Cut the wire

Joey Garcia

My ex-wife and I got divorced because she’s addicted to drugs and dudes. I’ve been clean and sober 15 years. I never cheated. Now she claims I should let her stay at my house while she attends an outpatient drug treatment program. I would, but when we were married she always got the cops called to our house. She was the only one ever arrested. I won’t get back with her but when somebody asks for help I feel I should help. What do you think?

I think you have mad skill at complicating your life because that’s how you rolled in the past. Now you’re noticing tripwires. Avoid detonations by re-evaluating what “help” means. Your ex-wife’s request might not be helpful for either of you. Don’t recycle drama.

Twelve-step programs encourage us to return to serenity and sanity. Given the unresolved emotional baggage between you and your ex, can you cohabitate in peace? What impact would living with your ex have on your sobriety? Getting sober and staying sober is difficult enough without immersion in a relationship fraught with tension, accusations, expectations and violence. How does it help you to bring that back into your life? How would it help her?

If you haven’t already done so, talk to your sponsor. As for your ex-wife, cheer her steps toward sobriety. Tell her you’ll send good thoughts her way. But don’t try to save her. Allow her to trust her capacity for self-care. Let her find housing elsewhere. If you loan her money to rent a room during recovery, create a contract with a payment schedule. Ask her to sign the contract, but don’t expect the money returned. Loan only what you can afford to lose and only loan her money one time. It’s cool to offer a helping hand but don’t become her lifeline. That’s harmful to both of you.

Is it too much to ask that I get some respect? My husband and I both work full-time and have demanding careers with long hours. He knows I hate dirty clothes piled on top of a full hamper or an overflowing trash can. Or dishes piled in the sink because the dishwasher hasn’t been unloaded. He helps when asked, but does nothing on his own except mow the damn lawn. I get so pissed I don’t want to talk to him for the rest of the night. We’ve been married two years. Suggestions for dealing with this mess?

Yes, stop taking on so much work at work. That way when you return home you’ll have some inner resources left to handle the consequences of spending so much time on the job. Yes, you might need to chat with your man about the division of labor. But arriving home exhausted from giving so much of yourself to your job means there’s little left to nurture your home or your man. So if an overflowing trashcan bothers you, empty it when it’s close to full. If an overflowing hamper bothers you, buy another and position them side by side. Whoever fills theirs first without overflowing buys the other dinner. Have more fun. Don’t let feeling out of control at work make you a control freak at home. In other words, trying to change your husband: Expensive! Changing yourself: priceless.

Meditation of the week
“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be,” wrote May Sarton. Are you naked yet?

Our content is free, but not free to produce

If you value our local news, arts and entertainment coverage, become an SN&R supporter with a one-time or recurring donation. Help us keep our reporters at work, bringing you the stories that need to be told.


Stay Updated

For the latest local news, arts and entertainment, sign up for our newsletter.
We'll tell you the story behind the story.