Friday, October 23, 2009

Joe

I don't regret what I wrote yesterday. I got several hundred comments and emails from people thanking me for letting them know they're not alone. I can't count the number of people who have experience with similar situations. In fact, later today, I plan on reading and sharing them because I think they'll inspire other people.

Still, I want to clarify a few things. I had planned on writing more today anyway, but after my mom called to tell me how disappointed my parents are with me for writing that and to let me know it would be my fault if something bad happened to Joe because of it, and after my mother-in-law told Joe to call a lawyer and sue me for slander, I decided to take the time to write right now instead of waiting til tonight when I could get my thoughts straight.

I was not bashing Joe in my post last night. He is not a bad or evil person. He is an alcoholic who has been sober for 17 years. He quit drinking right before we got married and he's stayed clean throughout the years. He takes his sobriety seriously and I'm proud of him for that accomplishment. Especially when you consider his parents and how he was raised by an alcoholic father, it's an amazing accomplishment.

Joe is a good person. He's a very hard worker and always has been. He's put in more than his fair share of hours trying to provide for our family. He's also a great dad. He has no problem taking all 6 kids out for the day and playing with them, reading to them, helping with homework, giving the little ones baths.

But, although he's sober, he has still has alcoholic traits. He lies. He lies about big things, little things, everything. This is the number one thing that has to lead to the destruction of our marriage, in my opinion. You can't trust someone who lies to you repeatedly. The bible says to forgive a person not 7 times, but 70 times 7. He's already reached 490 times. OK, ok, I know that it really means you should forgive repeatedly without a limit. But even though you may forgive someone, how do you ever trust them again? And how can you love someone you can't trust? I haven't figured that one out.

He told a whopper when he was caught doing something about a year ago and blamed it on the kids. At that point, I said I was done and was going to file for divorce. That was right about the time I was given the movie Fireproof to review. Joe watched it with me and something clicked with him. He changed. He seemed genuinely aware of what the years of lying had done and I honestly believed he was changing for the better. He has a library of Christian books about marriage. He read his bible every day and prayed. I really thought this might be it. But he couldn't understand why years of disappointment and hurt didn't instantly melt away with me. He's been trying to be patient with me, but I don't know when or if my feelings toward him will ever change. And then something like this will happen and things are set back again...

Joe does not go out and seek drugs that I know of. He doesn't have a problem like that. It's just that whenever he's prescribed pain killers, he seems to have problems taking them. It happened with his prescribed sleeping pills this past summer and pain killers for his back about 12 years ago which led to major depression.

Now, apparently Joe was just dehydrated because the pain in his throat was keeping him from drinking. When I asked him if he wanted some warm tea yesterday morning, he said, "No thanks, I'm drinking water." I didn't realize he hadn't been drinking enough because honestly, my attention was focused on my kids. After some IV rehydration, he perked up and was back to his normal self. I feared he was suffering from depression (possibly from the pain killers because that was my previous experience with him.) I wanted him to get help. I'm glad it wasn't depression and just dehydration this time. Thankfully the fluids have made a world of difference.

And according to Joe's doctor, he didn't "overdose" on the pain medication. He took too much and it did raise the numbers on his liver function, but not to a dangerous level. So, I apologize for using the wrong word.

I never wrote that post last night to bash Joe or anyone else who deals with addictions or problems like that. It's a sucky situation and I wouldn't wish either side of it on anyone. I just had to write. It's cathartic for me. I feel better when I write about the things that are bothering me and pushing me to my limits. And although I don't regret it, I do apologize for any hurt feelings.

126 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does Joe attend AA? And are his doctors aware that he's a recovering alcoholic? My son has been sober over three years and his doctors all know what he can and can't take. And you can love the person but not the behavior. You have to do what's right for you and I hope you're able to move forward. Your children are all potential alcoholics because it's genetic. You have to do what's right for THEM, helping them to become good functioning adults. Having Joe in the house may or may not help with that. I will pray for you and your family-all of you. Chris in PA

Kristen =) said...

Dawn - Read all the time, but have never left a comment. All I have to say is this. YOU INSPIRE ME.
I wish I could be more like you...

Keep plugging away, no judgement here. We are all keeping you & your wonderful family you share with us in our thoughts.

I'm sorry your extended family hasn't been supportive of what you wrote, as I know that can also be very stressful. But know that your cyber-family loves and cares for you ALL. We support your decision to post your real life, warts and all. Lord knows we all have 'em!
Good luck with Joe - I know that's a tough battle.

Much love,
Kristen

Pace said...

With all those kids you need to do everything possible to have a good marriage find a local church that teaches like the word you get at www.lifeatcornerstone.com or Kenneth Copeland Joyce Myer Joel Osteen both go ever service 6 months don't miss put it first and it will change your life your husband and kids

Dawna said...

I also live with an alcoholic. He has been sober for 8 years....but every day is a struggle. If it's not the alcohol, there is something else in his life that consumes his every thought...nothing comes in moderation, it always has to be over the top. I could have written every single word of your last two blogs, and I appreciate that I am not alone in this world. Thank you!

Two Beans said...

Dawn, you are doing the best you can under the circumstances. It is very clear from your last few posts that you are under severe stress with the kids' flu and Joe's surgery. Your writing served as an stress release outlet. Other people's feelings may have been hurt, especially parents. But, if they were in the same shoes as you have now, I don't know if they would handle any better. My thoughts are with your family. Please let us know how everyone are doing.

Diana said...

Thanks for being so real. I don't know any of you except from your blog, but I think you do a great service to those struggling with addiction and those living with those who struggle, by sharing your thoughts. May God Bless you, Joe and your family.

Anonymous said...

Oh Dawn, my heart just aches for you. This is truly a "sucky situation". No matter how things eventually turn out for you and your family, just know that there are hundreds (thousands?) of your readers out there who love you and are supporting you. You are an awesome mom, and a great person, and somehow this will all work itself out however it's supposed to.

Phil. 4:13. I can do ALL things through Him who strengthens me.

Sending up mighty prayers for you!!

-Beth in MI

Lorene said...

Dawn,
I was raised by an alcholic mother who was raised by alcholic parents. I remember that pain. The pain of broken promises from both my mom and my grandparents. The time was never right for them to be there for someone other then themselves. I love them all very much but you are correct that pain doesn't disappear instantly. My biggest hope for my children is that they never suffer from this same addiction. I pray for you because I know it isn't an easy situation.
God Bless

Petra said...

I really think that there is no need for apologizing. You had to vent for crying out loud! 6 sick and cranky kids and husband who recently went through surgery and gave you additional reasons to worry. Who wouldn't have the need to vent!

Kristine said...

Hugs Dawn! I can't pretend to know what I would do in your situation. Other than cry. I would definitely cry. Love you Dawn!

Beth said...

Dawn~
I don't have much to offer. I have no idea what you are going through. All I have are words of prayer. So know that there is a Mom from OK with a large family, that is praying for you and your family every time I think of you!

jwelshons said...

Dawn, sending all my love & support. Encourage Joe to get the help he needs. AA is a great program and he can continue on, or revisit during times like these. Keep looking up. Everything has its purpose.

For the cranky mother-in-law, it would be libel, not slander, and an absolute defense is that what you wrote was the truth. Might be a lawyer as my day job...blogger reading by lunch hour.

All my love & support-
Jenn

sandyn said...

You are SO brave to share your stuff with people you dont even know. I want to say how much I appreciate your blog and thanks for all your honesty. Hang in there and know good thoughts are being sent your way; things always seem to work out one way or another. all the best....

Rose said...

Bless your heart, you've been through an awful lot lately. My prayers are with you and your family.

TaraS said...

Dear Dawn,

One of the first things that popped out at me from your last post was Divine Intent. It is part of a plan, it just sucks that we can't ever know the whole plan right away...we can only pray for a quick resolution!

Tara

Tammy said...

