Tuesday, July 17, 2012

An(other) open Letter to My Father, or, "Issues, I Have Issues..."

I'll try to keep these as simple, unemotional and objective as possible, but I have to get them off my chest.

Issue #1) I see M__ as feeling somehow "betrayed" by the events of father's day and furthermore putting the house up for sale as being at least in part a reaction to that.

And it's a huge OVER reaction. I have ONE relapse and she falls all to pieces and feels all betrayed. And she is not even kin to me. My only relationship with her is that she is your wife.

The only person I really felt that I'd betrayed was C_____, because she was the only one who put any real WORK into my sobriety, and when I wound up back in 4 East d'you know what her reaction was? She put her hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eye, and said, "You didn't betray me. You didn't betray anyone. This is a disease of relapse."

So, as far as I am concerned, M__ can either climb down off her high horse, or she can ride off into the sunset on it, and either way, I don't give a damn.

You, on the other hand, I give a damn about. I suppose you realize that if you sell the house and move out west we most likely will never see each other again. I know we haven't seen each other much this year, but in case you hadn't noticed, I've been having a rough year. 

And -- even though the money may have come from one or the other partner -- it's a marriage, and that's a partnership, and that means you have a say, too.

Issue #2) I've swallowed this one for years and years and I'm not going to swallow it any more: Who ever decided that YOU get to choose the Agenda for Topics of Conversation when we get together for lunch? For that matter, why do we have to have an Agenda at all? When the guys and I all get together, there is no agenda. We just all talk about whatever pops into our heads at the moment. If we do come to the table with something we want to say, we know we'll get a chance to say it sooner or latter. Why are you so frightened of silence? Silence gives someone else a chance to formulate a thought.

It is really, really off-putting to know that when you and I sit down for lunch, you are just going to yammer out straight, tick off the items on your agenda, and then when you're done, lunch is over -- goodbye.

That's not a relationship.

For my part, I live alone and it takes me a while to work up to a point -- if I even have a point to work up to. Sometimes it's nice to just sit with someone in silence.

Issue #3) I've been trying to be subtle about this by spelling out on several occasions that this is a **MENTAL HEALTH** outpatient program; likewise I've made several references to thoughts and even plans of suicide and those references just seem to have bounced off your head unnoticed. 

My official diagnosis at the hospital and IOP is: "Major depressive disorder, recurrent, severe, nonpsychotic. Alcohol abuse." Please note the word abuse, not addiction. So yes, we are dealing with alcohol consumption specifically in my treatment plan, but as a symptom,  in the context a larger illness, not as an addiction: "Douglas describes depression that he has felt all of his life. He has used alcohol to numb himself. He reports feeling loss of a sense of purpose and meaning in his life. Douglas reports that he has constant, intense thoughts of wanting to die.  . . . He recently had a plan to hang himself at home."

All of this is pretty heavy shit to lay on you, but hear it you must. Just holding it in and sweeping it under the rug isn't going to do me a damn bit of good. 

Knowing all this, if you still feel like lunch sometime, I still think a neutral location is best. You know my schedule!

-- Freder

1 comment:

  1. Without trying to diminish any of the very valid issues you put forth in this (but definitely noting the well-presented nature of what you wrote), and without trying to insinuate myself between you and your father, and recognizing that an "open letter" in this forum allows for public commentary such as this, I offer one question and one observation:

    QUESTION: When C___ said, "This is a disease of relapse," which "disease" was she talking about? Because if it's the alcoholism, then how does one reconcile the idea of it being a "disease" with your later point that it's a "symptom"?

    POINT: I had to smile when I read: "that's a partnership, and that means you have a say, too" -- because that's the same rationale I presented to you on more than once offasion during the Albion years. I renmember one specific instance before your Mom's health had precipitously declined: you said you'd like to sell the Albion spread and move you and your Mom to a smaller place that was closer to town -- easier to run errands, to deal with her doctor and hair appointments, etc. "Well, you have a say, too," I remember writing to you. "Tell her that's your plan and she can come along with you or stay in Albion by herself. She'll make the move." Your response to me was on the order of, "She'd never do that," and the matter was dropped. But those memories _did_ come rushing back when I read your, "that's a partnership, and that means you have a say, too" line ...

    Sorry if you feel this comment is wrong-headed, or out of place in this forum.


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