conversations with gk

What follows: common themes and patterns in my conversations with GK, especially in relation to my drinking. Some of GK's elaboration is missing, as is some of mine, but in the overall sense, the proportions of how much talking each person does are probably accurate. What is definitely accurate is that no solution or resolution is ever achieved.

GK: Do you think we should talk?

Xesce: It's probably not a good idea to talk, because we have said it all before, talking will depress and upset us both, we need new input and without that, we should avoid talking.

GK: Maybe we should talk anyway.

Xesce: I realize it's been a while, and that you are putting in effort to be understanding, and I appreciate it, but I think what will happen is what always happens, and in the end I will end up drunk later tonight. So maybe this is one of those nights where we should just cut to the chase and I say 'GK, could you please pick up a case of wine?'

GK: Even if that is what happens, maybe we should talk.

Xesce: The thing is that I can't see anywhere to go. I have tried as hard as I could to 'take responsibility', to solve the problems, to just get myself out of here so that you could have a chance at a life. It's not that I'm unaware this situation is not good, it's that I have tried to change it and can't get very far.

Xesce: I am not sure if I can quit drinking. That is not the primary problem, but even if drinking makes it harder for me to move out, I am still not sure if I can do it. I know what I'm like and I can't honestly say I believe I will 'have a life' if I leave. Maybe on my own I would at least do my own shopping and buy my own wine. But even if I say to you that there are no good solutions, I can try to say that the best thing might be to try to get me a place in Melbourne, it still requires a certain kind of help that I am not sure you can give. I can mention that suggestion, but it doesn't mean I believe it's possible, or that I can get there.

Xesce: What I think would help me would be if you could think about your life and what you want in life. You have a right to set limits for yourself, and for me. Do you really want to live with a person who is as unhappy as me, and whose patterns you have to deal with on an ongoing basis? I think that what you really want is a new relationship, but that you are scared you might never find one, so a dysfunctional one, or rather an unsatisfying one is better than trying to change things. And I completely believe you deserve to be happy and to have a more complete relationship.

Xesce: This situation has gone on for years, and the patterns we have created together have become stronger. When I try to give up drinking, I feel like I have to fight not only my own patterns, but yours. This is one of the reasons people go to rehab - in the early stages, for some people it is helpful to be away from triggers and the situations in which they usually drink. It's difficult, because I don't believe it's your fault I drink and I'm not trying to blame you, but our patterns together are extremely difficult for me to overcome. When I get up, and you and I start talking, it's like it sets in motion a whole chain of reactions. If I've just been sober a day or two, I might feel crabby - because quitting drinking does have physiological and psychological effects. I won't want to be crabby, and if I am, even if it's just not to greet you in a friendly way, or if I remain silent, so as not to talk about anything, I might start feeling bad about feeling crabby.

Xesce: If I have to make decisions about dinners, or even talk about them, I might start thinking about how well wine goes with certain dinners, so in that sense it becomes easier to write notes saying things like 'I'm going to make spaghetti with mushrooms tonight, and will leave a plate for you on the table at approx. 7:30' rather than discuss it. But then when possums start arriving, things get complicated, because it is good for both of us mental healthwise to see them. So the first one to spot the possum gives half the food portion, then comes to inform the other, and so I usually knock on the wall so I don't have to speak, and I write a note about what the possum in question has received, but invariably some possum drama occurs which makes it seem ridiculous to waste time with all this, and then once we are talking again, one thing leads to another and we are back in old patterns.

GK: I agree that it is good for both of us to see possums. And you are important to me and I really want to help you.

Xesce: When we start getting into this territory, it gets more complicated for me. I do think you want to help me, but at the same time, I don't think you can do the things I have suggested that might help. I don't see any good in beating you up about that, but as I get more scared and hopeless about the situation, the more difficult it is to keep an angry tone out of my voice, which in turn is perhaps a sign that it is better not to talk. Not that I believe it is a terrible or unproductive thing to express anger, but if certain ideas have been expressed many times, and there is no solution, it doesn't make sense to keep going over it without addressing new angles. The things I try to 'get myself together', using as much 'willpower' as I have, haven't worked. I really want you to have a good life, so I understand that it might also seem like my words are empty, but the distinction I am trying to make is that I think what would help the situation would be a decision on your part. If you were able to say that you wanted to try to have a more complete life, a new relationship, that we can decide on a date together to have me moved out by, and we can hope that this spurs me to try again to do it myself by this date, and if not, we have a plan: we will go on a roadtrip to Melbourne, and you will stay long enough to help me get settled. Since I don't have a passport, I can't fly, but maybe it might be good to transport a few of my things in the Yeti, and also maybe a roadtrip will help you bond with the Yeti. Ack, now I'm thinking about not having a passport and the added level of difficulty in finding a place without ID, or doing various other things, but there is no sense in dwelling on that now.