Dawn - I think you get stronger by standing in the middle of it, and acknowledging what is happening. It's like people who suffer physical abuse being ashamed. Being on the receiving end of someone else's bad behavior shouldn't make you feel guilty or ashamed. And if people are disappointed that you refuse to act ashamed, that really is their problem. It's just too bad it's your parents.

Slander is spoken defamation, libel is written. And in order to prove defamation, you have to be able to prove that what was said or written about you was false. Hmm.

Just hang in there.

Shayna Mills said...

Dawn,
Just wanted to let you know there are folks out here praying for you, and hoping for the best for your family. I don't see any reason to apologize. People need an outlet to vent, process thoughts, release, etc. THis is your blog and your right to do so, if others don't agree they can easily hit the close tab button. Thanks for always being real and honest.

beagle said...

You and your family are in my thoughts.

Your mother in law's suggestion will only make a bad situation WORSE - I really dislike people who think like that.

(& often most people who say things like that don't want to face the truth that their precious child no matter how old or young has a problem - denial doesn't make it go away, it only extends the length of the pain for both people)

Katie Rosenthal-Mayer said...

Oh Dawn...I feel your pain. I too live with a man with an addiction problem. Mine works hard everyday to keep his under control, but from time to time he falters. He's an amazing father and a great man but he's human and sometimes slides. I can fully understand your venting about Joe's issues, as I have had similar panic-y thoughts from time to time.
You are truely an inspiration to me and appreciate the fact that you do what you do and put up with what you put up with.
This too shall pass!!!
Blessings,
Katie

Tess said...

Oh Dawn....what do people expect of you? To only view your blog and see happy, funny, silly stories about something the kids did, or camping or...well, you know? This is your LIFE you're sharing with us. And sometimes, life is ugly. I appreciate the fact that you share both sides of things. Joe is a grown man. He should be able to take the prescribed amount of medication and not hide that. (I understand that he's a recovering alcoholic...but I stand by that) He should be able to drink tea or water or soup and take care of himself. You're his wife, yes but he's also your husband and it doesn't seem that he's being all that supportive of you either.

Hang in there. If people have a problem with what you write, they really should just stop reading.

vegaschristina said...

All I can give to you is the best thing I can give...you and your family are in my prayers, for a speedy recovery from the flu/surgery, and also for the other issues that are happening within your family.

Sharyl Williams said...

Marriage is full of ups and downs and trials. You can't live with another person 24/7 without experiencing some strife. I applaud you for your honesty and pray that things will work out for the good.

Jen said...

Thank you for your very human post. You can't make all the people happy all the time. It's not your job. Do what's best for you, take care of the members of your household. I wish Joe (and you) a speedy recovery. And your MIL sounds like a real peach. I hope she reads THAT.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn.

I agree with what everyone has written. You really need support right now, not judgement. And certainly not threats, especially from those who should be supporting you. Please make sure you have enough nearby resources that you can reach out and be helped immediately with whatever you need.

It sounds like trying times might be ahead of you too. I applaud you for not being willing to keep other people's secrets any longer. However, blame and shame usually comes down on those who speak up and say, "This is not right."

Keep speaking the truth. It is the only way to live.

All of us loyal fans would be there with you if we could. Please know we are sending our thoughts and prayers your way.

Sandy in Tucson

blindsightlife said...

I have a hard time with your parent's comment that if anything happened to Joe, it would be your fault. Joe may chose certain actions as a reaction to the post, but those actions would still be his choice, not your fault.
Those kinds of comments always stir up my blood, because my husband has gotten a few in response to dealings with his alcoholic father. Regardless of the reason for his choices, they are his choices, something only he has control over. We chose how to react, we are not forced how to react. *steps off soap box*.

Anonymous said...

Dawn,
I can understand where you are coming from and I don't think you were wrong in what you wrote. How we feel is never "wrong". I appreciate the clarifications today on the situation. Reading your experiences with Joe reminds me so much of my own personal ones with my family and specifically with my father. You've never shared such deeply personal information with us. I applaud you for doing that. It is never easy to talk about the hard parts. But as someone who has been with an addict for as long as you have, you know that not talking about it only helps the bad stuff get worse. Good for you for shining the light on the problem. I hope that things get better with everyone. Hang in there Dawn.
~Amy

Mayberry Mom said...

Dawn, I sent you a private email, but I do want to say this here also.

Only YOU know what is right for you and your family. Nobody else.

Living with someone with a chronic problem (whether it be extreme anxiety, depression, addictions etc) is not easy at all. Nobody can really understand it unless they've been there. Sometimes venting is needed.

I wonder if talking to a pharmacist regarding drug families would help. Maybe pain killers from another drug "family" would help with pain but not effect Joe the same way. I have no idea if that is possible or not, but I thought I'd throw it out there just in case.

Take care Dawn.

Chick Hatchers said...

Dawn,

I'm glad you read some of the comments that came your way rather than just deleting them. Along with frustrated and angry, I'm sure you were also scared.

You know, I think we all (all people, that is) struggle with forgiveness and then trusting again. I know I do and I don't have any BIG trust violations that I need to re-trust through. You said something very well, about although Joe is recovering for 17 years, he still has alcoholic traits. I hadn't thought about it that way, but my dad is the same way. He's been sober for 18 years now and has a tendency to fall back into his old mannerisms and responses (verbally) that were just as painful when he was drinking. You just cleared up a lot for me by putting words to what I've been observing, with a lot of frutration and hurt towards myself and my kids, I might add.

Just know that you have been in a LOT of prayers since you published your blog yesterday! God knows we are not perfect and never can be - not here. But He will give you the grace to get through this and be stronger (through Him, not yourself) from it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your down times with us in addition to your funny ones. It reminds me that I'm not alone during the down times.

Anonymous said...

AA, Al-Anon, and Alateen. They are not cults. None of these programs espouses any religious beliefs. It's a spiritual program and a large percentage of 12-steppers are members of religious congregations. There is no conflict between the ideas these programs espouse and what your religious beliefs may be.

The founders of AA were very careful with this because all who are afflicted or affected by alcoholism or other addictions need help. Help from others who are living what they live one day at a time.

If your family hasn't sought help in these programs, you're missing an opportunity to get out of the insanity, because that's what this disease is: INSANE. Unmanageable lives. Broken homes. Broken people.

My husband and I saved our marriage with the help of folks in the Fellowships of AA and Al-Anon.

My prayers are with you, Joe, and your children.

Veggiemomof2 said...

Wow! I have to say I already thought you were SuperMom for taking care of all the sick kids, then to read about problems with Joe too. I'm sorry you couldn't vent without people criticizing you! Maybe those parents & in-laws could help you out since they have so much time on their hands.

Nina said...

I'm really glad you posted what you did. I'm really sorry you are going through this and your family isn't supportive of you and having a good person around for your children. my son's father is a recovering alcoholic - he lies. he isn't in our lives. and I chose that before my son was born due to his lying. and alcoholism. I work with abused and neglected kids everyday, tons of drug users, some alcoholics. a public defender who represents the parents told me she would prefer a drug user over an alcoholic anyday because alcoholics are just liars. they are plain and simple. who knows if they've busted something in their brain so they don't get it...I mean kids with FASD have no moral compass to direct them...maybe the parents have blown their own out too?

at some point, for me, I start to look at the person that trusts over and over and over again as wanting the pain and torment- liking the drama - finding something in the being lied to that they can't get away from. I think its healthy and right to say I don't trust you and this is why and I may never. and then if you are shown AGAIN you were right to come to that decision, you were merely protecting yourself and your kids. so good job.

I wish you peace as youre finding your way through some hard stuff.
ps. slander is spoken, libel is written...;)

Ruth said...

Sometimes life just gets the best of you and you need to vent . Nothing more , nothing less! Joe's parents should see that the fact you have stood by their son this long is proof enough you love him and you were just getting some things off your chest!!
Be strong and don't apologize for telling it like it is!!

Slatsette said...

