Adventure …

I have just booked a week in January to go to Nepal and visit son1.

I am SUPER excited and really really looking forward to it! A very kind friend of the family has volunteered to come and mind the home /children/dog whilst I am away…

Just me, going on an adventure ….

For the first time in absolutely AGES i feel like I have something to really look forward to, and travelling alone is surprisingly cheap !


A new perspective

Last night I spent the evening with my closest friend K. She has been there through the last 10+ years and offered no judgemental support and reflection for me. Ironically I was introduced to K and her husband J by my ex husband, and they have become my staunchest and kindest supporters despite my marriage breakdown.

K has always been perceptive, and last night she presented to me an “outsiders view” … of me and my situation. She picked the right time to do this. I’m definitely feeling more positive at the moment- I feel that I’m finally moving on and putting the past behind me.

Right now I don’t look at my last relationship as I was doing. I don’t feel the same. I was feeling that it would be impossible for me to care for anyone else as I had cared for him. That I literally could not conceive of loving someone else as I once loved him.

This feeling has been hard to shake off, and has taken me back again and again, to see if anything had changed. Hoping I guess that something would have shifted in his thinking so that we could, I could, try again. It didn’t happen, and I seem to have at last been able to accept this. The overwhelming problems are just not surmountable , and actually I’m not even sure I would WANT to overcome them.

Simultaneously the single life suddenly seems to have more possibilities … the inertia and ennui that has dogged me for months seems to be lifting, I can feel energy coming back; energy and purpose …

so, yesterday K outlined to me how an outsider might look at me. She pointed out that I have a nice house and comfortable home, that I have earned. That it has been my industry that has created this, with no financial support from any other person. She reminded me that I am not just a doctor, but one of a small number of partners running a large successful practice with more than 100 employees and 26,000 patients. That I look well, am resourceful and determined; that I am kind, loyal and honest.. in short she was trying to get me to see that an outsider could see me as ‘a catch’… that I should not sell myself short. That I should stand up and be proud of what I have achieved ….and that I am worth much much more than being put down by some bloke.

I think she has tried to say this to me before, but I’ve not been able to hear and believe it.

Yesterday I heard it, and whilst I Wouldn’t say I 100% believed It… as in “felt” it, I can see that technically she is correct, and perhaps I should raise my expectations …

This is a work in progress . Slow going. And I’m in no hurry to meet anyone at all right now … but …. food for thought

Giving up

A year ago, after the breakdown of my relationship I decided to get a second dog. As there were longer periods with no one at home, I thought it would be nice for Lola, our collie, to have a companion. Lola had been, and remains, a delight for our family ; and easy friendly placid dog who is loyal, affectionate and sensitive to Human mood. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has wept into her neck and been comforted by her obvious concern. 

I thought a new puppy would give us all hope and cheer, as well as being a friend for Lola. So I contacted Lola’s breeder and arranged to see her latest litter of puppies. Acting on advice we decided to get a dog puppy this time, and chose a Grey collie. 

It wasn’t easy right from the start. Slower to train than Lola, the puppy chewed relentlessly , he was anxious at socialisation classes, became distressed when the TV was on, peed in corners long after he knew where the garden was. By the time he was 4 months old he had become aggressive around food,growling and snapping when anyone went near. He hated being brushed, nipping and twisting away. 

We took him to the Vet who could not find a physical reason for his anxiety, and have me the name of a behaviourist who came to the home and worked with us. This didn’t really help to be honest and Jasper started Being aggressive to other dogs when out walking. At about this time the dog walker said he could no longer safely walk Jasper, due to his aggressive behaviour with the other dogs. 

I researched a residential training programme, and after talking with them, sent Jasper (at great expense ) away for 6 weeks retraining.

He came back in the middle of August transformed.

But it didn’t last. 

Last week my current dog walker,who now takes only my dogs out, told me Jasper had got into two fights with other dogs. He did similar when son3 took him to the local park with a friend. He’s resource guarding again and snapped at me yesterday when I went to put the refilled water bowl down. 

I realised how very stressful all this is for me, and that though I love him,we all love him, we are not the right Home for him. He needs much more activity and interaction than we can provide : and so with a heavy heart I have decided to re home him. The breeder has agreed to take him back, so I know he will be ok. 

I feel guilty, relieved and sad. He is such a loyal dog I know he will miss us, and we will miss him .. I think it is the right thing to do , but it’s hard , 


Being really, really honest in intimate relationships has always been hard for me. Not that I lie in day to day interactions, or about what I DO, but rather I suppress what I really feel and have often said something is ‘fine’ when it is really NOT ‘fine’ with me at all.

