My Progress!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What a fine mess...

Hello again. I begin by offering my apologies. I’ve been busy (see slide show). Busy with good things and busy learning some hard lessons. I haven’t lost a ton of weight since you last saw me. Presently, I sit at about 262, but I’m working on it. In the last two years I’ve gone from wearing 8x tshirts to squeezing into 18-20’s. I’ve gone from carrying a chair with me when I go shopping to canoeing down a river with my son and planning a trip to Fiesta Texas where I plan to ride every ride with him. I’ve made a ton of new friends, dated my heart out (almost literally) and learned that ultimately, the most valuable opinion of my self-worth is what I define guided by my creator.

In the past several months, I worked at either losing or maintaining my weight while I spent time doing what my weight had prevented before surgery. I made friends, got out socially (probably overdid it a bit in this category), prepared for my divorce (which will hopefully be final before the summer is through), started a PhD program in Psychology (and ultimately decided that I would switch to an MS in Mental Health Counseling due to lack of time for residency’s and an academic year in residence in the PhD program…incidentally, got a 4.0 my first quarter in the PhD program ;)

This post will address the dating front…presently I am dating one of the men I mentioned in my prior post. He was the sweetheart with the daughter…the one I said I should probably devote my time and energy to. One problem though, I discovered about two months into it that he has a serious drinking problem and has for some time. Our first date broke a month of sobriety. He eventually told me himself while explaining that he couldn’t be my drinking buddy…that we had to find things to do that didn’t involve going out and drinking because it had been a serious problem for him for many years. Fast forward to now…he continues to struggle with his drinking which typically causes him to drop off the map where I’m concerned. I’ve gotten a handle on mine, but in the past months, I’ve gone drinking with him despite knowing his struggle with alcohol…I’m not proud of that.

I suppose it would be easier for me to have dropped him like a hot potato if he was the typical alcoholic…but he never really lets me see that. We could get together, have a few drinks, enjoy a nice dinner, watch a movie…whatever. What I didn’t know is that after I was gone, he would REALLY drink. If he went on a binge, it just meant that he would “fall off the map.” I wouldn’t hear from him, couldn’t get in touch with him, he just disappeared.

At times I felt conflicted because I decided that I wasn’t going to give him ultimatums or try to change him because, let’s face it, if he couldn’t get his act together for his daughter, he sure wasn’t going to do it for some woman he barely knew. For several months, we weren’t exclusive…I don’t think he was dating anyone else, but I was. I just couldn’t open myself up to being vulnerable and exclusive knowing the demon he was wrestling with. What I didn’t count on was that somewhere along the way, I’d start to develop feelings for him regardless of how fiercely I was guarding my heart.

Some of you might wonder how that could happen, but I can tell you…apart from this very serious problem over which I am completely powerless, he is also amazingly brilliant, thoughtful, funny…we get each other. Maybe I see a lot of myself in him…I’ve struggled with food, he struggles with alcoholism. Almost 9 months later, he still insists on opening my car door for me, treats me with respect, gives me sage advice when I need it, treats me as if he values me beyond what my body might look like or do for him. I realize though, that all of these other things don’t matter or shouldn’t matter. He’s still broken, but I see in him a desire to honestly try to get his life together. However, whether he will succeed has nothing to do with me or anything I might do or not do.

Recently, he fell off the map again. I knew he was on a binge. What I realized this time around was that I really cared about him and that changed how I viewed this whole twisted scenario. After about 4 days of not being able to get in touch with him, I went to his house, knocked on the door, texted him that I was sitting in my car until he came out to talk. He finally came out, opened my car door and half smiled as he said “You really can be a pain in the ass you know that?” We went out on his back porch and talked, really talked about his drinking and how my feelings for him changed how I felt about his drinking. He once jokingly said he thought I was perfect for him…he enjoyed spending time with me, we had the same sense of humor, and…I was probably one of the few women who would put up with his BS. I reminded him of this and told him that, up until this point, I had put up with it because while I cared what happened to him, I didn’t really CARE about him. I told him that he couldn’t rely on me putting up with him drinking, falling off the map, etc anymore because there would be a tipping point…a time when it wasn’t ok. I told him that I because I truly had feelings for him, that it hurt to see him like this…I couldn’t be party to it anymore. What I didn’t say was that I realize I’m worth better than this and while I care about him, I still need to look out for me, for Tanner.

So, I’m fairly resolved that the next time he falls off the map, I’m going to have to move on. As I type this, I’m heartbroken, because I worry that it isn’t an “if he falls off the map,” but “when he falls off the map” he's told me as much himself.

This probably sounds like an incredible mess, but honestly…it’s usually the messes that teach us the most about life, about ourselves. How messy things can get when we make the wrong choices or misuse the gifts God gives us. I’m thankful that despite the fact that I can still make a pretty big mess of things, somehow God keeps working on me…whispering in my ear…waiting for me to listen for a change, giving me glimpses of truth and clarity until I can see the path through the mess I’ve made. I’m sure I’m going to have to stumble and grope a bit more as I find my way; sometimes my journey is slow going because of the obstacles I manage to create for myself, but I always seem to find myself just a bit further down the path than I was before. So, despite setbacks and obstacles, I’m getting there; wherever there might be.

Thanks to those of you who have followed my journey and who will hopefully stick around through my haphazard posting habits to see where the path leads me. Now I have to think about what I’m going to cover with my next post…job, school, tanner? Guess I’ll have to see where I find myself the next time I sit down to write :)