I'm so sorry you've been dealing with this. My dad is an alcoholic (sober since 98!) and it was his struggle that actually led me to the Lord. In 98 when he sobered up-by leaning on Jesus- I realized that there was something bigger out there. I stepped out of Wicca and Humanism into a life with Jesus.
I am very proud of my dad. I am also proud of my mom, who walked beside him through the dark years of addiction.
I had a great childhood. There were times when it was very hard, but overall, it was great. My dad still struggles on rare occasion with the residual of his addiction. He doesn't do the lying- but he didn't really do much lying back when either. What he did was more self-deception ("This really will be the last drink!"). I'm thankful that my dad values honesty so much. I will be praying that in the same way that good came from the evil and sin that my dad suffered with, that good will be the ultimate result of your husband's struggle. I also pray that the compulsion to lie is eradicated from his heart.
My dad was not a liar, but I was. I have come out of compulsive lying to value truth like my dad. It can be done :-) It's just a hard habit to break, much like the addiction itsself.

*hugs*

Rebecca said...

You are honest, which is greatly appreciated. People read this because it is an open book, the good and the bad.

In our house we just don't do painkillers period. We suck it up as best as possible... complete muscle tears, shattered bones, getting MRSA sucked out and packed and unpacked and repacked... We know it doesn't work with us on a psychological level so we deny them. Flat out.

Please continue to have faith in yourself and be strong in who you are and your beliefs. ANd you are right, mistrust doesn't just melt away, it takes YEARS to gain back. And the smallest slipup can cause a huge setback.

Esther said...

You should never feel guilty for being truthful. Especially when you are combating a distrustful situation. My heart hurts for you, but I know that forgiveness, does not involve forgetting, nor does it mean you completely trust. Those come with work from the offending party. Hang in there. Tightly.

Donna said...

Dawn, praying that someone close will be your "Jesus with skin on" as you walk thru flu and surgery recovery....and everything else too...

Deirdre said...

Dear Dawn,

From the time I first started reading your post (from a link on Motherlode), I have admired you so much for just dealing with the day-to-day of six kids and still finding the humor in it. Now I admire you even more for the strength you showed in your last two posts. Many prayers are going to heaven for you, and more hugs, because, hey, they can't hurt, right? Thank you for being one of my ways to escape every day.

Deirdre

Jennifer A. said...

You were concerned, no need to apologize for what you wrote. I am married to a recovering alcoholic and am a child of a alcoholic and the thought he could relapse is always in my mind. we all have full plates and a lot to juggle. You have my support and prayers.

Keeley said...

Dawn, I'm so sorry that your family gave you a hard time. That's such a difficult situation to deal with.

I pray the Lord will stay with you and bless you with continued strength.

Love and hugs.

Sim said...

Dawn, you're an amazing person: warm, caring, strong, no-nonsense, intelligent, funny, optimistic, I could go on and on. I've been reading your blog for years, so I feel like I know you and it really really upset me to read what your parents and in-laws had to say to you in these terribly hard times. I hope you found some support from somebody else, because they sure have dropped the ball. I hope they have come to their senses by now. Dawn, I wish you and your family strength, support, health, and happiness. I hope things will turn around for you soon.

Lots of hugs and love,
Sim from Germany

(PS: You are certainly not mean, nor stupid or horrible. You're a great person and we all appreciate you being a part of our lives. I am sure of this.)

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn, I can't imagine the things you must be feeling right now but please know here is one more amongst your many supporters & prayer team. Being so honest & visceral is such a brave step & one I am very appreciative of. You are a strong & amazing woman. Take care of you...
B x

Anonymous said...

Oh, Dawn. Please know that you are not alone in all this. You're right; it's hard for people who have not experienced this first hand to understand how difficult it is to live with and how, over the years, it just wears you down. There comes a point when you just don't know how much more you can take. I'm sorry you are having to go through this at the same time that you and the kids are all sick. I hope you all start recovering soon. I'll be thinking of you.

Julie in PA

Anonymous said...

Dawn I have emailed you privately but just want to say hang in there! You are an amazing wife and mother and writing as honestly as you have done has helped so many people I am sure. We are conditioned to present a happy face to the world and I'm convinced it does more harm than good in the long run!

I'm glad you've read your comments and emails and hope you didn't get any via the "hate mail" form.

Alcoholism is a family disease so AA/ Alanon for you and Alateen for the kids might be an option for you.

Anonymous said...

Dawn, I have been reading your blog for a while. I believe your readers, even they don't know you personally, feel like you are a good freind. You invite us into your life. Sometimes when we are tired and over it (everything) we just need to vent to our girlfreinds. I think if we could we would all run to you and hug you and want to take care of you. You are an awesome mother, wife and friend. I am praying for you. and know that you are loved by many. christi_lewis@yahoo.com

plainprecious said...

Dawn, LEts start off by saying that Joe is lucky to have you. WHY? because in todays day ad age most women wouldnt have put up with it as long as you have. You have a right to have feelings you have a right to express those feelings. You are what is holding the family together. Joe's parents seem to be in denial if they told him to file charges against you. They are enabling him. He needs to accept that he has a problem if he doesnt it will continue. You need to think about how all this is effecting the kids. My big question is why in the world would a pharmacy keep refilling that drug over and over? I am truly surprised that the doctor allowed that many refills. Do what YOU have to do not what you think everyone wants you to do. Be strong as you always are and take charge. Right now you seem to be the only one who is in the right stage of mind to decide anything. Everyone is right when they say that you have had allot on your plate. Dont ever feel guilty about writing your feelings because I know thats how I get through many problems I have had in my life its like once you get them down you can see things clearer. Take a breath in and out and center yourself. Things will get better. You have alot of friends here and everywhere who are backing you. Love ya kid Elisabeth

mom2mna said...

Dawn, my heart truly aches for you. I am also living with an alcoholic, and I understand completely about the lying. It's a sickness almost worst than the alcohol sometimes. Please know, that you are in my thoughts.

Kelley in MA

Anonymous said...

Don't ever be ashamed of your feelings or thoughts. Joe and his family, all of his family, need to accept responsbility for his actions.
I am sorry that your family is punishing you for being honest...but isn't that what your blog is about? Maybe seeing what you wrote will give Joe the power to overcome his problems and you the courage to do what is best for you and your kids. No one can make that choice but you. NO one knows exactly what is going on behind closed doors. My thoughts will be with you and your family

Anonymous said...

May the Lord Bless You!!! :) I love that you share even the things that are hard. I know that is one of the reasons I kept coming back to your blog. You help us all realize we aren't alone in our struggles.
I am grateful for you! You have helped me more than you will ever know.

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

You do what you feel is best for you and your family. Do the best that you can with what you have.

I hope things get better, and I hope he finds what he needs to help himself and help you.

Michelle said...

You shared way more than I'd ever feel comfortable sharing (I think?), and I admire you for it. There are people who obviously are taking a lot of comfort from it, and that's great.

And the sober but addictive personality tendencies? I know exactly what you're talking about. I know someone in my family who can't wait to get sick each year so that the "good red cough medicine" can be prescribed -- and then taken in its entirety regardless of whether it's needed or not. And it worries me each time. And no, the doctor isn't informed of any of the issues, and it's those kinds of hiding things that cause so many of the problems. I get it. And I just hope you find peace, Dawn. *hugs* to you

Anonymous said...

I hope your kids to read these posts (if not now later) to realize life isn't all roses. You have to work for it in more ways than one and you have to learn to do many things - forgive, vent, have people help you up, and learn to ignore others. Keep strong and remember - this isn't a rehearsal...you get one shot at life and thats it. If the love is there if the family is it and if both strive for a common goal you can do anything. Doesn't mean it won't be hard...but if you try you can do anything.

Colleen said...

Dawn - nothing specific to say, just want to know you are in my thoughts and, if I were close by, I would give you a huge hug! hang in there.

Crystal said...