And then I’d have a drink to make myself feel better. To suppress my dissonant feelings under the surface

Lie’s by omission really, lies about how I ‘feel’, probably because I fear conflict, or I fear that what I feel or think is not valid or important. Sometimes I think I stuff down my unacceptable emotions of anger, resentment or anxiety because I don’t want to appear flawed. There is also an element of ‘I can manage this’ and holding all the problems generated by someone else’s behaviour, rather than putting the responsibility back where it belongs. In the mix is, I think, a fear that what I want will be ignored by those closest to me anyway, so why bother to say it? Why make a big deal out of what I think is important when it will make someone else unhappy / stressed/ uncomfortable? And in turn, their ignoring what I have articulated as important, will make me angry.

I have lived like this all my life. My earliest role models for relationships were exactly like this. My mother asking for something, and my father doing and giving nothing. And I have modelled this in every (intimate) relationship I have ever had.

I never saw my parents argue respectfully about something. I never saw them disagree but my father shift himself to change because it would ease pressure on my mother or reduce her workload. I never saw a ‘partnership’ working. Add to that feeling constantly critisised and never good enough by my primary role model, and no wonder I have / had a very warped sense of what ‘relationships’ are about.

When I say that I have a problem with ‘trust’ this is what I mean. Its very hard (in fact it’s been impossible) for me to trust another person with my true feelings, to believe that that person could will love me however flawed and imperfect I am. However unacceptable my emotion or reaction. somewhere inside I feel that any affection that people have for me is conditional, Conditional on my helping them, behaving well, meeting their expectations, not having unacceptable feelings or responses. Conditional on my respecting their wishes and feelings, conditional on ‘being GOOD’

I think this relates back to the whole self esteem thing. If you feel fundamentally unlovable then it’s a natural extension to try and present a front that will be acceptable and lovable. When taken too far – as I have done, it becomes a huge toxic mess where the ‘real feelings’ are suppressed beneath a veneer of ‘niceness’ whilst underneath, with no space to escape, the real feelings of being taken advantage of, or resentment, or anger and frustration seethe away.

This is one of the areas where therapy helps. It is a small space in a hectic world where I CAN just be me, where I don’t feel judged or critisised, where I can voice ‘unacceptable’ feelings and thoughts and have then accepted as mine. Through this process I hope I can learn that my feelings are just what they are, that they are neither right nor wrong , but just part of me. Through it I hope I can learn that I am no more and no less flawed than anyone else, and that what I feel and want and need has as much validity as what anyone else feels or wants or needs. I hope that I will learn (have learned? am learning?) is that suppression of my own wishes does not lead to calmer waters, but rather to a specific kind of hell for me, where my true self is ignored, overlooked and subjugated to the stronger will of others. That in this place, where I DON’T COUNT, there can be no happiness or peace for me, because I’m not even asking for what I want.

And that doesn’t work long term. It just doesn’t. Because how ever much I try to deny what I want, I still want it. However much I tell myself that ‘It doesnt matter’, It really does. And the wants don’t go away, they just fester and burrow through relationships like woodworm, leaving a crumbling damaged facade that supports nothing.

It was not wrong to want a husband who did not take drugs. It was not wrong to want a partner who could support himself. These things are ok to want, they are ok to need and they are even ok to insist upon. What would have happened had I insisted on them from the start ?

One of the barriers to real intimacy is honesty, amongst other things this means the willingness and capacity to be truly honest about what you want / need from a partner. To be accepted for who you really are, someone has to know who you really are, and in order for that to happen you (I) would have to SAY it (as no-one is a mindreader).

There are a thousand more thoughts I have about this right now. It feels like a very important thought process that I’m just grasping the edges of… a start to rebuilding from the bottom up. If I could believe that I have a right to think / feel as I actually DO… then I think everything could be changed …


I had a very illuminating therapy session last night.

Illuminating in a number of ways. First because I realised I was expecting to be ‘told off’ for seeing my ExP. Told off and critisised, and possibly end up feeling that I had let Angela (my counsellor) down. That feeling, that I had ‘let her down’ comes from having spent the last 14 months working hard with me, only for me to go and sabotage the efforts by revisiting the very person who cause so much pain and heartache.

The expectation that I would be critisised, because I had dome something ‘wrong’ and ‘stupid’ comes straight from my childhood- and that attitude from my mother persists in the way she treats me to the present day.

