16 March 2009

The Good, (The Very good) , the Bad and the Ugly

I have had extremes of emotions over the last few days ranging from elation to downright despair.

My mood soared on Thursday when Kay telephoned me from school with the results of her A-levels (the early ones taken in January to reduce the number she has to take in the summer).

Grade A for Maths
Grade A for Statistics
Grade A for Biology
Grade A for Chemistry

When she came out of the exams, she thought she had done so badly in a few of them, so I was more than surprised let alone delirious that she had gained top marks.

Then on Friday a letter arrived addressed to Kay from a certain university we had visited in February for interview. It was A4 in size and quite bulky so I took a chance that it was unlikely to be a rejection and phoned Kay at school. Fortunately she was in the school library on a free period , so she was able to take my call. I told her a letter had arrived and asked if I should open it. (Secretly I was unable to contain my curiosity and I was almost working out how to steam the letter open without her knowing, if I had been unable to contact her. Not that I would have done, but I was bursting to know the answer). We agreed that I would drive in at her break time so she could open the letter herself. Kay had been rejected by three of her four choices of university because the course she wants to do is so competitive. In one case there were twenty applicants for every place and the others were about twelve to fifteen for every place. I will not reveal the course yet as I do not want to jinx things, but suffice to say that it is nigh impossible to get in unless you are Einstein. Kay opened the letter and my mood went to the dizziest heights imaginable when she revealed that she has been accepted on the course providing she gets equally good grades in the summer exams. We were on the phone after that telephoning my mother, aunts, cousins, anyone who was equally eager to know the results. Kay spent the rest of the day barely able to believe that her dream may be within reach at last.

The high we continued to remain on all over the weekend came crashing to the ground this morning when I woke up. Greg and I sleep in separate rooms - something I have insisted on since his personal hygiene fell to an all-time low a couple of years ago. He remains in what was our bedroom on a very comfortable double bed with wardrobes, bedside TV and ensuite bathroom. I have decamped to the smallest room where Kay used to sleep as a baby. Then there was just about room for a cot and a table; now there is a rather uncomfortable single bed with a bedside table. To add to the claustrophobic ambience, I share the room with the dog whose bed takes up the remaining bit of floorspace there is. The dog decided long ago that he did not want to share a spacious room with Greg but preferred to sleep with his nose pressed against the base of my bed. Anyway, when I went into Greg's room at 7am this morning, there he was asleep on the top of the bed, fully clothed, including his shoes, with all the lights on. When I went downstairs, lights were still on everywhere. In the evenings, Greg normally sits at the kitchen table to watch TV so that he can smoke outside or at the back door - a rule made at the hospital conference back in September) . On the kitchen table was an unfinished glass of whisky. My heart sank. I had not wanted to believe that he might be drinking again. He had seemed to be doing so well. But there it was. He had obviously been so tired (or drunk) that he had staggered to bed and fallen asleep instantly with all his clothes on and without turning out the lights or removing the tell-tale signs of whisky.

I got Kay off to school, walked the dog in the park and he was just surfacing as I returned home. I was so mad at him, I let rip and we have had a day of blazing rows. He has in turns either lied about how much he has drunk or refused childishly to talk at all. By 5pm this evening, he was so tired/hung-over he went to bed, just as Kay was returning from school, and has been there ever since for the last 5 hours.


KatduGers said...

Oh Rosiero - I am so sorry that Greg has succumbed - he seemed to be so positive and doing so well. I hope this is just a blip and that he will return to the straight and narrow.

Just to let you know I'm thinking about you.

aims said...

Oh dear Roseiro. My heart fell to the bottom of my shoes when I read the bad news - after dancing around with joy for Kay earlier!

Well - so be it. I haven't a clue what else to say as I'm not sure where you want to go from here on forward.

Just know I am thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

You must be so proud of Kay, I'm thrilled to bits for you both.

Horrified re Greg...I know just what one of my UK friends (Posh Julia) would say in this situation, "Darling, you must take a lover and have some fun".


Nota Bene said...

My heart soars for Kay...brilliant stuff.

And sinks like a lead balloon for Greg.

So sorry.