Sorry your family isn't being too supportive of your feelings. You wrote how you felt, and you can't help your feelings. And keeping all your feelings to yourself is not good at all. Your post was an honest one, and from reading your blog, honesty is what makes you you. I'm sure your post meant a lot to those that found out they were not alone, and that in itself was worth alot to those people.

hey mommy said...

Oh Dawn...I'm so sorry! You don't need to apologize. This is your blog! And we are here to support you. We read for your honesty. You don't need to pump a bunch of sunshine up our butts. Take care!

Shelle said...

Hi, I just read an article in the Newsday parents mag about you, and since I'd just started blogging it caught my interest. Rather timely, I'm thinking...I'm almost in the same situation as you, minus the flu, plus one kid, oh and my dh hasn't had surgery. I know it is hard, hard, hard, and this past year I've been where you're at. Take care of yourself, then you can take care of everyone else, that's what I'm learning.

plainprecious said...

Dawn I have been thinking about you all evening. I jsut have something else I need to add. Several years ago. I Was dealing with a bad marriage. My mother was a solid christian who totally believed that once married always married so I felt trapped. I didnt want to let my mother down even though my marriage was killing me inside. My mother was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. When she was told that she had less than a year to live she broke down sobbing. She said that she had MANY regrets in her life one was staying with my father in a bad marriage. It was focused to me all the things she said was totally directed to me. It gave me the strength to leave my husband of 16 years. I am not telling you in any way that you should leave Joe I am merely saying that if that is a thought and you feel as though you are going against christianity you arent. At least in my opinion. I truly believe that the LORD doesnt want people to divorce over frivilous reasons. IE he snores he clicks his spoon when he eats he slurps. whatever. but when you feel as though it is harming yourself or your children do what you NEED to do. It comes to a point where you have to decide whether your relationship is helping or hurting. Whether you are both sincerly trying or jsut making excuses. If you cant trust him if he lies then can you seriously be happy in the marriage? Maybe it is not my place to say these things but I have been there I have been with a man with whom I vowed to love til death blah blah. I have sat up crying feeling as though I was in it alone. I have felt as though I wanted the world to swallow me up because I couldnt take another day. but I had kids and I realized that someone had to be strong for them. I divorced met a wonderful man who accepted my kids and added to our family with 2 more lovebugs. I now awake each morning loving each day. May the Lord guide you through this and you find the answers that are waiting to be found.

DonnaP said...

Dawn.....I for one never took your comments as "Joe bashing", as I live through it every day. Those who did, especially those close that were disappointed with you obviously are either in denial, or are embarassed.
Even though my husband isn't sober, we also have the issue with prescriptions.
I can also understand about the disappointment, it was something that distroyed my X and me, I couldn't get past it. It wasn't until we split up after 20 years, that I realized that while he didn't have an addiction, he had all the traits of an addict due to be raised by one.
Now I have to wonder wny I picked another one with those lovely traits...
hugs....Donna

Stella said...

This is your space to be honest and I applaud your honest.

I applaud your strength.

I applaud your courage.

You, your family and Joe are all in my prayers for continued strength and courage.

I have lived with an addict. It's an ugly thing and when you take away the primary addiction it does not make it all get better. It's hard work for everyone involved. You are courageous and strong and I'm sure that's hard.

Know that you are not alone. Ever.

Jennifer Foster said...

I really appreciate your story-your bravery to post and honesty is inspiring. You are a remarkable woman Dawn. Sending you unconditional friendship :)

none said...

I love how vulnerable and honest you are here. However, as a fellow blogger, I have to warn you about airing your husband issues online. Not because of all the judgmental naysayers but because of your husband. I've learned that men can't tolerate any public criticism. Even the most innocuous statement can wound their manhood. Men really value being respected, and being negatively blogged about in such a public forum definitely comes across as disrespect to them. Even the tiniest criticism will be interpreted as a major condemnation of their worth.

If Joe doesn't mind this last post, then please continue to share your honest feelings with us. But if Joe was hurt by this post, then better to keep these issues offline.

Best of luck to you.

Rebecca said...

I think it's a shame you have to apologize for what you wrote.

Alcoholics are alcoholics no matter if they are sober or not. It is merely a matter of how functioning they are, and how aware they are of their actions... and how hard they are working to fight their alcoholic tendencies.

It is your blog. You get to write what you need to write - and if it isn't always funny, and sometimes is a heavy dose of reality - well, that's your prerogative, Dawn!

Thank you for sharing. I hope that Joe continues to work on his issues, and that you can find a way to be happy - with him or without him.

I also wish my grandfather would realize how awful his drinking and behavior is and has been... but then again, I avoid face-to-face and verbal contact with him, and I now only communicate with him by thank you card once a year (he has "forgotten" my birthday at least 2 years running, now).

And again-

Really hope you and the kids are getting over the swine flu.

Anonymous said...

Dawn,
I understand where you are coming from, once trust is broken it's so very very hard to rebuild.
I'm glad you were able to vent, and you are a strong and amazing woman, hang tough :)

Beverly said...

I just want you know that your readers support you and are here for you. You've provided so much joy and laughter for us. I hope that we can return a bit of joy and encouragement to you in this difficult time. You are fabulous, and you are not alone.

ofcheeriosandconferencecalls said...

Dawn - sending support and prayers your way. You don't need to apologize for being true to yourself. And don't worry about what others might think. What does it say in the Bible - let he who is without sin cast the first stone. No one should critize or reproach you for what you do/say.

Elaine said...

Aw Dawn.... reading your post makes me want to cry... I'm really sorry you're going through a rough patch in life and I'm so sorry that your family is not supportive of you sharing your feelings here. I hope that Joe wouldn't take on his mother's advice because I think it would be nice for him to read what you really think and see how hurt you are of his actions. From your posts I can feel that you still love Joe, you just don't know how to go about it now that you feel that he has betrayed you, I hope you guys will be able to work something out.

God bless you and your family Dawn :)

Hey Teach! said...

No judgement here. I am the daughter of an alcoholic and my husband is the son of an alcoholic. My husband has addictive tendancies too and has been diagnosed bi-polar. My friends don't know why I stick with him either. I will pray for you guys. Kudos to you for all your hard work and a cyber hug. Thanks for the honesty!

pamela said...

i know people will leave you tons of comments, messages, "advice", a bunch of "you should..."; just wanted to say i'm praying for a big dose of grace, patience, and mercy to fall on your life.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you're going through this. {{HUG}}

bonni said...

Dawn, honey, let me tell you something.

You have a right to vent your feelings. I understood perfectly what you were doing and why, and those who want to judge you have their own issues and should be dealing with them instead of trying to fix you. I hope some of them read this comment, though I'm guessing they'll say "Oh, that doesn't apply to ME! I'm ALLOWED to judge, point fingers, and make trouble in people's lives because they say something I don't like! I haven't got any ISSUES!"

That being said, the way to turn off comments is simple. In Blogger, there's a link in the lower left part of the text area when you're writing or editing a post. The link says Post Options. Click it, and there's an option there to allow or disallow reader comments. Next time you want to turn off the comments, that's how you do it. You don't need to take this nonsense from random people on the net. It's bad enough that you're getting it from your family.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dawn,

I was tempted not to add to the pile of comments that you have already received (how in the world do you find the time to read them all??) but you need to know that you are positively impacting others by your blog. You write about real life with honesty, humor, and yes, even humility. In many ways, you write the words that we wish we could say out loud!

I'm sorry to hear that both your family and Joe's family has gotten into the mix of your marriage. Yep, it's your marriage to Joe...not theirs. I will be praying for you, Joe and your kids through this all.

~Lisa K. Dallas, Texas

Leanne said...

You are a strong woman Dawn... You need to write and vent what bothers you and you know what... continue to do it. You have 6 lovely children at home, that you have been with everyday of their lives. Keep it up and STAY STRONG!!

Mother's need to vent!

sjm4him said...