Xesce: I am getting off-topic, sorry. I feel like I'm babbling, I feel like I'm saying nothing.

GK: (silence)

Xesce: I realize that most people believe that women just want someone to listen to them, they don't really want solutions, but I honestly think I want solutions. I want new input. We're both so isolated, and I realize that's part of the problem. Neither of us has anyone to consult about this impossible situation. I know you're in a really horrible situation. When you first wanted to meet me, you were lonely and didn't really know what you were getting yourself into. I mean, I was honest about my situation, but I do realize you were very lonely, and also that because I communicate in a reasonable way it might give people the impression that with the 'right situation' I would finally be content in life, despite what I say.

GK: You've helped me a lot in my life.

Xesce: I'm not sure that's true. Maybe if I hadn't stayed so long, but maybe I am what is preventing you now from moving forward. It's so weird, when we started writing I really had no idea all of it would lead to moving to Australia. When I think of what the internet is like now, it seems weird that we both took such a big risk. Everyone warns people about having to send someone money for an airline ticket, etc, and deadbeats with sob stories.

GK: Yes, I don't think I would do the same thing now.

Xesce: I want you to think about what you want out of life. I want you to believe that you have a right to set limits for yourself. I don't want either of us to keep letting time go by, but I am not sure how to quit drinking. It's kind of like even though you're very intelligent and know a lot about various issues in the world, I am not sure you know much about addiction. It's kind of like you grew up in a 'stiff upper lip house', and so your approach is that when a person really wants to quit, they just do it. I admit I am kind of upset that in all the years I have known you, you have never done research on eating disorders, alcohol issues or depression, or that you have not tried out some of the different tactics I have suggested, like emailing me to talk rather than trying to talk in person, because after talking in person, I feel like I'm not good at talking in person, and that I'm saying nothing. Maybe in email I feel like I have more control, or I can see more. I admit that in a way it feels like the opposite of caring, love or friendship. It feels like you are in a hopeless situation, and all you can do is wish for my death, which is understandable, but kind of feels like pressure to me.

GK: (visibly upset)I don't know what to do.

Xesce: I'm really sorry, I'm really sorry. I don't want to hurt you or keep going over the same things. You are a lovely person and it's not fair. I think it's valid to express these things, but not over and over again. That doesn't seem intelligent, on either of our parts. I think this is related to acceptance, to know when both parties are trying as hard as they can, and that if something isn't working, you have to try another angle. It's just that I am out of angles. I don't know what to suggest other than what I have suggested. And if you can't give me a deadline, a limit, or some new option, I guess I have to go back to trying to set one for myself, but then I can decide to stop drinking, but as soon as we start talking, or discuss meals, or interact regarding possums, I really have to fight the urge, and it's really difficult, when I know all I have to say is: when it's convenient to you, could you buy some wine? knowing full well it's not going to be long until it's 'convenient'. The thing is, if I quit drinking, after one day or several days or a week, I will probably do things like check the two places you most often have squirrelled away alcohol, and once I do that, it's not long before I ask outright. Most addicts will go through times when they want to drink, but if they do something like check into rehab and sign a contract, they are saying they know they might get urges, but they are planning ahead so that there's no alcohol available when they go through that. But here, there's no real possibility.. I'm sorry, I keep going on and I know you're upset and can't really hear me right now, I'm sorry. I should stop. I don't want you to feel this way.

GK: You're a lovely person. You have done so much for me. I really want things to be good.

Xesce: I think it seems that all we can do is wait. I will try to get the energy and focus to remove myself from your house. Maybe something else will happen, and maybe I will die. Recently, when I had that crazy drinking binge where I was not sticking to the patterns that prevent hangovers, when I had a really horribly painful period and I kept drinking and taking panadeine, buscopan (and still had pain) and anti-nausea tablets (and still vomited) and felt sick every day and could never get comfortable, whether sitting or lying down, and didn't enjoy drinking and thought I actually might be close to dying, I was thinking that I really didn't want to die this way, but if I die, maybe it's for the best. And then I pulled myself out of it and started talking to you, because I didn't want to die that way. But nothing changed, and as soon as I felt less sick I started going into the same patterns. And then I thought maybe I just shouldn't fight it. People die in all kinds of ways. OK, sorry, I shouldn't bring that up. I will try to focus. I will try to get myself together, or hope that one of us figures something out. Maybe for now it's better if we keep eating meals together because we are both lonelier when we are not talking, but also it's a relief not having problems with food. We have what is needed for a pizza. Do you feel like having some if I make it tonight?

