Monday, October 12, 2009

Why I run instead of drink

I have had several people who have been through a similar experience tell me that the evenings and nights are the worst part of the "getting through it" process.

They weren't kidding.

Back in the days when this was a home of tag team parenting, we would wrestle the kids through dinner and stories and the begging for just one more Max and Ruby episode and tooth brushing and prayers and lights off....and then we would high five each other and settle down to our choice of activity for the evening. We would talk about the kids and work, our mutual dislike of the Obama campaign and administration or whatever was recently on the news. We had our usual shows that we would watch and laugh together over. Or sometimes we would separate and do our own thing. But I always knew he was there as a back up to being bored or lonely and I enjoyed his presence in the house and next to me at night and I assumed that he saw me the same way. It's just not the same to lead the kids through the bedtime routine and turn out the light and face silence in the house. Silence in the bedroom where we watched our shows. In the kitchen where we would chat while cleaning up. In the basement where I would hear the clang and clash of weights when he would go downstairs to work out. Now the silence is so loud that it does nothing but shriek reminders at me that I am now a single parent, a scorned woman, an unwilling half of a failed marriage.

I have very little time to think much during the day. I spend time with the kids and answer all of Junior's insane questions thoughtfully. Play with Sis and reassure myself through her absolute delight to see me that, for a time at least, I am someones very favorite. I try to draw out Bubba who has taken to retreating to a corner to play with his toys and not talk to anyone instead of chattering and jumping off of all the available furniture like he used to. I clean like a mad woman, hoping that an orderly environment will help me feel more order in a world that is increasingly spinning out of my control. But once those lights go out, even my beloved books are not enough distraction to keep me from thinking about all the humiliation, sadness, anger and frustration that now pervades my world. I can't help but think about J and "her"and whether they are together and how he has tried to replace me in all respects. And how he doesn't seem to miss me or be bothered by any of this.

And it hurts so much I can barely breathe.

I have never had my heart broken before and this is all very new to me. I can see how alcoholics are made. Why people become drug addicts. And what drives people to become cutters. Take the pain away or put it elsewhere where you can control it. It's very tempting. But I decided to run instead. Now, I am not much of a runner. I have slight asthma issues when I run and have avoided it pretty much since college, but we have a handy treadmill in the basement and a stereo with loud speakers. I crank both of them up and go. Running until my legs are jelly and my chest hurts feels worlds better than the constant icy pricks of humiliation and anger. If I run long enough, it helps aid the sleeping pills that never quite work entirely in keeping me out and dreamless all night. In addition, it is progress I can control and it has been months since I felt like I had control over anything important. A side benefit is that I just might get my rockin' college legs back (and I thought I had fat knees then...)

In the last week, I have stepped it up a notch and created a CD of non-trigger running music (no Aerosmith unfortunately - we had free floor seats to one of their concerts five years ago...). That's serious, right? A CD dedicated just to running (I feel so hardcore :-) Saying the words along in my head as I run is a good way to keep any rogue images or thoughts at bay. My goal and my hope (along with a 10K next year!) is to get my heart and my body to a point where I am running to feel good instead of to stop feeling so so bad. Maybe I will even get to a point where I will not feel like I have to save my exercising for such a ridiculous time of the day.

I'd like my comfortable evenings back, please.


  1. I like it! It's funny, I started running again recently, and there is a certain solace in feeling your legs scream louder at you than you want to scream at something else.

    Keep it up, and you may inspire me to keep running. Who knows...maybe I will run a 10K with you someday...

  2. I love the Couch to 5K podcasts--and there shouldn't be any trigger music on that since it is all free electronica kind of rave music. (That last part of the sentence made me feel really, really old. Like I was talking about kids these days and their rap music.)

    And he will feel your absence. And it will all catch up. I know it.

  3. La Yen - Good call on the non-trigger music. Am I too old or too young to know what "rave music" is? Anyway, I'll give it a shot :-)

    Run, Jeff, run!!

  4. I'm glad you have turned to running instead of drinking!

    I think about you multiple times each day. Each time, I say a little prayer that you are finding strength and comfort. Sounds like you are finding ways to cope and being such a wonderful mom in the process. I could stand to follow your example and be a more attentive mother :)

  5. You are such an inspiration! Are you coming tonight? Chris will watch the kids, I would love it if you would come.

  6. Go Cyndi! I wish I could run, but excercise is a great way to get motivated and keep your mind off things. I think he is crazy, because you are such a wonderful person, and I can tell you care immensley about your kids and are a wonderful mother! That is his loss. You are strong and will pull through! I know it!

  7. I'm ready to start running again! I'll totally come run a 10k with you (once I stop waddling). :) I love road races. . . I used to run them with my Dad. Running is definitely therapeutic. Way to go!

  8. Cyndi, I am sooo want to run a 10K with you... I ran my firsts 10k last summer and it was really fun and felt good. Soooo let me know and I will find one we can do together.. You could easily be ready in less than 2 months for sure:) I am serious! :)

  9. Sounds good. All available Wren girls do a 10K this time next year :-) Now that I have put it in writing, I have to do it!

  10. Only something like "this" would get me motivated for a 2 block run, let alone a 10K.
    I have to seriously reconsider exercise after my aborted lap swim!!

    I applaud all your efforts to keep moving....forward.