Dawn, thanks for your honesty. I'm sorry for Joe's mother wanting to sue you for slander. Your blog is your blog and I think it's the Lord's way of providing you a voice. I applaud you for your honesty and I know you helped women (or men) who are dealing with the same type of situation. I have been praying for your family, and will continue to. I hope that God will keep your family together, and that in the midst of all of this, you will be assured of God's love for you and His peace that He will take care of you...no matter what. Blessings on you and remember to, out of all the "voices" you have coming in right now--readers and family and friends and whatever--that God's still, small voice is one you should never lose sight of...and His truth: He loves you, He is with you, and will never leave you. Continue to cling to that--I know you have been. He is able (Eph 3:16-21). Love ya! :)

flyyrmackenziie said...

Dawn,
I seldomly comment on your post, but I wanted to let you know that I appreciate the honesty and realness of this blog. I grew up with alcoholic and drug addicted parents and it's reassuring to know I am not alone. Your family and sanity are in my prayers. :)

Harrisons said...

Kudos to you Dawn for sticking with it in a society where most people would have given up on marriage by now! Don't be so hard on yourself. I really believe that learning how to forgive is one of the things we need to learn while on earth -- and it's HARD! How wonderful of you to keep a sense of humor and making us all laugh despite your own trials. Thank you.

Nicki said...

Yep, I have no shortage of addicts in my life, either. And I know about the forgiveness thing, that you're supposed to keep forgiving and forgiving. Addicts know this rule as well and will remind you of it. But, you know, forgiveness just means you say to yourself, "I still love this person. He's done something horribly wrong, and I don't understand why, and I am hurt by it. But I know in my heart he is a good person." On the other hand, forgiveness does NOT necessarily mean FORGETTING what happened and opening yourself up to being hurt over and over again. You can forgive a person's actions and still love them, but you also do have a right to protect yourself from being hurt again!!!

Ruth said...

Oh my God, you're a fallible human being just like the rest of us! Did your family think you were above the occasional human blunder, especially when you were worn out? Show me the wife who doesn't occasionally need to vent about her husband and I'll show you the wife of an imaginary man.
Now mix in the strain of dealing with not one but 4 sick children and you have a woman with too much on her plate. For the final ingredient, add some spousal lies and what happens, the plate comes crashing down. That's what happened to you on Thursday. I hope you and Joe can work through this and get to a healthy place in your relationship.

Midlife Mama said...

Hi Dawn, Joe's behavior is NOT your fault, no matter what you say. I know you know that intellectually, but emotionally it is another thing. The lying and emotional manipulation is typical addictive behavior. You are a saint for staying on this long. I have a husband who has depression issues related to brain chemistry problems, and is on a couple of antidepressants. They work 95% of the time but the other 5% of the time he becomes Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and becomes nearly impossible to live with. I have often thought of leaving but the good times outweigh the bad. Find a good support group if you can. I know, I know...WHEN are you supposed to find the time to go??? LOL

It's okay to do something for yourself. Those kids NEED a healthy mom, so if at all possible run, don't walk to the nearest Al-Anon meeting and do something wonderful for yourself. :)

DarcsFalcon said...

Your marriage, and how you handle it, are your business. I will absolutely keep you and your family in my prayers, that God works this out in the way that's best for all involved. You are an inspiration to many, dear Dawn, and the Lord can use any situation for good. I support you, no matter what. *hugs*

Cheri-Beri said...

I wish I could say I didn't, but I DO understand every word of this post and the one previous. Sending up prayers for you right now.

MaBunny said...

Dawn,
You know you will always have my support! I love that you can be so open, honest and real. A lot of us are dealing with issues that we fear to write on our blogs because we don't want the criticism. Maybe you talking about your problems so openly will inspire some of us to open up more and embrace our bloggy friends!
Thanks for being honest - just like you were in your book. Hugs to all of you and glad all the kiddos are on the mend.

Casey said...

I'm sure this has been said, but as a recovering alcoholic and addict, I feel like I should say something.

When prescription narcotics are given to an addict (whether it be alcohol or drugs), it is best to have the dosage doled out by a trusted person. That feeling you get when you take narcotics is addicting for anyone with a substance abuse problem and they can't control themselves.

I have issues sleeping, but I have made sure my doctor is fully aware of my sobriety and doesn't even offer to prescribe a narcotic. I'm kinda screwed myself in that sense, but it is for the best and there are non-narcotic ways to treat symptoms.

Being in a relationship with a sober person isn't easy, so I feel for you. I know I'm not easy to be with and lying can be an issue for me. Hang in there, maybe check out Al-Anon if you haven't and keep us updated!

Gloria said...

My father was an alcoholic. I remember the years we had with his drinking. He stopped when I was about 16 years old. I am proud of his being able to stop the drinking, but he, like your Joe, did not address WHY he drank. So, even after he quit drinking we still lived with the emotional issues that were behind that addiction.

I understand, somewhat, what you are dealing with. I admire you and I know that Joe loves you, just as my father loved my mother. I think that is the only reason he was able to quit--because she was going to leave if he didn't.

May the Lord bless you. Joe is blessed to have you as his wife.

Anonymous said...

You know what...after reading the last few posts of yours - what a horrible bermuda triangle you were in. Think about it....Surgery, Swine Flu and EVERYTHING RESTING ON YOUR SHOULDERS. Egad everyone involved should be happy that a few words just flew back and forth. How does everyone (include those parents giving their two cents - even though mom did help with joe)...did they ever think that - wow - maybe we should look after Dawn. With your lack of sleep, exhaustion I would assume you would fear or think the worst was happening with Joe - I ALWAYS do that. :) My poor husband will never win. Keep strong!

Susan said...

hey dawn, i've been married 27 years, and life is so daily as you know. don't give up, hang in there, i'm praying for y'all. my jim is a verbal abuser and cheek squeezer, but then he got the smart ass of the world. we're grounded in God. we have the world's greatest son and 5th year senior at lsu who is not only a cusser but also a smart-ass. he has a 3.5 gpa and opens doors for his girlfriend. nothing is perfect, 6 kids is a loving investment, or even 1. it is "for better or worse"

Anonymous said...

No advice here, just a hug.

Liz's Random Thoughts said...

Honestly,
Its your blog. Write whatever you want too. Its your place to vent and cry out. Writing is therapy.
And I'm glad you set the record straight, and I hope everything will work out for you and your husband.
It takes awhile to build up a trust w/ people. Esp. if they have broken it and re broken it a million times.
Times right now are stressful, you have sick kids, a sick husband, and you are probably trying to stay well yourself.
I have no idea how you have stayed sane through the years. Being a wife and mother is the hardest job in the world. And to me it sounds like you are doing a pretty good job of it!
**hugs**
Tomorrow is another day, and I'm sure once everything has settled down and you and your husband have a chance to talk things out. It will be okay.
God be with you....

Emiliy said...

Hi Dawn -

What you said about forgiveness really struck me. I was in an abusive relationship for years. He would use the Bible against me and say "If you're such a Christian why can't you forgive me?"

One day, God revealed to me something about forgiveness. It is simply relinquishing your right to "get even". By consistently forgiving, you aren't "letting them get off the hook" but merely placing them on God's hook. Just because you forgive someone doesn't mean you need to trust them right away and let them continue to hurt you. I completely understand what you mean about trying to trust him again and I admire your courage in putting it out there. So many women are in the same place (or have been) and its so comforting in knowing you aren't weird for having gone through something like that.

Thank you so much for sharing. You are courageous and strong.

Anonymous said...

I have no relationship with my mother due to her alcoholism. You are absolutely correct that there are still personality aspects while they are not using. And you are absolutely correct that people who are not in the situation do not understand. The shame of breaking it off with your mother is even worse than that of divorce, and no amount of explaining can make someone understand that is not in a similar situation. When someone is in a similar situation, mentioning her alcoholism is all the explanation needed.

I think Joe deserves a lot of praise for remaining sober all those years while his family needed him. And I think you deserve praise for not taking the easy way out of a difficult situation.

I know it's hard to work up hope one more time, but it sounds like he was starting to get it after watching Fireproof. I pray he uses that to start working on some of the aspects still causing trouble.