I'm sure your inner strength will pull you through this.

Flowerpot said...

I'm so sorry aobut Greg but wonderful news about Kay. Thinking of you. Take care.

Penny Pincher said...

wonderful news re Kays A's and university acceptance.
Sorry re small bedrooma - why do we put up with 2nd best? oh how familiar this is.
so sorry re the drinking.

Kunterbunt said...

Oh dear - and I was so full of hope for you and Kay.
Herzlichen Gruß aus Köln
Ingrid (April)

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

Do you know why? Did something upset him? What was he watching on TV that evening? Is he dreading Kay going away to uni as there'll be nothing to keep you there either? Is there any way to get inside his head?

Well done Kay! Her success is partly shared with an extraordinarily supportive mother.

Kit Courteney said...

There is a bit of a pattern, here, so all I can add is the same.

Massively brilliant news re your incredibly tallented daughter(!). How fantastic is that?!

Absolute shite news re your husband, however.

My heart sank like a sodding heavy boulder when I read that so flip knows how you felt.

I think we're ALL sending positive vibes your way... and if only a few land, it'll be worth it.

nuttycow said...

Firstly, well done to Kay - she's obviously worked hard for those results and I'm thrilled she's got them.

I'm sorry to hear about the (potential) relapse. What now?

Anonymous said...

I have only recently started to follow your blog, so I assume this is the university in Yorkshire? I am glad to read she got in. But those A Level results - all 'A's in four tough subjects! That is phenomenal and it's also something big and positive to focus on.

I am sorry to hear about your husband though. I read your blog entries and was reminded of a situation I was in with an ex-wife many years ago. It really isn't easy. And it's lonely.

grandmamargie said...

Rosiero, while I am so happy for Kay to have succeeded given the drinking of her father for all those years, I am so down in the mouth that he has succumbed to the bottle once again. I do hope that this was a "slip" and not failure. For all of your sakes. Pass my congratulations on to Kay. By the way, have you called his re-hab physicians? Just know that I am thinking of you and Kay and will pray for Greg.

Elaine Denning said...

I am so sorry. So very sorry.

I'm crying here...for lots of reasons..

You left a message on my old blog. My new one is:


Strawberry Jam Anne said...

My warmest congratulations to Kay on her success and long may it continue. She is a daughter to be proud of.

I feel so sorry for you where Greg is concerned - like everyone else I had hoped that he was keeping to the straight and narrow for all your sakes.

Thinking of you. A x

Mommy said...

I'm sorry that you and Kay have to go through this again. I'm tickled to death for Kay. I hope that Greg's falling off of the wagon doesn't put a damper on her spirits. She should be very proud of her accomplishments. Keeping you all in my prayers.

DD's Diary said...

Well done to Kay, you must be very proud. Just a thought, but do you think Greg does it when other things are going well, to get your attention back on him? The man needs beating over the head with a shoe - preferably a stiletto. Sorry!

Unknown said...

Brand new visitor.

Why are people consoling you? Why are you so intent on continuously inflicting pain on yourself and your daughter? Do you enjoy being a martyr and having people feel sorry for you?

This man is a chronic alcoholic. He will not, and I repeat WILL NOT, get sober until he hits HIS personal bottom. You are keeping him from hitting this bottom. You may be the one actually killing him one day at a time.

Give him an ultimatum. The next drop of booze that passes his lips is the last one you will tolerate. If he 'slips', he is out of the house. Gone, done, history, see ya...

I am an alcoholic, sober now 14 years. My bottom was pretty bad for me and my family, though not as bad as I have heard from others. My kids were 10 and 14 at the time. They, like your daughter, did nothing to warrant having a drunken father. By the grace of God, I was struck sober. My family is intact and I am once again, a human being.

Ask your personal God for help remaining firm. Give Greg the ultimatum and stick with it. If you love him, you will do this. If you wish to kill him and ruin any chance of a normal household for you and, most importantly, your daughter, continue to allow him to mentally, socially and spiritually abuse you by drinking and not seeking help.

At this point, your problem with alcohol is every bit as real and deadly as his problem. He is the only one actually drinking, but it is killing all THREE of you.

