I am struggling. One of my rules for this blog is that I am not going to write about specific situations and turn it into some ranting page about how I perceived I was wronged. I realize that doing so only fosters my addiction to resentment. The flip side is, that like any addiction, the first step is the surrender to the fact that you have a problem. So, I am going to make an exception in this case. I need to get this down with the goal of reflecting on my actions and accepting my problem with resentment.
Easter is one of the big holidays we host at my place, with the relatives. It is very important to my wife, I was all set to make it a good one for her this year. The stage was set, my wife had told me a couple of times that she was looking forward to a good weekend with me – which I appreciated very much. I had a good therapy session on Friday, talked about evaluating my stress level and learned some meditation techniques to lower my stress. I had been reaching out to understand my higher power all week, with some progress I thought. I was prepared to follow some of the AA discussions about “doing the next right thing”. I welcomed my mother-in-law on Friday with a proactive hug, and kind greeting. I was ready! I could do this. Alas, it was not to be. Armed with everything I thought would result in a good Easter, the beast would appear nonetheless, and I was still powerless in stopping The Easter Troll from making an appearance.
It all started to unravel on Saturday night. My wife said some things in a way I did not like. I of course started to play with this in my head, which made it almost a guarantee that I wouldn’t like something she said the next morning – of course that happened. The resentment began to creep back. I resented my mother-in-law for the email she sent me before I went into recovery. I resented her disapproval of me and the fact that I couldn’t convince her that her daughter played a part in our issues and that it wasn’t all me. I resented that she hadn’t asked me how I was doing, because she probably thought that didn’t matter – that I was just the alcoholic that caused all the problems because of my alcoholism and had ruined her daughter. I resented her because of my belief that she found me a disappointment because I did not embrace her God, even though I had been working to find my higher power. The beast was struggling to get free and “set things right”.
I tried to bury it by just going about my business, filling the propane, shopping for the BBQ supplies, etc. I was even, but I was not happy, not joyful. I didn’t want to drink (and did not), but I will admit to thinking that it would be nice if I just had a couple of beers to disconnect me and smooth out this situation. Just let me cruise through until it was over. I tried my meditation trick with no relief. The beast escaped his chains just a bit before dinner. The family was taking a picture and I accidentally walked into the background while tending to my BBQ, in my plain black shirt. One which I had picked for function, not some sort of message. I needed to work with some dirty stuff so no dress shirt, and this was a bit nicer that some plain old T-Shirt. My mother in law, commented “Darth Vader”, the wife repeated it and laughed. I was sure she was commenting on her opinion of me, as well as accusing me of sending some subliminal message about her God and beliefs with my choice of dress. The Easter Troll would in fact be joining us for dinner, waiting for his chance to appear.
Unfortunately it happened around 5:30. The boys were playing basketball in the front and had told me that my 21 year old nephew had knocked over my fountain. When I related this to the family, my mother in law jumped in and the first words out of her mouth were “I saw Tyler” (my son) blah, blah, blah. How dare she try to turn it on my son! I blew her off, I did not listen, said I knew who did it and walked away. This pissed her off, so when I went back to “apologize”, I made sure I let her know that she needed to quit protecting this nephew and teach him responsibility for his own actions, and that he breaks something every time he comes to my house. I even mentioned that I knew he was smoking weed again, just for that final shot. So, there you have it, hello Easter Troll.
I felt bad this morning. Bad that I had once again caused friction at my wife’s Easter. Bad that I had sold out this kid, who I have supported in the past and possibly helped. Bad that I suffer from unrelenting resentment. But, you know, not bad enough to keep from reviewing my security tape and reveling in the fact that I was right about who knocked over the fountain – what a pointless, petty thing – I cannot seem to help it.
I reflect on yesterday. The resentment is just like the alcohol, it never makes anything better. It hurts me the most and I cannot figure out how to deal with it. I am trying to look at the good things from this: I did immediately apologize to the mother in law (for real) and gave her a hug. I did not have a drink. I reflected and understood how the resentment is killing me inside. Therein lies the rub, my brain seems to know that certain behavior is bad, but I just cannot seem to control it, I must prove that I am right.
Like I opened with, I am struggling…