Duck's Mom said...

Dawn, anyone who knows you and reads your blog regularly would know that your post was not bashing Joe. You had to vent. I did a similar post earlier this year and got just about the same reaction from people. I'm not going to blow sunshine when people who know us know the real story. You never have to justify yourself or your writings to me, Dawn!

LisaB said...

Why do you have to apologize when your husband let you down? I have experienced the same thing in my marriage. My husband's actions causes hurt feelings and somehow it is my fault I am upset.
Joe knows he has a problem and refused to manage his meds responsibly. The family needed him to be responsible since everyone was coming down with the flu. You are doing way more than your fair share of parenting right now. Of course this opinion is from a very limited point of view of the situation and every situation is more complicated than just one point of view.

But I disagree that the family wants to hire a lawyer. Joe should be apologizing for causing more problems during the time when all of the children are sick. The in-laws should be helping run around to find meds for their grandkids with you, not still parenting their grown child. If Joe wants to be portrayed a certain way then he will need to act that way. He should not depend on other people to spin things for him.

You are doing a great job Dawn. I have only two daughters, in Graduate School full-time, work part-time, coach soccer and run my daughters to all of their events. I read you blog for inspiration.

Keep up the great work Dawn. As we say in our house - You are so a rockstar!!!

Michelle said...

Yours is a heavy cross to carry. People cannot fully understand unless they have been there themselves. You're a strong person and you inspire so many others. Prayers for you and Joe and your family.

Leah said...

Dear Dawn,
I'm just catching up on your posts of the last few days. I rarely comment, but I always read.

There is so little truth told in our culture. We seem to have developed an allergy to telling things as they are - instead, we put a pretty face on whatever is going on, smile, and try to "just think positive". But what's going on isn't always pretty and it's not possible to "just think positive" without acknowledging the truth.

You have done yourself, your kids, and Joe a great honor by telling the truth. You honor yourself by telling the truth because you don't have to hide behind smiles and platitudes. You do your children an honor because they only know that it's okay to tell the truth if they see you do it (this from a child of an alcoholic who did not see truth told in my home and have had to learn truth-telling as a conscious skill as an adult). And you do Joe an honor because you're no longer facilitating his poor behavior. He knows what he is doing; he may or may not yet have conscious control over his behavior, but he definitely knows what he is doing and that it is poor behavior...or he wouldn't be hiding it. It WILL be uncomfortable for those people who have learned to help him hide - you are jeopardizing their house of cards as well as his. Everyone is doing the very best they can with what they know in each moment - that includes you, Joe, Joe's parents, and your kids. Now, thanks to you, everyone knows a little more and a little better.

Brava!
With a hug,
Leah

Sylvia said...

Dawn,

I don't know how to email you privately so I guess it goes here.

I just wanted to give you encouragement from my story. My husband and I were 21 when we got married. I am a strong woman, he was a pretty passive guy. We struggled with me being the "mom" and him being the "little boy". He'd lie to "not get in trouble" and blame me for things to avoid taking responsibility. When we'd been married 4 years he cheated on me. We separated (him to move in with the other woman), I got help for me, he hit bottom and tried to commit suicide, he got help for himself and, over the course of the next several months we worked on rebuilding our marriage. Now we have been married 12 years, have 3 kids and are not the same people we were nor does our marriage resemble what it did pre-crisis. (Wow, talk about a very short version of a long story).

I don't know how your story will end. I feel sad reading about it. I do want to encourage you to get into Christian counseling if you haven't, even if you go alone. What I learned is that I had issues that contributed to the problem (I wasn't responsible for his choices but I made bad ones too). I was controlling and manipulative. I had to learn what about me was attracted to a passive man I could control and break that sin pattern so I didn't take it into whatever relationship I was in. He, obviously, had his own stuff to deal with too.

Our marriage still has bumps but we are in a much healthier place to address them now. My husband now stands in a place of being a man, not a little boy. If he tries to make me the bad guy/mom, I refuse (usually) to go there. God is good and has restored much of the trust that was lost although there will always be a scar.

So, I send support and love your way. I've been praying for your family since the beginning (I was part of the first big wave of blog readers). I know the pressure of being a mom, and tight money and never seeing your spouse and keeping the faith. I figured you could use the extra coverage since you were making at least parts of your life public. :) I will pray that both you and Joe will choose life and freedom and that Jesus will protect your hearts in the process. I will also pray that you get a direct channel of love from God.

Love you even though I don't know you.

Sylvia

JennyF said...

I am always amazed at those who bear greater burdens than I can even imagine and do it with such grace and resilience. Your faith is strong, Dawn, rely on it to see you through.

I'll be thinking of you, of Joe and all the children, and wishing for positive thoughts.

Jennifer in Wisconsin said...

It takes a strong woman to admit they are in something way too deep for them to handle alone. I too am a child of a history of alcoholics and find that a man should be grateful when a woman will stand up to his behavior because it means she loves him with all he heart and wants what is best for him. True, I was surprised to read the post you left but could feel the frustration and exhaustion in you words. Thank you for allowing us a glimpse into your world to help us out, even if it did hurt those you love. I truly hope they understand your feelings also. Please remain strong for your kids Dawn.

Anonymous said...

I am lifting up a prayer for you and for your family. God bless you and give you wisdom and peace for your marriage.

Debra said...

Dawn, I have been lurking ever since the Ebay auction. I have 5 children with a dh that I have to "take care of" as well.... like we need more children to take care of.

I ended up giving my dh an ultimatium. We went to counseling and after 6 months he finally realized part of the problem IS him as well. He was in such denial.

When he goes on business trips I have realized that i CAN handle this many kids on my own. And they actually behave better when he is gone!

Its been eye opening to the both of us. Counseling is on hold, but as soon as his 6 month weekly business trips are over, we are back in counseling to save our marriage. We have a long way to go, but we'll get there. if HE works on his part.

Good luck!

Marjorie said...

Dawn,
My brother is an addict. If it's not to one thing it's to another. He's been clean for almost a year. Not long by some standards, but for him it is. I know what it is to deviate between being sympathetic and not. I know what it is to care that a person gets well and to not want to enable that person. My brother has problems with honesty and just being nice in general.

In short, you are not alone, Dawn. Not at all. This blog has become a good oulet for you. Nobody has the right to judge you for how you feel. Marraige is hard. You can't be expected to like everything about your husband. You have more claim on him than anyone else. Neither his parents or yours have the right to tell you how to feel about the way he acts or what to write about it.

Be strong,
Marjorie

trousseau4 said...

Dawn,
You have nothing to apologize for. Anyone who has ever lived with an alcoholic knows what you are feeling. I feel honored that you are honest and brave enough to share with others what is usually a difficult, dark dirty secret. I grew up with an alcoholic mother and although I love her more than anything in this world, the amount of damage it caused me is irrepairable. Now as an adult, I am married to an alcoholic and trying to raise kids and feeling trapped. Do what is best for you and your kids and know that many people are behind you. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

I hope your parents and his mother read these comments. They are probably speaking more because their own embarrassment than because it's right for you and your family. I am so glad you have so much cybersupport and I hope that it helps! You are so strong and I hope you'll make it through this.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn, I have been reading your blog since your first ebay sale. But, this is my first comment.

It is amazing to see you taking care of 6 kids + 1 man. I hope everything will be pretty normal and happy within a week.

Don't take any hasty decision when you are under stress.

my prayers for you, joe and your kids.

Susan (5 Minutes For Mom) said...

Dawn, I'm so sorry you're having to go through all of this.

I'm glad to know you have so many good friends who care about you.

All the best!!!

Your friend,
Susan

Sara said...

As a person who grew up inside a, shall we call it, a revivalist church and was always encouraged to think outside the box (one of the reasons I trailed away several times), I take issue with the matter of forgiveness.

The Bible tells us that God, in all His Almighty strength, forgives our sins and forgets about them. I'm sorry if I'm not using a very church-y language but blame it on English being a 2nd language.