GK: That would be really, really good.

Xesce: It's probably a good idea to pick up a case of wine. I'll start making the pizza.

[3 days later, after the case of wine is gone..]


GK, you haven't done anything wrong, but I am crabby because I have no alcohol. I'm going to write notes for now, and I will note down what food I give to possums so we don't overfeed them. Leek and potato soup will be ready at about 8. Xesce

[3 days later]:

When you go shopping, could you pick up more wine? I will try to make it through today, but I am struggling. Xesce

[1 day later]:

Xesce: When we're not talking, I feel very lonely and isolated. Maybe we should not continue to avoid each other.

GK: I agree. I think it's better and I feel better when we are not avoiding each other.

Xesce: I suppose if I just adjusted my attitude such that I accepted drinking was the best option for me, and I didn't worry so much about what I should be doing so as to leave less mess for you and so that you'd be more likely to have a better life, maybe things would be better, but I don't honestly think that drinking is the best option for me. As long as we live in the same house, even though we have an arrangement where we have both agreed we are not a couple and that we both would like new relationships, to most people, it might look like we are a couple. And aside from worrying about your life, I still want at least a moment in life for myself in which I feel I have achieved something I feel like I have the potential to experience. OK, it is time to stop. I won't go into all this again.

Xesce: I am going to stop talking now. I will try to focus on something. Maybe for now the best thing is just to drink. I'm in a better mood when I drink, and maybe I am at least speeding up my death. Do you feel like having corn, baked potatoes, salad and bbq quorn?

GK: That would be really good.

Xesce: Could you pick up some wine? But just two bottles, and I will give you a glass. If a case is there, I will just drink again tomorrow night, and I want to try to drink as few nights as possible. For a while it did seem like I was slowly reducing the amount of alcohol I was drinking, but now things seem to be escalating again. I will aim at having dinner ready around 9. I know it's a drag to have to go to the store more often, but when you buy a case and I know it's there, there's pretty much zero chance I won't drink. And if I wake up and ask you if you squirrelled any away, I know you won't lie. You have a right to say you will only buy wine once a week or once a month, and that I have to figure out what quantity, and if you don't I can understand being aware of past patterns and feeling cynical about it all.. but what about the times when there have been extended stretches without? Does it make sense to keep trying for those, or to just give up?

GK: I'll get two bottles.

Xesce: Also, if I ask if there's wine in the house, it doesn't mean I can't do without it - I think it's a natural part of the process that as I withdraw, I want to know if there's any left. I should stop talking. I feel like I am saying nothing. I feel like there is no one who cares about what happens to me. My best shot is to try to care for myself, but I'm very depleted and isolated. It's not like I can check myself into rehab. In those places you pretty much have to participate, and there's no way I can be honest about wanting to give up alcohol so that I have the concentration to have a hope in hell of killing myself in a personally 'meaningful' way that doesn't drag on for more years, with me becoming physically ill. Yes, I hear myself. This is crazy, this is surreal.

[handwritten note, thrown away..]

1000 cases -Xesce

[Note: GK said he would think about what he wanted in his life, but he has not yet gotten back to me. Through the years it has often been something like:]

GK: I want you here.

Xesce: That might be both true and not true, but I think what it means is that you want me here, if I can be calm most of the time. What it really means is that you want me to be the me who makes an effort to find the least bad way of dealing with the day, even if every single day I want it to stop and I myself don't believe in performing actions to keep a life I don't want. If I am unhappy, that I avoid talking about it as much as possible. I think there is a certain amount of misery you will tolerate, even if you would prefer a more complete relationship, one with sex in it, for example, but I don't think this is just coming from open-mindedness and a wish for an alternative relationship. It's coming from a fear that no one else could ever love you. It's coming from years of experience of being alone before I was here. It's coming from a fear maybe of how hard it is to go through a relationship - although it really probably wouldn't be as hard with someone who wanted to live, and who shared your goals in life.

GK: I'm not sure I'd want to live with someone 'normal'. They might expect a lot of things that make me uncomfortable.

