Saturday, March 12, 2005

Clarity and/or Insanity

I don't know if what I'm thinking is a moment of clarity or alcoholic insanity. The idea that's lodged in my head is to file papers for legal separation, without telling my wife beforehand, without even telling her I'm not moving to LA.

The first thing the court would do is send us to a court mediator to work out a "parenting plan." What I want to do is not argue my point of view, not push for what I want, make neither accusations nor excuses -- just present information honestly to the mediator, so the mediator can make a recommendation to the court for what's best for my son. The court orders what I and my wife are to do, and that's that.

I wouldn't have to argue with or try to negotiate with my wife any more. No more trying to navigate through the thicket of anticipating how she will react to what I say or do, and what she will do next. I wouldn't have to choose between exerting my self-will and submitting to her will. All I would have to do is follow the court's instructions.

There's something comfortingly Third-Step-ish about it.

I don't even want to tell my wife I'm not moving to LA. I have no idea what she may do if I tell her. I think she will be furious. She may come unglued. The potential consequence I fear most is that she may suddenly, without warning, pick up and move my son even farther away. If she does that before I file, I have no legal recourse at all.

On the "clarity" hand, she has a track record of suddenly and arbitrarily moving away with my son, and creating obstacles for me to have a steady, regular schedule with my son. From that perspective it seems reasonable to anticipate that she may respond to the news in the same way. If so, then I should think "strategically" about pre-empting this response by not discussing with her beforehand that I'm not moving. Just file the papers, without giving her advance warning. Fait accompli.

The downside, of course, is that it would be Pearl Harbor and we will be at war. Whatever slim hope I've had of reconciliation and restoration of my family will be further, greatly, diminished, if not extinguished. I'm thinking separation rather than divorce, simply to leave the door ajar in case of a miracle. I should anticipate my wife would up the ante to divorce. So be it.

On the "insanity" hand, this kind of suspiciousness and distrust, and trying to pre-emptively take control of a situation, are classic alcoholic thinking and behavior. So maybe what I should do is be forthright in telling her I'm not moving, and why I'm not, hoping that her better nature will prevail, she will accept my decision, and she will be willing to make a good faith effort to reach agreement directly with me. And, if my fears turn out to come true and, say, she takes my son with her across the country, I need to accept that as part of life on its own terms.

I've made up my mind not to move to LA. But I sure don't know what to do next.


At 3/13/2005 12:32:00 AM, Blogger K said...

I think your on the right track. While I continue praying for you and your family I think it would be best if you sought advise from your minister. While his opinion would be great, asking him for all the verses that pertain to your situation couldn't be beat. I can think of a few - if needed I could look them up and email them over (it wouldn't be any trouble either). I'm also thinking it would be best to be open and honest with your wife and have faith in Gods plan, however it turns out in the end. But I'm just trying to think how He would handle things and as you know I'm a bit new at this - so again, I think your minister would be a great person to get with.

Personally I think your son would gain so by spending more time with you. I wish (and will pray) his mother would see that.

God bless

At 3/13/2005 04:44:00 AM, Blogger Grace said...

I dont think the suspicion and distrust and trying to take control, its your right as a Father to have regular contact. Its a difficult one but what about a joint approach? I've done that actually. Tell her youre taking legal advice but explain its not personal. Given her past record you just want your rights in black and white. Tell her youre still prepared to be flexible as long as she is reasonable and all you want is whats best for your son (she cant argue that point). From what youve said you seemed like a more stabilizing influence for him even when you were drinking. If she takes advantage of you being there to lie in bed till noon then she must struggle to care for him when alone? Surely she must see that its in her best interests to get all the support youre willing to give? Maybe try to make it look like you are trying to help her out rather than get the upper hand? Which in my view you are. I've had 3 kids to bring up on my own and could not have managed without regular breaks and help from the father. Sorry I'm off on one, but it makes me so mad when people use children to get at people. Surely she can see that its her sons right to have regular contact with a doting Father.

At 3/13/2005 09:46:00 AM, Blogger recoveryroad said...

"On the "insanity" hand, this kind of suspiciousness and distrust, and trying to pre-emptively take control of a situation, are classic alcoholic thinking and behavior. So maybe what I should do is be forthright in telling her I'm not moving, and why I'm not," -
the cool thing is you reach your own conclusions and what er, only in my opinion, probably the healthiest conclusions (the wonder of blogging for clarifying our thoughts)..

...the only thing is, I wouldn't worry too much about HER opinion. Maybe prepare yourself for YOUR reaction and feelings if the mud and the fan meet?

Seems like you have a handle on what YOU need to do to stay sober. Let's face it; none of us are any use to anyone if we're on the lash (drink). Even if we're in the same city, but we're drunk we're worse than useless.

We're more help and more use even if we are miles away, but sober.

Good work, Phil!

...and ODAAT and all that.


At 3/13/2005 10:19:00 AM, Blogger K said...

Boy, I have to say You said that so well Grace. :)

At 3/14/2005 11:16:00 PM, Blogger Phil said...

Thanks, all -- I know you guys are right! I need to be honest and open, do the "next right thing," extend my hand positively, and trust God for the outcomes. In other words, stick with MY program, and not try to work a program for my WIFE.

A classic AA paradoxical choice: sometimes trying to take control of a situation is likely to be disastrous -- the only rational thing to do is pray for a miracle!

At 3/15/2005 08:41:00 PM, Anonymous LWS said...

Phil: Pray. Humbly ask God to work his will in your life. His will, not yours. Go to him with an open heart, and he will answer. God bless you, my prayers go out to you and your family.


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