Of course that’s not what happened, and the acceptance from Angela that I am an autonomous person, and not an idiot, that there are many nuances to any story gave me the courage to examine my motivations in more detail.

We looked at my feelings about the early days of the relationship, and my conviction that I had met ‘the’ person; and what that meant, how his strength and conviction provided me with the courage to stick to my beliefs and move forward from my marriage. How my extreme fragility at that time(even though I wasn’t fully aware of it) attracted me to his emotional support We talked about how my lack of self confidence and need to ‘rescue’ set me up to be the financial ‘giver’ and how that met some needs in me. The very low self esteem I have written about before meant that, in some ways, by providing something that he indisputably ‘needed’ (money) made me feel more secure, in a way I might not have with someone more independent.

We talked about co-dependency / interdependency as a framework for looking at why this relationship met so many of my needs as well as his.  Co-dependency is a word used to describe an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. Co-dependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior. Among the core characteristics of codependency, the most common theme is an excessive reliance on other people for approval and a sense of identity. This is me exactly. Codependency does not refer to all caring behavior or feelings, but only those that are excessive to an unhealthy degree. One of the distinctions is that healthy empathy and care-giving is motivated by conscious choice; whereas for codependents, their actions are compulsive, and they usually aren’t able to weigh in the consequences of them or their own needs that they’re sacrificing. Some codependents often find themselves in relationships where their primary role is that of rescuer, supporter, and confidante. These helper types are often dependent on the other person’s poor functioning to satisfy their own emotional needs. I think I was, to some extent, dependent on his lack of income, to make myself feel secure: why would he be with me otherwise?

Alongside that come a fear of intimacy / trust issues on both sides. I don’t mean trust as in infidelity, but deep trust, that you partner will care for you and support you whatever – and we both came with baggage; his from a broken marriage which was very damaging, and me from my past and my marriage to a drug addict.

I have also recognised how very, very much I am afraid of being ‘alone’ . No on a day to day basis, on the contrary, a ‘day to myself’ is a luxury I enjoy at the moment – but in the long term, being without a partner to do stuff with, to go on holiday with, to build a future with. Angela raised this with me ages ago, and because ‘day to day’ I am happy alone, I couldn’t see that I HATE the idea of being alone for ever. This is undoubtedly a pull back to the familiar being in a ‘relationship’ scenario.

Also featuring in there somehow, is the complete lack of ‘drama’ in my life as it is now. Nothing bad, but nothing very good either. Its all a bit humdrum. No drinking removes the highs (and lows) from a drunken evening, Its hard for me to relax in social situations without alcohol, so although I can do it, I don’t enjoy social gatherings as much as I once did. For someone who has lived the majority of the last 30 years with some drama of another – some extremes of emotion featuring quite highly in the picture of my life, the humdrum / lack of anything to get excited about, is hard; I feel ’empty’ with no way of crawling out of the shade into the sunlight.

Talking about this stuff, in a non judgmental way was so helpful. I don’t have any answers yet, but I do at least have a framework of thoughts and behaviours to look at. The future is still unknown and the issues haven’t gone away, but perhaps I am understanding the drivers behind my feelings rather better….



Re visiting

Yesterday I met my exPartner for a coffee.

Its been 14 months since we separated, and at my instigation we have had no contact at all since June this year. I had expected this to ‘help’ me get over it / him. But it hasn’t. I dont know why, given all that has happened, all I have written, all the difficult, stressful and horrible things that the relationship brought with it, I have not been able to shake off the feeling that he was the person I am supposed to be with.

Despite ‘seeing’ so much that was wrong, despite being so angry with him, despite my despair at his non-relationship with son#1, I have thought about him so often, and have really struggled to accept that its over.

Last week I sent him an email. I dont know what I hoped to achieve, I just got so tired of turning the whole thing over and over in my head – maybe I was looking for answers. He is of course the only person who can give me any answers.

Musing over the proposed meeting with my best friend K, she asked me what I wanted out of it, and how likely I was to get ‘that’; what would the best outcome be? And the worst? The worst possible outcome was easy – If I found out he was blissfully happy with someone else – I have had recurring dreams about this, and woken up anxious and unhappy. The best outcome ? I couldn’t say.

So we met yesterday morning. Just sitting with him was like ‘peace’; an end to the relentless self questioning, a sense of belonging and rightness. I don’t understand it, but this is an honest blog, and that just how it was. I felt immediately less alone, and less stressed.