However, God also says that we must ask for forgiveness and LEAVE our childish ways. If we want to put it in simple terms, I think God's patience also gets a bit thin when we do the same thing over and over again. If that happens to Him, imagine what it does to us.

I'm not married (yet) but I do have a difficult mother to deal with. After years of sorrow and hurt, I've realized that love is not enough for us. When God tells us to HONOUR our mother and father, it's much more than love. It's beyond it. Love cannot be if there's no honour in the relationship.

So, forgive me if I'm being an overall condescending idiot, but as I learnt to honour my mother (the hard way), despite her flaws, her shortcomings and personality, you too must honour your husband. It goes both ways, I know. I'm as difficult or more. Totally. And seriously, I do live in the 21st century. I'm the first to admit that divorce did wonders to my father so I'm not a "tick to your spouse even though you've been beaten to a pulp" defender.

But marriage IS a Heavenly thing. After Job was stripped away from everything, what was the one thing that remained? His wife. Because they were one. Because God had made them one through the sanctity of marriage. For better or for worse.

A book that has really helped me see that is "The Code of Honour" by a Brazillian minister called Rene Terra Nova. Now I know you won't probably be able to find it in bookstores there, but I could and would send it to you if you'd like and can't find it on the web. Yes, it is in English :P

Stay strong Dawn. Read Hebrews 4. You are blessed with a husband, 6 brilliant children and a multitude of people who pray for you and love you.

Much love your way.
Sara

The Only Girl said...

I have no advice. No magic words to make it all better. All I can offer is sympathy, understanding that stems from my own situation, and nothing but good wishes for whatever ending to this story will make you happy. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Your M-i-L sounds like a classic enabler.

You however rock, Dawn.

Thanks for sharing your life with the internet.

Minnie said...

Dawn, This is your blog and you get to write what you want on it. If people do not like what you write, they do not have to read it!

Your situation is more hands on than mine, however reading your blog helps me realize I am not alone. My MIL comes from a long line of alcholics. She does not drink but shops instead. And she has the traits of an alcholic. One trait the family excuses is her lying. She does it in such a robust manner that family members look at is a dramatics. To me...it's lying. And I am having a hard time with forgiving her for the lies that she has told to me and about me recently. I understand it's part of her alcholic traits but I get angry because none of the rest of the family wants to acknowledge the issue. The more I read about alcholism the more I am able to understand why she does the things she does sometimes. Thanks for your writings on the good and bad of marriages and family life. Your writings are reality.

Amy in Douglas, NE said...

Dawn -- I didn't want to comment on Thursday's post. I knew that you would be overwhelmed with negative feedback for the comments you made. But, I also knew that at least some of your readers have been in your shoes, so to speak, and would provide positive, supportive feedback.

I have been where you are ... minus the married and six kiddos part. I lived with an alcoholic for 3 years. I put up with the emotional abuse that started after the 1st year, because "it was the alcohol talking." I believed him everytime he told me that he would quit drinking. In hs defense, he would quit, for about a week. And then, I believed him when he told me that he would have only one. And so on, and so on. I finally found my strentgh to leave when the abuse became physical, instead of just emotional. It was the hardest thing I had done up to that point.

Dawn, I don't know you, and you don't know me. But, I admire you for putting your life out there for all of the world to see. I enjoy reading your blog each day. I am married now, with two boys of my own. Your blog, and your book, help me laugh at the little things that happen, apparently to every family. :) Your strength amazes me. You are raising six beautiful children while Joe works a crazy schedule to allow you to be a stay-at-home mom. You became famous, practically overnight, and still manage to keep us all entertained with your blog, while being a mom, wife, and everything else!

I don't have any words of wisdom for you. I don't have a magicaly solution to your current situation. I can only tell you that, in my experience, God never puts more on our plates than he knows we can handle.

Lise said...

Dawn,
I love reading your blog. I get a kick reading the stories about your kids. I was thrown for a loop reading about Joe and I was thinking of you all day. I was saddened by the post, but I want you to know (now that were friends on FB) that I think of you as a friend and feel for you.

You're a rock.

Lise

Lyuda said...

No need to apologize!! You had a right to be hurt and frustrated and tired and upset. And I think it is much better to let it out than to keep it all inside. I'm sorry that your parents and his parents do not understand what you're going through. I know that it can make it tougher that way. They just have no idea what's its like for you. I'll keep on praying for you. Stay strong and don't be afraid to cry. I just hope that when you do, you will have a shoulder to lean on. With lots of love!!!!

Pamelakay said...

Dawn~

I have been reading your blog for a bout a year now and have highly enjoyed it. You inspire me and I also live with an addict he went from alcohol to prescription pills. I totally understand what place you are in right now. It is so difficult to balance your life with an addict. I am also constantly telling my husband that I am going to leave him and then he seems to control it. I just want relief for him and myself. I feel for you.

Pamela

Laura said...

Until one has walked a mile in your shoes...

Don't ever apologize for the way you feel! You are kind enough to let us into you and your family's lives, let us laugh at your trials and tribulations of child-rearing, and we owe it to you to be understanding when not everything you write is a "joke" or funny. You are giving us YOUR life experiences, no one else's, and have no need to make apologies for anything you say! You inspire most of us to look at the brighter side of the frailities in this life, and also point out when it sometimes is not possible.

Kudos to you for writing what you feel and what you believe!

Anonymous said...

his liver enzymes were elevated because of the tylenol (not the narcotic)
I'm surprised they didn't give him something stronger than Tylenol 3 with codeine--he needed it

Anonymous said...

Dawn,

I just wanted to comment on this because I can understand where you are right now. I know that seems hard to believe. My husband is not an alcoholic but he did have a major problem with pornography. Fireproof was instrumental in our marriage. I am slowy building trust with him but it takes time. He has to be completely open and honest with me even if the truth is not what I want to hear. It takes time and commitment on both sides but if you both really want it you will get there. I will be praying for you as you go throught this. Love will come again in time. Trust me I know!!!

Anonymous said...

God bless you for putting up with what you have. Anyone who bashes you for speaking your thoughts and venting....screw them. I was married to an alcoholic/chronic liar/porn addict for almost 11 years, until I found out he'd found a BARELY 18 year old girl he'd decided to leave me for. THAT was my breaking point, and I decided that it was the last straw and had to do what was best for my children. I wish you all the best of luck, and I hope God continues to bless you and your wonderful children.

Amy said...

I have no relatable experience except my boyfriend was on meds when we first got together to control his anger and depression. They didn't work so well and made it worse, plus he gained a lot of weight. We all have things to deal with, and you're not alone. *hug*

Jennifer said...

read "the peacegiver" by James L Ferrell. It might heal your heart a little. I'm sorry.

Darc said...

I read your blog every week and you have always been an inspiration to me. I wish I had 1/2 the energy in caring for my family as you have. I'm sure I have missed post here and there but never would I have guess that you are dealing with these struggles as you are. I actually cried when I read these post about Joe. You have always been so open about you and your family that I stangely enough I feel like your a friend of mine. It hurt me to hear the hurt and frustration in your words. I know whats its like to be at your wits end. And there are some great books out there for couples to read. One that my husband and I read together when we were on the outs was the Power of the Praying Wife/Husband. I totally get the not being able to trust again. I hope that you guys can find it. Thank you so much for your blog and letting us mothers know out there that we are not alone in all the crazy things that go on in our days weather its with our kids, husbands, neighbors, schools. I find as I am getting older most of my friends are not on my same level anymore and look forward to hearing that someone is going thru my same things. Thank you so much for being you! God Bless you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Dawn,
Stay strong and know many support you. Your husband alone must take responsibility for his own actions and quit putting the blame on others.
Until he alone faces reality and take charge others must not be enablers. I am sure you are very frustrated and overwhelmed with all of your responsibilities and emotions but don't apologize for that. You don't need to have others pile on you and if you can try to ignore them and focus on your own self and children. Your marriage is very important but if your husband will not help himself no one else can either. It is time for him to step up to the plate and become a strong adult and accept and change his actions.
He is not another child of yours but an adult. He has children he has to put before himself also. The practice now seems to be always put the blame on others, forgive and forget but until others have lived your life you have to do what you feel is best.