Xesce: I think you would do better with someone who doesn't want to force you to become like everyone else, but I honestly think there are potentially many different people out there you could adapt to. Some of the ways you are comfortable with me might be lacking, but you might find other areas of compatibility that you aren't expecting, things that are actually better for you personally. I know I can't make statements of certainty, and maybe you would spend the rest of your life alone, but the thing is if you look at the things evolution tells us women look for, including success in career, you are way ahead of a lot of men. Women mostly don't shop for a large penis, but maybe to someone it would be an added bonus. Add to all of that that you like to work on your home, you like to go shopping and for coffee and have a really high tolerance for psychologically complicated conversation. It's not that you completely lack game, it's that for the most part, from the outset you have been disqualified from participating, or don't know how to find your sport. Women still wait for men to make the first move, and that's not your thing. But once you are aware of a shot, I think your moves are pretty good.

Xesce: Think about it. If this is the only life you have, what else might you want in your life? In a relationship? Will you just wait for something? How long would you wait? Doesn't it make sense to take whatever steps you can to show that you want something to be possible? For example, to get me moved out of your house? To find some way of humanely dealing with the situation so that it's not a major crisis that has the potential to screw up your chances in a new relationship? No matter how understanding a woman is, she might not find it much fun to wait while you figure out what to do about me, and if we both now can acknowledge that we want the chance for something else in life, doesn't it make sense to start acting on it now? We have come to this conclusion many years ago, and yet, we still haven't resolved it.

GK: OK, yes I will think about what I want in life. I can see how it makes sense.

[days later, still no response, elaboration, etc. It will probably be forgotten.]

[more common themes]:

GK: We work well together, we come up with things that on my own I would not think of doing.

Xesce: Yes, it's strange how that seems to work. We both provide different aspects of what is necessary when it comes to many different tasks, creative projects and problem solving, whether it comes to websites and blogs, all things possum-related, things related to the house here, etc.

Xesce: My website is very important to me, and without your help and support, I wouldn't even have a website, or be able to do what I can do now.

Xesce: Not all people move at the same pace. I know that. It can take time to work out authentic connections to life. For you, the possums are a genuine connection to life. If I die, or leave, they will help you. I struggled a lot regarding how good it was for the possums for us to be so involved in their lives, but I don't have any doubts about how good they are for you, or me. I kept Possum TV going partly hoping that you would eventually be able to have your own site or blog. I saw that this was potentially an authentic way for you to connect to life. There are so many things that people do to be cool, or 'good', but when it comes to possums, it's simply that it's real. From there, if you can find friends, I think it will come from a real place. I also think it's a very good thing that you are now moving forward with your political blog. For years I have been trying to support you in regards to moving forward with something like this. You are a very good writer, and you have an excellent mind. Because you have so little social interaction, there is no way for many people to know the range you are capable of.

Xesce: The underlying issue is that there has always been the potential for you to connect to life. You sort of procrastinated on doing a lot of the things that would make this possible (like the blogs, possum site), but I am glad you are moving forward with all of it now, and I know it was the right thing to keep pestering you about all of it from time to time. The difference with me is that the 'authentic' things I have to express all relate to how isolated I am and how there aren't authentic ways for me to connect to life or people. My website is the best chance I have to connect with the world, but it seems that if I do connect with anyone, it is those who maybe don't have the ability to communicate back.

Xesce: I am not sure how to say this.. you know how recently we and others put a lot of effort into trying to find solutions for Wasabi? Well I kind of feel like a possum with serious infection who is going without treatment. It's obvious I have a scabby, infected wound, but somehow it's left alone, because no one knows what to do. I can try to offer all the relevant info, I can even be able to participate in my own treatment, I can be consulted, I am conscious, but my situation is more complicated, and I guess though that I sort of feel that that not as much effort goes into finding solutions for me as for possums. And I think I understand why it is: it's partly because depression and addiction aren't well understood, and everyone, including you and me and everyone we know, are affected by the stigma and misinformation, and ultimately, because there aren't any viable solutions. I am pretty good at problem solving and coming up with unusual solutions; we've seen that in a lot of ways over the years. But the best solution, that I have a humane death, is not realistic. At some point, I guess some change or other will occur, and maybe all we can do is wait. Maybe it won't be pretty, but does worrying help?

Xesce: I want you to know that whatever happens to me, I really want you to have a happy life. If you have a chance, I want you to take it.

GK: Thank you.

Note: GK has read this entry, and says that it is an accurate representation of our conversations.

For a record of my drinking patterns, see: leaving bris vegas.

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