And we talked. And talked, and talked. Calmly, about most of the difficult subjects. I feel that he understood my issues, and my anger and frustration. I feel that he accepted why I acted as I did. I dont think he agreed with it. but at least understood how desperate I felt. I, in turn, listened and perhaps heard more of his perspective than I have before.

We talked for the best part of 3 hours.

What next ? I don’t know. I truly don’t know. Maybe there IS a way. Maybe there is an opportunity to build something new. Not as it was, but with a foundation that, despite all the hurt and pain and heartache, it seems we can neither of us move on without the other.

And, right now, I feel better. I have an appetite for the first time in months, I slept well last night. I have some small glimmer of optimism back, some small spark that has been missing for months…



Self esteem

The last two or three weeks have been a period of intense reflection. I have been almost hermit like – dragging myself out to work and to walk the dogs , but doing nothing else. Ignoring the phone, unable to face anyone. I’m not sleeping well with both inability to get off to sleep, and repetitive waking through the night. I just feel sad. Not especially stressed, nothing bad has happened- in fact I got a tax rebate this week – not a fortune but enough to buy a new dishwasher (the old one is terminally ill and worse than useless). 

And out of this period of self reflection? 

The realisation that

  • My self esteem is nil. It always has been with a few notable periods of exception – largely due to someone else boosting my sense of self worth.
  • That this is at the bottom of everything. 
  • That building this will need to be an active process- and not a passive one.

I don’t know if I have the energy. 

What do you feel you have lost?

What do you feel you have lost? Are those things solely because you don’t drink? If you were to drink tomorrow would they return? Do you still want them?

These questions were put to me by a tremendously kind and wise blogger, as a comment on my last post. I have been ‘mulling them over’ since I read them 72 hours ago. It has been enlightening, positive and helpful to reframe my thoughts in the light of these questions.

What do you feel you have lost ?

Most obviously I lost my relationship, and given the intensity of the conviction I felt that he was the ‘right person’, thats been hard. If I’m honest it still IS hard to reconcile that complete certainty, intense connection & physical response to him, with the knowledge that he did not care for me in a way that I understand as being acceptable. That he did not have my back, did not see us as a couple and a Unit, would not put our relationship and its success, or my needs anywhere high up on his list of priorities. That loss, as much as the physical presence has been bitter and hard to accept.

Mostly it’s hard to accept because I feel like I have lost all faith in my own judgement. That if I could be so wrong about this, about this person, then what I feel / think / believe has no / little basis in reality. I am not a good judge of character, I can’t my choose friends well, and that’s hard to accept because it means it would be very hard to trust myself or my feelings again. The alternative, that he WAS the right person, but my expectations are unrealistic and over demanding – thus meaning no relationship with anyone could ever be successful or make me happy, is scarcely any better.

Either way, I think it’s truthful to say that I’m having a hard time adjusting to being alone. Not so much day to day – I’m really busy most days, and barely have time for myself, but in the bigger picture. I met my ex husband in 2000, and had been pretty much part of a couple since then. The prospect of not being able to trust anyone enough (or myself enough) to have another relationship in the future is pretty depressing.

I also feel / felt I had lost ‘myself’. The person I am familiar with. The impulsive, fairly sociable, entertaining, drinking person who I have grown up with. In her place is a serious, introverted, anxious person who struggles at times with social interaction and feels boring and limited by her sobriety. Perhaps it would be more truthful to say that I miss the excuse that drinking gave me to ‘avoid’ dealing with ‘stuff’. Now there are no excuses and no hiding. I, in common with a lot of people, think I have perceived extrovertness as a desirable characteristic, and now I’m left with my natural introversion … I’m not yet confident enough to feel comfortable with this, let alone celebrate it.

Are these things solely because  you don’t drink ?

The simple answer to this is yes. Being sober gave me the clarity to really see how unhappy I was in my relationship and to realise that I could not carry on like that. I tried to effect change, but my ex-partner was unwilling / unable to make changes that would have enabled our relationship to continue. That’s a short form. In a longer explanation I would say that being sober forced me to see with clarity the financial abuse of me, and the emotional abuse of the children and I. And that this was intolerable to me. And that once you have ‘seen’, you cannot UNsee… so that even if I started drinking again today I could not UN see what I have, could not regain the respect that I have lost, could not forgive what I feel is unforgivable. Therefore, whatever I do now, I’ve lost something that was, at least at one time, incredibly precious to me.

