Friday, April 15, 2016

Girlfriend Pride

When life fell apart, December 1999, I got the memo.  Every dime earned/invested, home, everything, toast.  Oh dear, cliche lived, 'wife is the last to know'.  Whatever.  Did the bible thing, yet 13 years later, still drinking, his car wrecks arrived.  This time, do whatever, leave.  After all I'd had a decade to sow my field.  As the Cherokee say, 'we reap in one decade what we sow in another.'
Two months after receiving the memo, above, sinking, badly, I got my deer-in-headlight self to a meeting Lois hosted at a local church, focused on helping friends/family of alcoholics.
A few meetings in, a woman walked thru the door, sat down, and I had instant girl crush.  That night she/I began.  A couple of years passed before I told her my instant girl crush.  She told me, walking into the room, she saw me & knew she had to know me, girl crush for her too.  A couple of years into the meetings a woman I hadn't met shared her story to the group, before she began, I knew, girl crush again, and that nite we started our friendship.  This 'girl crush' thing, about the best thing ever.
For a decade these 2 women, local Atlantans too, have been my rocks, we share everything.  Mostly, laughter.  Their alcoholic spouses flamed faster than mine, and they divorced before me.  When I asked one how she 'knew' it was time to get her divorce, she paused slightly, and said, "You know the first time you fall in love and you ask someone how-do-you-know-you're-in-love, well, you will know."  Best answer, ever.  I quit obsessing my choices, actions, the bible, and trusted, you-will-know.
All 3 of us worked hard, got ourselves out of the financial hole the alcoholic threw us in.  Each of us paid for our divorces, none of us got a dime of alimony, we paid bills owed by the alcoholic, yet there is something bigger we each did.  During divorce, each of us bought our own home.  Help from no one.  Family, nor whining in court for the alcoholic to pony up, for a dime.  Freeing the anchor & its chain, leaving them behind, our boats sailed, under our own steam.  No bitterness in this, instead, a rich journey.  I would marry my alcoholic again, just to get so many lessons learned, and having my girlfriends.  Hilarious story, yes?  G*d gave my wasband alcoholism to get me where I am, happy with my life.
Something unexpected happened to each of us, after divorce, after buying our homes, without planning, something not imagined.  Who knew our stories would get better?  Within a year of each other, we moved from Atlanta.

First girl crush bought a home off the coast of Georgia on a barrier island.  Visited her last month for the first time.  Ironically, she mentioned having let G*d know she was ready to have a man in her life, to share the daily mundane of living.  G*d provided, her father bought a boat, and is now living at a pier near her.  G*d has a huge sense of humor.

My other girlfriend bought a home on the Gulf coast.

I live between my girlfriends, at a large lake, on a small historic farm.

Miss Gulf Coast called the other day, I was in the grocery store, we caught up a bit.  I have not been to her new home yet.  She bought the land, chose the blue prints, hired the general contractor, and built her home herself.  Have seen pics along the way.  Don't know when but I will be in her home before summer's end.

All pics from The Style Saloniste.

These women are my team, my family.  We did it.  Without trying.  It has been, always, one-day-at-a-time.  Everyday with laughter.  It's odd, in my new farm house, ca. 1900, it feels like living someone else's life.  Miss Barrier Island said the same thing.  We are floating.  Alas, 'father' is literally floating at the pier.  We didn't see that coming.  Beloved thinks he's the coolest man EVER.
Jeff, at one of Lois's meetings, said, "I can't think myself into better actions, but I can take actions to make my life better."
Garden & Be Well,  XO T
Since it's tax day a bit of tax advice if you're married to an alcoholic flaming out.  Do not sign a joint return.  You will be liable for everything, past/present, if alcoholic walks away.  IRS can legally come after you, and will, for all their unpaid taxes and penalties.  When I got my memo I never signed another joint return.  Would not have been able to buy my home, and would have lost all my savings, again, if I had.
Credit card experience immediately after the memo.  Blessedly I had no credit cards with my alcoholic spouse.  However, my name was on one of his maxed cards, but I was not an 'obligor'.  Saved money for a year to hire an attorney.  I had designed her garden years ago, and liked her demeanor.  It took months to get my name off the card.  She called monthly with updates.  My fear grew at the expense.  But I had to get off that card.  Finally, I was legally off.  If I had not done this, I could not have bought my home, debt on that card, entirely his, would have wiped me out.  Back to my attorney.  Told her, when she called of her winning news, to send the invoice.  Without hesitation she said, "I'm not charging you anything, this was a pleasure for me."  Then her story poured out.  When I designed her garden, she had just divorced her alcoholic spouse.  Much later, she remarried and moved out-of-state.  I designed that garden too.  Alas, last year, her beloved husband died.....
Little did I know the sisterhood of help that would cleave to me, in great love, and joy, consistently arriving, consistently.
When a girlfriend, a couple of years ago, had alcoholic spouse issues, I was able to offer her a home to live in, her own space, no charge.  She didn't take the offer, but it felt awesome to offer.  Years before this, I had a girlfriend offer me a home to live in, no rent.  I know what that offer feels like on the receiving end.
Here I am, with Beloved, in our new home.  We've, mostly Beloved, been working the back acres, and finally this summer, I can begin my acre, nearest the house.  I can begin my acre, nearest the house.  I'm gardening.


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

God's continued blessings on you.


margohmy said...

Thanks for sharing. I, too, started over after life with an alcoholic. Yes, it was rough; but, God has provided along the way. Today, when others my age are retiring, I'm not yet able to...but, when the time is right, He will make a way. Oh, and I, too, am enjoying MY is joyful. Thanks again for sharing...a New Me.

Vickie H. said...

Beautiful story, for all! Makes me smile, at God's grace......

SALLY said...

I admire your openness in an attempt to help others. How wonderful for you to have found such steadfast friends as well as to let God help you in your path to wholeness.

Laurin Lindsey said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I have read your blog for years now. I have been there thinking there was a light at the end of the tunnel only to find it was an on coming train, sadly I am a slow learner so it happened twice. I have a type it seems. It was through the help and support of amazing girl friends that I was able to get back on my feet the second time. And at 52 I bought my house from my ex, and supported myself. Then things got even better, when I was ready and self sufficient, I met dessert and we started a landscape design company, that was 7 years ago. At 61 I am my own boss and am happier than ever.You are right it is worth learning the lessons. God and girlfriends are precious miracles in this journey we call life! Blessings to you Tara : )

Hartwood Roses said...

I hung on every one of your words. A story of a journey, with happiness at the end for all. Love to you, Tara dear.