Paul, you are not the first one to go through such a trying time. The initial stages of RC are very frustrating. Your initial description of the flight bears that out. It's a little like "fishing" we really don't like "fishing" per se, we like catching fish! And when it comes to RC we don't like crashing, we like flying! And initially you get just enough flying to keep you going, but then "wham!"
The suggestions of getting some help and using a flight sim are really invaluable. If you can't get a simulator, then getting some hands on help really is the ticket. I think back now to how frustrating it was to go through all the stages in the early going. Now, I'm so glad I did. Not that I never have any mishaps, but now when I do have them it usually because I got in a hurry, didn't do a good pre flight check, or rushed a repair that ended up failing.
Hang in there, get some help. It really does get fun!