As to myself. The ‘me’ I am now, The ‘Lily-I-have-developed-into’, what of her. I don’t DISlike her, I don’t understand her. I dont know what makes her tick, I don’t know how to fed her and nourish her. I dont know how to trust her, to believe in her, to accept her for what she is. And yes, this is because at the age of 51 I gave up drinking which was a huge part of the identity both of the “Lily I was” and the ” Lily-that-everyone-else-know”.

If you were to drink tomorrow would they return?

No, they would not, could not. Because I cannot Unknow what I now do, cannot Un see what I now see, cannot trust myself (drunk or sober) to make good decisions in respect of my personal life. I cannot turn back the clock and continue as if the last 571 days have never happened, as though this blog never existed ,as though I have never been to therapy and looked / reflected on so many things. I cannot go back, cannot erase the decisions I made, cannot ‘remake’ myself as I was in March 2016 (even if I wanted to) ….

Do you still want them?

And this is where it gets interesting because logically, with my head … NO I most certainly dont. Was I happy, back in March 2016? No, I was not. I was absolutely wretched: miserable, trapped, frustrated and hopeless. I desperately wanted to stop drinking but couldn’t imagine that I could actually do that, I was living with a man who had no respect for me, in a relationship that was crippling me financially, alienating my children, friends and family. I was desperately lonely, worried about my health and so, so anxious that disaster was round the corner. How could I WANT that ? and how could I regret its loss? I dont know, and in reality I don’t think I do. I think it’s just that there is nothing to take its place … nothing exciting and fulfilling, nothing ‘new’.

Do I want to be that impulsive, extroverted, socially (more) confident person that I previously projected to the world? – that’s harder, because yes in some ways I do. She could usually find something ‘new’ (read entanglements with men of one form or another) or superficially exciting (read reckless spending) to occupy her brain with….

In my heart, do I want these things ? I don’t know. Maybe I want the impossible, for the past never to have happened, to turn back the clock and change the decisions I made. maybe I just need to learn to live with the regrets that weigh heavy on my soul.

I’ve become very conscious that our time on this earth is limited, and that ill health, accidents, disaster can befall anyone, at any time. I want to make the most of my time, my opportunities, but I feel stifled and constrained… In reality that’s just life for most of us… we have responsibilities, have to work, have limited resources…

Maybe what I need is a forward plan, something to work towards – something that will make me happy … something achievable without too much effort, something positive….

suggestions on  a postcard please x

Ear Worm

You know when you hear something and the melody goes round and round your head, you just can’t stop hearing it? It has the most perfect descriptive name “ear worm” – sounds ugly, because it can be REALLY annoying!

My father was a pianist. A very talented musician with perfect pitch and the ability to play anything on the piano, often if you hummed one line of a melody he could pick it up, add the bass notes and recreate the original song. Sadly I didn’t inherit any part of this gift, except perhaps a small ability to hear when things are out of tune .. ! As a classical musician my father had a deep intolerance for the noise he perceived “pop” music to be, and my early purchases of David Bowie and Pink Floyd vinyl had to be played on the family record player only when he was out. Perhaps due to this influence I retained a preference for music that has a pleasing (to me) melody, and have never really enjoyed “noisy” rock or punk music. As a young woman, in the late 70’s and 80’s I fell in love with ABBA and the melodious catchy pop tunes have been part of the backdrop to my life ever since. I have dragged the kids to Bjorn Again (a great tribute band) where they gawped and exclaimed in astonishment that I knew ALL the words to EVERY song, and the ABBA tribute museum in Stockholm is on my bucket list.

I seriously wish I could play the piano, but I just can’t make my hands act independently of one another – and I have tried … ! When son#3 expressed a wish to play piano, and within a week could make his left and right hands do different things, over the keyboard, at the same time, I felt a stab of admiration, envy and awe!

There is a point to this I promise.

Yesterday, Benny Andersson, the composer, producer, keyboardist and vocalist behind the ABBA songs released a piano album. This man is a musical genius, and I have huge respect for his gift. In listening to the promo tracks for his new album, I heard his new version of “Thank you for the music”, which has become the eponymous ear 🐛… I bought the album, it all brilliant, but this track is going round and round my head,just because of an addition of an extra couple of notes to the original version…

Benny has been teetotal since 2001 because he recognised that alcohol was “causing problems” and that he “might lose everything” if he didn’t stop.

I didn’t know this till yesterday. It feels very important to me.

