem to mind.
— Linus of Hollywood

I have had occasion to have a relationship of sorts with an alcoholic. Kathy's late brother had a friend who is, alas, an alcoholic. We'll call her Patricia. She just had a child after having had to lose her older child because of her alcoholism. And now, thanks primarily to people she calls friends, there is a chance she'll lose this child to the system as well.

Her "friends" invited her and the baby over, coaxed her into drinking, and then called the authorities. They did this out of revenge, because Patricia at one point had a role in one of them losing a child to Children's Services.

Where I come in is that I recognize that she doesn't have much of a chance if she doesn't change her environment, so I have offered her the opportunity to move where I live, where Kathy and I can help her get set up in an environment that will support her quitting drinking.

The problem for me has been dealing directly with an alcoholic again. The promises, the excuses, the disappointments, and the lies are all familiar to me intellectually, but being the recipient of them in person touches buttons long dormant. I have to stop myself from becoming angry with her with the anger that rightfully belongs to and with my father.

I have decided to have no hope about the issue and just let what happens happen.

Linus of Hollywood sings what I think of as the alcoholic's anthem.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Graduation Day

Well, this past week I graduated. Not from school but from therapy. After having gone to therapy actively since the summer of 2008, the summer when my wife and I had the last marital troubles that led to our marriage dissolving, I am now no longer seeing anyone. And it feels...weird.

I started going to the first therapist, Marie, as a marriage counselor with Portia, my then-wife. The marital therapy was about as effective in keeping the marriage together as the Cleveland Browns offense was that year (4-12) in winning football games. I then continued to see Marie for the next three years, surviving the break up and then the tumultuous relationship with Stella. But progress seemed slow and less than satisfying.

Then two things happened. The first was that Marie, after three years, found out that my father was an alcoholic. I never hid it from her. It somehow just never came up. This led her to suggest I read Co-Dependent No More, which is where I heard of Adult Children of Alcoholics. But the other thing that happened is that Marie took an opportunity to do some special work elsewhere, leaving me in the care of her colleague, Caroline.

Caroline had a much more assertive style. She pushed me. She gave me homework. And so, between ACoA and her, I began to make much swifter progress. Of course, it didn't hurt that my relationship with Stella was soon over, allowing me to focus even more on healing myself, since she was a bullet still lodged in my open wounds.

And in one last push, she pushed me to push off and leave therapy. I could argue with it. I'm better. I can do things in love relationships (like set boundaries) that I couldn't before. I have come a long way. Am I fixed? No. I will continue to evolve as long as I live. But I am moving to a new chapter, so play the music; I'm marching in graduation.

Pomp and Circumstance No. 1, conducted by the composer.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Things I learned from looking up other things

A while ago, I ripped off Sydney J. Harris by titling a blog entry "Things I Learned While Looking Up Other things." It is one of the most popular of my blog entries, right behind the one that has boobs in it. And so, since I am always looking up something being a lover of learning and an autodidact, I decided to do it again.

This ÷ is called an obelus. This · is often referred to as a middot but is also known as an interpunct. This ‽ is called an interrobang and it denotes an excited question, while it's upside down cousin is called a gnaborreti.

The name Calvary comes from a translation of a translation going back to the name Golgotha which means "Place of the Skull."

In America, not only are charitable donations of money and goods tax deductible, but so is mileage accrued in service of a charitable organization.

The song 25 or 6 to 4 was written about its own writing. That is to say it is a song about writing a song.

And finally, the actual, correct title of Sydney J. Harris's column is Things I Learned From Looking Up Other things.