I bought into his broken promises over and over again. I wanted his promise to be true this time. I have since learned that was denial. I didn’t want my reality so I chose to have selective memory. I could not see how pretending that everything was fine or that next time things would be different was, in reality, denial and that my denial held me prisoner. I fought desperately against the truth that was staring me right in the face because it was not what I wanted for my life. This time he meant what he promised and things were going to be different. If I could just hang on for a little longer things would get better. Only they didn’t get better. They got worse – much worse.
I would like to tell you I made a clear decision to help myself and never looked back. But that would be a lie. I worried and struggled with choosing to move forward while my alcoholic chose not to change and struggled to control his drinking. I blamed him for everything and at the same time I blamed myself. I was not willing to do anything to help myself because I thought it was his responsibility to make things right. So I kept waiting for him to do it.
My thinking was distorted to say the least. But I could not see that it was distorted. To me the things I thought were normal. I dreamed of us living the happy ever after and I dreamed of being free from him. I blamed him for everything and at the same time I thought it was somehow my fault that he drank the way that he did. Another funny thing is that I never saw my actions for what they were. I had a front row seat watching him self-destruct and I thought I was trying to save him from himself. I did not see that I was enabling. There was only one little problem with my thinking. I could not save him from self-destruction. He was the only person that had the power to make the decisions that needed to be made.
I did have power – it just wasn’t over his drinking. I had the power to help myself but I lived in misery and chose to do nothing for a long time. In that regard my alcoholic and I were a like. Both of us were living in denial. It was crazy. Even though I felt defeated I still struggle with letting go of trying to control to his drinking.
A friend took me to my first meeting. I kept going back because I had no where else to go. Even though, in my mind, I didn’t think I could take any more it was obvious that I could still handle the pain because I was not willing to do anything to help myself. I was still waiting for my knight in shinning armor to save the day. I was very resistant to this program and these steps because the focus was on me. Why should I have to change or do anything? Unfortunately I had to learn the hard way that when the pain to keep the status quo is greater than the pain of change you will change. I will always be grateful that I had started attending recovery programs before we faced the worse of the worse.
Recovery is not by accident. It is a choice. I sat in meetings for a long time walking on the treadmill of misery. Half-heartedly I listened to what they were saying while quietly, in my mind, I was judging everyone and explaining to myself why my situation was different. I’ve said this before, but I am going to say it again. I haven’t met anyone yet, that could not benefit from this program. I feel sorry for the people who have a hurt habit or hangup and they don’t have a 12 Step program to help them find their way. Through this program my life has been transform into something better than I could have dreamed on my own.