Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Geographical Cures Part 2

We're moving.


This is the third time in a little over two years. This is the third new job for my husband in the same amount of time. With each new job there's been more money, a change of scenery, and as you can imagine lots of box-finding and packing and tears and "see-you-soon's" (mostly from me). This is another example of when the term "high functioning alcoholic" doesn't seem so functioning.

To someone on the outside (and even within his own family and friends) it looks like my husband is getting ahead, climbing up the ladder of success, earning more money and being a great provider.  All of these points, I suppose, are true.  But when my husband moves around from job to job, and town to town, it doesn't seem like he his chasing success - there are never comments of  "This is a really great decision for my career" or "The experience I'll gain there will prepare me for down the road."  It's not as if he is running towards something.  It feels more like he is running away.

"This place SUCKS! This place is the worst place in the whole FUCKING world!"  A common refrain during angry outbursts during the months in which my husband was again looking for another job, and something I still hear, even recently.  I heard similar things when we left our homestate, about how horrible it was there.  And then wouldn't you know, on that moving day, we woke up and my husband said "I can't believe I'm moving to god-forsaken (current state)."  I probably looked at him like a dog who just heard a high-pitched noise.  I just had absolutely no clue.

These aren't all the details, of course.  Before we moved here, we lost our house back home, a decision my husband made when the real-estate bubble had burst and we found ourselves underwater.  So part of the anger wasn't just at where we were.  It was at the banks, the government, everyone was against him.  He wanted out, and he immediately started looking for jobs out of state.  This was after we had already moved a few hours away from our house to another town, to what I'll call Job #1. Job #2 is here.  Job #3 is in another town a few hours from here.  If you can't keep track it's okay, I actually had to sit here and think about the math myself for a while.

When my husband got this new job - Job #3 - he didn't tell anyone for a while, maybe a month and a half.  He talked to his family here and there and made no mention of it.  This was probably for good reason - he was in the midst of stonewalling me.  Also, he told me in his own words why he hadn't told even his friends back home.

"I don't know.  Some people may not think it's such a good thing."

"Why not?"

"Because it's my second new job in as many years."  Part of me is grateful that he recognized that on his own.

I've posted before about the geographical cure.  Alcoholics Anonymous defines the geographical cure as "While still drinking, an effort to cure our alcoholism by getting a 'fresh start' in a new location."  In that strict sense I cannot be positive that these are my husband's motives, so when I say "geographical cure" I mean in the general, psychotherapeutic sense that he seems to be moving to avoid emotional or personal distress.

The problem for this approach is that at first, it kind of works.  Don't get me wrong - it hasn't worked yet for us, and my husband has been in our new city working for almost 2 months now - but when we have all of our things in our new place, and we're distracted with settling in, and exploring our new town (what little we do) and adjusting to new jobs, the excitement takes hold and we're left thinking well, this was a good move.  Then eventually that wears away, and when our routines are established and the dust clears, it's the same crap, different town.  "Wherever you go, there you are" they say in AA.  I've also heard it said this way: "I moved thinking things would get better, and for a while they did.  The problem was a couple weeks later, I always showed up."

Last week I posted about hope, and I must say that our impending move did give me some hope that things would get better.  "Maybe this new job will really fulfill him, maybe he'll be in a better place to consider getting sober."  Ah, those damn Maybes.  But see?  Even a part of me is falling victim to the same "logic"; though I do try to stay as completely conscious and honest with myself as possible, I am human and I have my own disease to battle, the disease that likes to avoid reality and wants to believe the alcoholic's logic.

Today I managed to pack one box.  Just one.  We need to be out by the end of next week, and we've moved most of our things already.  But for today I just packed one box.  There was always an excuse today of why I couldn't pack.  I had to walk the dog, I had to make myself lunch, I had to watch tv.  Part of this is denial.  I mean, why do I have to pack boxes anyway?  What am I, moving?  My program friends have decided that I'm not really moving, no - I'm just taking a trip, and I will visit my husband when necessary but always return here to where I still in reality actually truly reside.  Like, for realsies.

Tomorrow I will have to get my act together and pack many more boxes.  Boxes to be piled on top of boxes, next to and in front of other boxes.  Also on the list is to find more boxes.  Boxes.  Sorry, just had to say it one more time.

For now, goodnight, and I hope for you (as for myself) that you keep your head where your feet are, no matter where you are.


  1. I don't envy you moving again. I grew up moving at least once per year, although my father was not an alcoholic. I am married to one. He is the third one I've had. And I have had enough. Just needed to tell someone besides God right now. Thanks for blogging about your marriage to a functioning alcoholic.

  2. I am so sorry for what you are going through, and so honored that you would share your feelings here. To you and to everyone I am a stranger, an anonymous person out there on the internet. But on my end, this very-real person is feeling for you, and thanks you for your courage and honesty.