Somethings you just have to live and hurt through

Everyone had an opinion on what I should and should not do in my marriage. It was kind of interesting how our families viewed our situation. My family gave me sympathy but encouraged me to stay and fix my marriage, to do whatever I had to do to make things right. Like I said they gave me sympathy for the hurtful things I shared with them, but in the end they put monkey on my back to fix it.

His family on the other hand were conflicted. Sense they were heavy drinkers they didn’t see anything wrong with the way he drank. Sense they never thought that I was good enough to be in their family in the first place, they pretty much thought that the reason he drank so much was because of the mistake he made in marrying me. As his drinking problems escalated they began to be concerned. I can even remember one time my brother-in-law telling me that he did not know why I put up with it. He even told me that he would not blame me if I left my husband.

Then my husband got sick. Alcohol had damaged his heart and he was given a few years to live. The doctors told him that if he did not stop drinking that he would not even have that. So he stopped. That changed everything. Again, both of our families gave me all the responsibility. My husband was self-employed and worked when he could. I was working and between the two of us we kept ourselves financially afloat. I took care of the kids, of him and everything else and at bed time I collapsed into exhausted sleep.

Then one day he told me that he could not take the stress of family life. He got a job in another city and moved away. Three months later he showed up for Thanksgiving and said that he missed us and wanted us to join him. I wanted to give our kids an opportunity to be with their Dad for as long as he had, so I moved. All of my friends thought I was crazy to do that. Our families were convinced it was the right thing to do. Our children were young and could not wrap their minds around the fact that their father had a terminal illness. They could not understand why we were moving and they had to leave their friends. That was the beginning of rebellious behavior that made my life a nightmare long after their father had died.

My husband had been sober about two years when I uprooted our family and moved to join him. I moved in December. In March I discover he was drinking again. Even after all of my years in recovery I had this little voice that said that maybe it really was my fault that he drank. After all he was a dying man that had been sober two years and three months later I joined him he started drinking again. Never mind that we had really only been apart three months of his two years of sobriety. Never mind that he had been drinking long before I found out in March. Never mind all that I had learned about alcoholism – I did not cause it, I can’t control it and I can’t cure it. Just like that I had been sucked right back into the chaos of his drinking.

Four months later he showed up at my work and invited me to join him for happy-hour after work. I felt like he had sucker-punched me, but I went anyway to see what he was up too. It was almost like he was trying to pick a fight with me. But I was not playing his game and that made him even more angry. He started to tell me how things were going to be from here on out. When I said I don’t think so he told me he wanted a divorce. I felt angry and I felt relief. I looked at him and said no problem and walked out of the bar. What I did not know at the time was that he had already rented and apartment and had the utilities turned on. You know what they say about alcoholism – cunning, baffling and powerful.

But you know what our families saw? Both of our families blamed me. In their eyes it was my fault that he started drinking again. They thought that I was the one that had ask for the divorce. To them I was a horrible person because I was divorcing a sick and dying man. Neither of our families ask me what happened. I was not even given and opportunity explain or defend myself.

I called my sponsor back home. She ask me if I was going to meetings. I hem-hawed around and told her I had tried but not any of them were like my home group. She told me to get my but back to meeting and work my program. Without the love and support of the people in my program I could never have gotten through that time in my life with any shred of sanity.

They told me to just keep doing the next right thing for the right reason. They helped me to always be aware of my motives and be honest with myself. They loved me when I felt the whole world was against me. There were many times my husband wanted me to engage in tit-for-tat behavior but I was able to avoid that trap because I had learned in my program that I did not have to react or engage in his unacceptable behavior.

I am not saying any of this was easy. There was nothing easy in my life at that time. There are just some hurts in life that you just have to live and hurt through, but thanks to my program I chose how I wanted to live through those difficult times. And I only had to live through it one day at a time. Some days were better than others. Because of the self-honesty my program requires I was able to look at things through the eyes of the Serenity Prayer and get the wisdom to know what was my responsibility and what was not.