Try attending Al-Anon meetings and please listen for the similarities you hear from others, not the differences. Commit to the same meeting for at least three visits and then approach the person you feel seems most at peace with herself and her life. She gets it. Right now, you simply have no clue how to live life the way life for you should be lived.

I hope you get angry enough at this post and at me personally to do something about it; versus just complaining in a blog.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say "Oh bugger" because this is such a let down for you.

But then I want to say "bloody fantastic news", Kay is a genius and I am over the moon at her wonderful news. Best of luck for the summer exams - I'm sure she won't need it though.

CJ xx

www.retiredandcrazy.com said...

Rosiero, please take heed of what the one eyed golfer says.

Alcoholics are great survivers.
Greg is an adult and you should let him suffer the consequences of his own actions.

Why should he stop drinking when he knows that you are there to keep him safe? Take away the crutch and let him fall. It's called tough love.

And don't forget the three C's - you didn't cause it, you can't control it and you can't cure it.

And don't forget that the people who really, really know what you are going through are in Al-Anon. Go to them.

Adamity73 said...


At least he made it to bed. That's something, right?

Listen: as an alcoholic, I have been there, done that. In his mind, he is trying to be as "normal" as possible.

The thing is, it's just not possible. "Greg" is in the 9th Level of Alcoholic Hell. He'll never stop; he'll never come back.

Sorry for your loss.


Anonymous said...

Great news about Kay, so sorry to hear about everything else. Must be a terrible strain.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across your blog a few days ago, hope you don't mind me commenting.

I am a recovering alcoholic (aged 30) who has had relapse after relapse. My father was drinking heavily and secretly through my teenage years and my final exams for uni, there is a family history.

You have been incredibly strong and Greg is so lucky to have you, but I think enough is enough. I don't want to sound critical but I think you are now enabling him - you've tried everything, but he won't even go to AA?? PLUS, HE gets to sleep in the nice comfy double bed?? It should have been HIM banished to the spare room.

My two cents? He's had enough chances. He's abusive to you and your daughter, on top of his alcoholism. This also comes down to setting a good example for your daughter, which my mum never did. You need to get him to leave. This is not fair on you or Kay.

I may be an alcoholic and sure I have been verbally abusive with my family but I can count the times on one hand, and I was contrite after every time. His behaviour is about as acceptable as physical abuse - IT'S NOT.

Take care,

ADDY said...

Thank you all for your comments about Kay and Greg. Much appreciated as always, as it helps me no end.

@ One-Eyed Golfer - No am I not angry with you. You are obviously well in the know about these things having gone through it yourself and I am happy to read your comments. I am in fact already part of Al-Anon and have been going regularly since last November - in fact I have recently been asked to take on the role of Treasurer in our group!

If you read the blog from September onwards, you will see that Greg had come out of hospital and is recovering. This is the first blip since then and so far he is mainly doing well. I am only cross because he promised never to drink again and finding he was doing so was a shock.

Don't worry, I have given him an ultimatum and that will come to fruition in September when Kay leaves home for university. He has until then to clean up his act otherwise I vote with my feet. I don't feel a martyr, just someone who has enjoyed a long marriage (33 years) and is naturally loathe to waive that away lightly. Naturally I hope for a miracle. But if that doesn't happen, I shall make my decision in a few months' time and stick to it.

I am sorry if it sounds like I am complaining. I just write as things are and the writing in itself is a huge pressure release for me, otherwise I would not have been able to cope with the last few years. In addition, people's comments are always useful and help me when I am feeling a bit low.

Working Mum said...

So sorry; just hold on to that fantastic news for Kay, she is doing so well given her home circumstances. I'm sure everyone is rooting for her in her exams. (If she needs any help with Maths try www.mathsmusings.blogspot.com, my other blog - I'll gladly help her get an A)

Jos said...

There is an alternative to AA that some drinkers have found invaluable in turning their drinking around. I'm not sure if it's OK to publish the link, but here it is, and please remove it if it seems inappropriate.


It isn't a panacea by any means, but it is a place where Greg can expect non-judgemental support.

sexy said...