I hope he will make a stronger commitment to you all and your family becomes stronger for this.

Take care of yourself and don't beat yourself up for his actions.

Anonymous said...

You have MANY blog followers that love and support you - and your family.

Lisa said...

(((((((((Dawn)))))))))))

I think you know, that I totally understand but just wanted to state it again. Unless someone has dealt with it they don't understand that a sober alcoholic is still an alcoholic and it sounds like he is just that, not truly a recovering alcoholic but a sober one. Someone in recovery has worked on and continues to work on the issue that cause the lies and bizarre blame games. I know what it is to be called names when all you do is TRY and TRY! And what it is to second guess everything you're told because you simply don't know if they EVER tell you the truth.
I also know the frustration as they expect us to let it all go in an instant when they think they've changed. Or to see the whole cycle start again because of new Rx.
Only you can decide what's right for you. I filed but am very glad I pulled the papers before our first court date, our life is FAR from perfect but right now I'm very glad to have him in my life. You'll know what's right for you!!

Barbara Ann Cooper said...

Hi Dawn;

I just discovered your blog after reading a back issue of Guideposts (April, 2009). Yes, I am behind in my reading lol. I use this site for blogging as well, so decided to take a look.

First of all, I am so pleased to see all of these very positive responses and comments! It's great how supportive your readers are being, especially as you were concerned otherwise. That should give you faith in yourself.

Secondly, it is your blog and you have a right to express yourself honestly and emotionally. Blogs often function as journals, and are meant to be a safe place to really tell the truth. I think you are just being real, honest, and that is a part of your life which is important.

It's a shame that your own family members had a negative response to your truth-telling, but again that is their issue and it isn't you. One of the best things you can tell yourself to help the healing process, is that you are not responsible for how other people behave, and for what they say. Your intentions were honest and sincere, and there was nothing wrong with expressing yourself as you felt you needed to. Please don't let other people, even relatives 'bring you down' or intimidate you into feeling wrong or guilty. You are not at fault for the issues of another person.

I went through something vaguely similar online. I had a Twitter account for a few months, but unfortunately some people chose to gang up on me for no reason but they felt the need to 'hurt' someone else, and create drama for themselves. I was the victim of Cyber Abuse and Cyber Bullying for several weeks, until I finally closed my account on Twitter because these people would not leave me alone and it just wasn't worth the continual stress.

I knew rationally I had done nothing wrong, but some good 'investigative' type research uncovering a strange situation in WA that started on Twitter. Yet these people on Twitter, used my hard work as a basis for months of attacks. One of them even escalated it to the point of making legal threats against me, even though I knew logically I had done nothing wrong or illegal.

Unfortunately, this person even took the legal threats to the level of telling everyone on the Internet she had filed a Police Incident Report against me in her home town. Again, I knew she was being dishonest as there was no basis for such a report. I am a nice person, and had done nothing that would cause such a thing.

She continued this 'story' about me and her Police Department for weeks, even elaborating and adding to it in an effort to make herself seem credible. I was forced to contact her PD a few times, and asked them to look into it for me because it was so traumatic.

Even though I knew she was making it up, her insistence that it was real was causing me to have to check into it. Fortunately, a friend who is a local Police Officer reassured me that she was probably mentally unstable, and she was just making it all up. That resolved the issue for me, from my end at least and I was able to let go.

The point is, people do and say things for all sorts of reasons. Often those reasons have more to do with themselves, than with anyone else.

So even if someone is throwing out 'legal threats', please try not to let it get to you. Chances are; they have no grounds and wouldn't follow through, and are only saying that to make themselves feel more powerful, to express anger, or to hurt you which is unfortunate.

You have to believe and have faith in yourself, in order to be a good mother and person which you obviously are. So hang in there, keep the faith, and don't be afraid to be yourself.

Hope that helps..

Barbara Ann Cooper

Sandi said...

nothing more to add except a {{cyber hug}}

Amanda said...

To be honest, I'm surprised you didn't vent more. ;) You've had sick kids, a husband that just had surgery, and now this. I know you have to be running on fumes at this point. Please know I'm thinking about you and praying for your family right now. I'll even be praying for the judgmental idiots that had the audacity to leave negative comments. :D

Just hang in there and know that people love you.

Hugs,
Amanda

Rebekah Benimoff said...

Dawn,
My husband is recovering from PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, from the war in Iraq. His coping mechanisms have been not alcohol or drugs, but have been destructive to our family, and he ended up in a mental facility for several months.

I am glad that you shared. I like that you are real. Honest about the imperfections. No neat bow tied around a "pretty picture". Sometimes real life is just not so pretty.

There was a time when my husband became unstable, emotionally abusive, and then completely fell apart. Hell itself broke loose in our family. It has been three long years of recovery.

The struggle to forgive the same things over and over is familiar. When something happens that feels like the really horrible things he did in the past, suddenly it is back to square one in the healing process.

Many people have wondered why I did not walk away. A question with a definitive answer, but no space for here.

We are currently recovering. Our marriage. Our family. I connect to the process you mentioned of learning to trust again, and again. I have struggled, and while I cannot say "I know what you are going through"-- you are your own person who works through the difficulties you face in a way unique to you alone-- but I can appreciate where you are coming from.

I can say that trust a process. It takes years to build and some days, moments to be utterly destroyed. It is normal to struggle like this when there has been so very much to forgive, and so often, the same things to forgive over and over.

I can say that I've learned that I have to grieve what has happened--and the loss of my dreams-- in my own time and in my own way.

Check out the book of Esther. Boy, did Mordecai and the Jews in Susa KNOW how to grieve. I have learned to cry out to the Lord in pain and anger and be deeply, horrifically honest with myself and God about where I really am in the process.

I have learned that I can be utterly frank about my wounded-ness, my brokenness, my anger, and my disappointments. I can yell and weep and cry and scream at God and say- I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE. And the Lord will listen and still love me.
That knowledge alone has changed me... irrevocably.

I can say that am learning to give myself some grace, too.

It is my prayer that you, too, will give yourself grace to grieve. If you want to hear more about the journey of another towards healing (still very much in process) you can check these out:

First, the story of our devastation:
http://www.redbookmag.com/health-wellness/ptsd-after-iraq

M blog is moving, most likely by next week, to join another group of ladies who have known their share of loss. We are seeking to grow and heal together: http://www.ladiesbydesign.com/

To see what I wrote regarding my own journey THIS week, you can go to http://www.ladiesbydesign.com/bekah/2009/11/meanings-by-design.html

Hopefully, all the above will be linked together soon.

Lastly let me say that what I have put into the public domain about the journey has not barely scraped the surface of the very deep pain I have walked through, but I hope to soon be able to have the uninterrupted time to devote to digging deep, and really fleshing out the struggle.
I know there will be quite a bit of mourning, and healing, as I write...

For now I must go. Little voices are calling "Mommy", and little hands are incessantly poking for my attention. My youngest (who has a sensory integration disorder) has become tangled on the outside of my arm, and if I don't remove him from his perch, he will soon be on my head. My oldest is having a low blood sugar... (type one diabetes) and needs to eat, after finishing the juice I've given.

As mothers, we are ALWAYS on call, aren't we?

It is my prayer that you will be able to strip away the band-aids holding you together and that the Lord will be gentle in healing the deepest of your wounds. I know He has been quite patient and loving with me.

A fellow sojourner...

Rebekah Benimoff

Canadian Candy said...

There but for the grace of God go I....my dh grew up in a home filled with addiction and violence. He tries so hard and mostly succeeds in being a wonderful father and husband. But there are times that I have packed my bags and the kids and vowed to not come back.

Many {{{HUGS}}}

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