Did you know that the most difficult thing to open is a closed mind? Did you know that two thoughts can not occupy your mind at the same time? It is your choice as to whether your thoughts will be constructive or destructive, positive or negative. Hummm I wonder what you are going to choose today?
I don’t know about you but I believe that I deserve all the wonderful things life has to offer, and today I choose not to sabotage them through Stinking Thinking.
I remember being at a party one evening when my husband’s drinking had reached the embarrassing stage. It was past time to leave. I had desperately tried to get him to leave before things got out of hand. No could do. So I stood there and tried to act like nothing was wrong. Then I tried to defend him. He had had a bad day, didn’t have a chance to eat all day. But no one there was buying it. They had seen it before. And the crazy thing was that when we did leave I got into a car with him and let him drive us home.
After a while in recovery I learned that I had a voice and and a choice. And I learned that I was the only one that could exercise those options for me. Fast forward a few years and to another party. I realized “it was time to leave” and told him I was ready to go. He said no. I ask him if he had any money on him and he said sure and ask why. I told him to get a cab home because I was leaving now. (I had made sure that I had a set of car keys before I had left home.) He laughed. He didn’t believe me. I left. I offered no explanations to anyone.
I went home went to bed and asleep. I had learned that I didn’t have to stay and watch him self-destruct. I had learned that it was irresponsible of me to allow him to drive drunk if I could do something about it. And, I had learned that it was insane of me to get in a car with him knee walking drunk and let him drove me home. Duh!
The reason I could go home and go to sleep was because I had accepted that alcoholism was a disease that I did not cause, could not control and could not fix. It was not my fault. I also learned that I did not have to participate in it either. I enjoyed the good part of the evening and then when things started turning bad I removed myself from that situation.
This was a step in taking control of my own life. The more steps that I took the stronger I felt and my confidence grew. I knew then that no matter what happened I was going to be all right.
Alcoholism hurts and destroys everything in its path – careers, health, relationships, finances, and families just to name a few. But it just doesn’t hurt the “consumer,” it hurts the people who love and care about them as well.
I have seen how recovery has helped many people put their life and their relationships back on track. And, I have seen other situations where all the kings horses and all the kings men could not put them back together again. Recovery does not guarantee that we will get that fairy tale dream that we planned for, or life the way that we planned it. But, recovery does guarantee that we get that poison of anger, fear, and resentment out of our system so that we can find peace and happiness. It opens the prison bars that have held us a prisoner and a victim of our past. And recovery teaches us how to love and care for ourself so that we won’t settle for unacceptable in our life.
I loved my first husband until the day he died even though we were divorced. But the evil of his disease changed me, and it changed hi,m and it changed the love we shared. It was only through recovery that I learned how to have compassion for his struggle; it was through recovery that I learned how to separate the disease from the man – which helped me to hate the disease but not the man. It was in recovery that I learned how to love myself enough to not to allow his disease to destroy me. Which in, my case, meant that I had to walk away.
When I started my recovery journey I had built up walls to protect me from being hurt. Without recovery, when I did walk away, I would have grown old bitter and lonely or I would have found me another broken person to try and fill that hole of loneliness and need. Without recovery, I would have never been open enough to allow someone else in my life so that I could ride off in the sunset with and live happy ever after. Which I have been doing for the past 28 years.
Recovery open the doors of my life to happiness but I also had to be open enough to know that it may not come in the format I had originally planned.
Detaching with love is when we realize that we are not God in someone else’s life. It is when we let go of the fruitless effort of trying to change what is beyond our control to change. How many times have we stood between God and our alcoholic thinking we knew what was best? As long as we enable, justify, cover-up and fix their problems for them, they don’t have to do anything about it themselves and nothing changes for the better. It will change though. Alcoholism is a progressive illness and it will get worse. As long as we enable we set both of us up for failure.
Detaching with love is separating the person from the problem. We love the person but not the disease. It means that our life is just as important as their life, therefore, we are not going to participate in their self destruction. It does not mean that we don’t care. It simply means that we love ourselves enough not to torture ourselves trying to do the impossible.
There is a saying that says, “When it becomes more difficult to suffer than to change – then you will change.” In the beginning, I resented the meetings and the steps. I was embarrassed by being there. I did not want my husband to be an alcoholic. I did not want to be like “those people.” I just wanted to get the game plan, go home and execute the plan and then live happy ever after. I went thinking that the game plan was designed for him and learned it was designed for me.
I could see how messed up he was, but I could not see how messed up I was. Let me rephrase that – I knew I was messed up, but I thought it was his fault, I thought that if he got his act together my life would straighten out and my world would be all right. It never occurred to me that it may take years, maybe never, for him to get his life together. I never stopped to ask myself what if he never got his act together? Did that mean that I was doomed to be miserable for years or that I would have to spend the rest of my life miserable. It took a while for me to understand that I could choose happiness for my life even if he did not choose it for his life.
Once I made the decision to help myself I wanted it yesterday. That wasn’t possible. The steps walked me through the process of surrendering what was not my responsibility anyway. There was no way I could pull my life out of the nose dive it was in in my own power. I didn’t have to because I found a Higher Power, God, to guide me through the rest of my life. The people in my recovery community became “my people” in my heart. They understood what I was going through without pity. They shared with me their experience, strength and hope. They kept me focused on the solution and not the problem. I feel blessed beyond measure to have them as friends. I shudder to think of what my life would have been like without my recovery program.
Admitting our powerlessness is not defeat and submission to a degrading situation. We live that if we don’t admit our powerlessness. The truth is, that admitting our powerlessness is just the opposite; it is the first step toward living and not coping. It is acknowledging that this is the way that it is – there is nothing I can do about it and I am going to live and be happy anyway.
Life is now. Not yesterday and not tomorrow. Life is right now. Every day we write another page in the book of our life story. We can’t change what happened in the previous chapter but we can make sure we don’t repeat it in this chapter or the next. We are the author of this autobiography and a changed attitude can change the direction of our life.