My husband had also been in recovery and in the end he had two years of sobriety when he died. Thanks to both of our programs we had we did not hate each other when he died.

Alcohol imploded our happy ever after dream

I thought I had done a pretty good job of keeping our dirty little secrets behind closed doors. To friends and family I put on academy award performances. We were the perfect little family. Even the pictures lied. Happy holidays, birthday celebrations, school plays, dance recitals, picnics etc were all captured on film. They proved that we were a happy little family. Only behind closed doors we weren’t. All of the pictures were taken before the sloppy drunk stage.

What we did, where we went, who we were friends with and who we weren’t, were all predicated on alcohol. I can truthfully say that we had no close friends that did not drink. Except for children events we did not go to parties or social events that did not include alcohol. When I looked at my life I simply could not imagine it without alcohol. That is strange in away, because I hardly ever drank and couldn’t care less if I had a drink or not. Since we did not have friends that did not drink I thought that if he stopped drinking we would lose all our friends. I did not want my husband to stop drinking. I just wanted him to drink responsibly.

At my first recovery meeting they told me that alcoholics could not drink responsibility. Alcoholics had one of two choices; drink or not drink. There was no such thing as responsible drinking for an alcoholic. Not drinking at all was not the solution that I wanted, and therefore I was caught in an uncompromising dilemma. Not to worry. I had an answer to that problem too. There was no way my husband was an alcoholic; He was educated, he was an attorney for heaven’s sake. He just needed to do a better job controlling his drinking. So I only used those meetings like a band-aid. You know, like when things were really really bad and I had no where else to go. I certainly did not want to talk to my “friends” about it.

No one in the meetings tried to convenience me that my husband was an alcoholic. They just told me the facts about alcoholism and they left it up to me what I did with that information. In fact, all of my recovery meetings were focused on me. And that made me very uncomfortable because I believed that if he drank responsibility I would not have any problems. It is interesting to me how skewed and distorted my thinking was back then. My priorities were unrealistic. No matter how hard I tried, or what I tried, there was not a darn thing I could do to force the solutions that I wanted. I was in complete denial.

For a long time denial was the coping mechanism I used to survive. Other times it was the excuse I used to keep the status quo. If I didn’t acknowledge it-it wasn’t true. But denying it did not change my reality and it did not buffer me from the consequences or the pain. I was hanging on by a thread, and still I was not willing to acknowledge to myself that just maybe, my husband was an alcoholic and my life was going to change whether I liked it or not. Either alcohol was going to implode the dream life I wanted, or I was going to have to admit the truth of my reality and start making decisions that were good for me and my children. My dream life was going down wether I liked it or not. I had a choice to go down with the ship or I could choose to get in the life boat.

Right about the time I was getting the courage to stand on my own two feet my husband got sick. I am talking life threatening sick. It felt like it was almost a reprieve. The doctors told him he could not drink any more. I thought sobriety was going to solve all of our marital problems. It didn’t. He was the same broken person only without alcohol and he was not happy about that one bit, and I was the same broken person with unrealistic expectations. The reprieve was short lived and our marriage and our lives did indeed implode.

My saving grace were my recovery meetings and my program. They challenged me to be honest with myself. They gave me support but they did not give me pity. They did not tell me what to do, but they helped me to ask myself the right questions so that I could make informed decisions about my life. Working through the steps helped me to keep the focus on me and to stay in the moment. I took care of what I needed to take care of today. And the next day I started that process all over again. I did make plans for the future but I left the results up to God.

It takes time and practice to retrain a life time of negative self talk

One of the effects of growing up in a dysfunctional home was being stripped of self-confidence and self-esteem. I was a needy glass half empty kind of person. Emotionally I was all over the place. Harshly criticized for every nit-picky thing I constantly walked on egg shells trying to avoid repercussions and to keep the peace at any price to myself.