I have been, not struggling exactly, but internally mulling over the decision to be dry. Please don’t all groan at once. It’s not the day to day sobriety that’s a problem now, I honestly don’t think about drinking day to day,I have wine in the house for visitors, it doesn’t bother me people drinking, I never think that I might open it … no it’s not the day to day that’s the problem; it’s the loss of my identity that I’m wrestling with.

I have gained a lot from being sober, most notably peace of mind that nothing awful is going to happen, but I have also lost a lot. I probably thought everything would be perfect once I got to this point, 568 days complete, for anyone who’s interested. Of course it’s not and I’m having difficulty in holding together the gains and the losses: I mean holding In tension the positive and negative outcomes of the decision not to drink….

Benny got sober in 2001. I think he was 54 at that time. He didn’t discuss it in public until 2011 (and I can find no reference in press reports before this that even allude to him having an alcohol or drug problem) I need to think about what this means to me: beyond the obvious, that a man who had enjoyed enormous success, huge wealth and creative genius was still unable to moderate. Something about having been able to achieve that, despite drinking, but still choosing to stop – as a “high functioning alcoholic” my quotes. That having been a drinker doesn’t negate what he achieved, doesn’t make it, or him, worthless.

I know there is something in this for me. A message / point. If I’m being fanciful I could think I was meant to know this at this particular time … for now I have indulged the ear worm, bought the album and played the track many times, singing along whilst there is no one here but the dogs – who at least don’t howl when I sing 🎶!


I always felt that I should be part of a family of 5. I don’t know why, but when my second son was born I didn’t feel that the family was quite complete … in contrast when I brought son #3 home, it felt whole, as though this was ‘right’. Subconsciously I realise I still think of us as a family of 5, although we have not been so for some time. I often find myself cooking for 5, buying food as though there were 5 people here… Now of course we are only 3 at home; and this is taking some adjustment.

Suddenly I have a lot of space. The absence of son#1 leaves a big physical hole, as well as a release of a lot of stress. Hard though it is to admit, I was so ready for him to GO AWAY. I was very, very tired of an adult child doing nothing productive, making mess and being generally unhelpful. With him gone, I realise exactly how much energy and anxiety he was creating for me. Some part of wanting him to go , must I think, be ‘normal’ – there comes a time when our offspring need to leave home and set up on their own… this is after all the whole point: from the moment the umbilical cord is cut our children begin to grow away from us until they can take their place as functioning adults in society.

He’s in touch, pretty much every day I get a message or a snapchat – but the immediacy of him, the worry of his day to day ‘management’ is no longer mine.

So there are three of us at home now, and the dogs.

Son#2 is deep in a teenage angst phase, strumming his bass guitar endlessly, headphones permanently in his ears, ready to argue every single point – reluctant to engage with the essential programme of study this academic year. My heart sinks at the thought of another unmotivated, immature young man sitting around the house because he WONT make an effort to study. Sigh.

There is more space to pay attention to him. This should be a positive. Trouble is he doesn’t want more attention, he wants to be left alone to do the bare minimum, and Mum with her ‘ridiculous expectations’ and ‘pressure’ is an unwelcome intrusion into a world of band practice, anxiety, despair and teenage hormones.

Dad seems slightly more palatable to him, but only slightly. More acceptable because he puts less pressure I think; and less because son2 is looking with a critical eye on his achievements as a father, his efforts … and is angry as he finds his father wanting .

Son #3, dragged into a meeting with his form tutor at the beginning of term, seems to have taken seriously the comments on last years end of term report. He at least remains sunny and uncomplicated. He has a focus, a career in mind and he knows it will take work and commitment to get there.

And I? I’m struggling emotionally watching J decline. No more of that as its not my story, but its hard. Nothing like as bad as it is for K, but painful anyway. I’m wondering what my life will look like in 5 years? in 10? I don’t have a Plan any longer. I don’t know where I want to be, to live, how I want to work / not work, all my adult life I’ve had a plan, something to work towards. Now I dont. Now Im not a family of 5, and I wont be again.

It sounds more gloomy than I feel. I think im just adjusting. Trying to work out where my boundary lines are – with everyone. Son1 wanting $1000 to go to Everest base camp next week (nope) ; Son2 wanting money for  a trip to town on a school night (nope) ; son3 wanting yet more video games (nope)  …. Just adjusting. I’ve shifted to not looking very far ahead at the moment – a week or two at a time. Focussing on small goals, trying to re establish some routine….

Very sober. And both very glad to be, and very very bored of it. That makes no sense, but its how I feel. I want some escape from humdrum. I want a purpose. A goal. Or escape so that the lack of purpose doesnt really matter any longer …