I got married and left home at 18. I was running away from the dysfunction and the hurts of my childhood. Immature and naive, I thought all my insecurities and hurts were going to go away because I was finally going to be special and important to someone. I thought that they were going to make me feel loved and confident. I thought that they were going to fill in all of the broken places in my life and make me feel whole.

Unfortunately, even on his best behavior, my husband was not the panacea for the hurt inside of me. First of all he was an alcoholic. His focus in life was alcohol not little ole me. He was just as powerless to help me feel whole as I was powerless over his drinking. We were the blind leading the blind.

Looking for him to make me feel whole put a lot of pressure on him. When I heaped all of my emotional needs and insecurities on his shoulders, I set both of us up to fail. Even if he had not been an alcoholic he still could not have filled that hurt inside of me. He could not rewrite the past and make it better. He could not promise me that I would never be hurt again. He could not have reassured me or complimented me enough for me to believe it.

Just like I could not help him find sobriety and freedom from alcohol, he could not help me find emotional sobriety, self-esteem and self-confidence either. As strange as this may sound it was his alcoholism that became the catalyst that pushed me into doing whatever I needed to do to take charge of my life and my happiness.

It was through the 4th and 5th Steps that I began to identify self-destructive patterns in how I related to people; I was needy, desperate, and willing to sacrifice my needs for someone else’s wants. I could see it. I just did not seem to have the power to stop myself from getting involved in those types of relationships over and over again. Fortunately for me there are 12 Steps so I just kept moving forward through the Steps. My sponsor told me that they were in a specific order for a reason and she wanted me to follow the 12 Step format. So I did.

Another thing that came out of those steps was identifying positive qualities about myself. Funny thing! Before I worked steps 4 and 5 I had been so focused on the negative I totally ignored anything good or positive about myself. It is not that I did not have any good qualities, I had them all right, I was just so focused on what I thought was negative about me that I never gave my good qualities an opportunity to surface.

It takes time to retrain a life time of negative self talk. With practice, one baby step at a time, I have learned how to love and respect myself. Every once in a while stinking thinking will pop in my head and challenge the progress that I have made. As soon as my mind gets out into the weeds I call someone in my program and talk it through. At this stage of my life I am not willing to waste a lot of time with backward thinking. My sponsor helps me to see through the deceit of my stinking thing. I am living proof that this program works if you work it.

A One Day At A Time Life

Technology has transformed how we live out life. We have come to expect instant or at least a quick and easy way of doing things. But there are some things in life that cannot be rushed. It still takes 9 months for a baby to grow and develop enough in the womb to be able to grow and survived outside the womb; an acorn does not become an oak tree overnight. For me, it is something as simple as buying a new pair of shoes. I have short fat feet and it is hard to find shoes that fit that are comfortable. Rarely have I walked into a shoe department and just bought a pair of shoes and walked out. Whoa is me…..poor Sharon.

Anyway what I am trying to say is that regardless of how we try to manage things in our life we can only live One Day At A Time. We can agonize over the past all we want too. We can live in perpetual fear of what is going to happen in the future, but no matter what, we do not have the ability to be transported back in time to change things in our past. All of the would have’s, should have’s, could have’s don’t mean a hill of beans; What was done in the past is history to us now. At the same time not one-second of worry will change or ensure that the future will turn out the way we want it to turn out.

We only have this one day that is available to us right now. We may not even have a tomorrow. Therefore, what we do this day, this moment in time, has great significance. My sponsor taught me to do what I could do today and then take care of tomorrow tomorrow. It is not that I should not plan for tomorrow, of course I should plan for tomorrow, as long as I realized that the results were up to God.

They say in our meetings that we did not get this way over night and that we can’t expect things to change over night either. That is not some cute little philosophy quote to sooth us. It is a real honest to goodness fact. It takes time to understand how we got to this point of desperation in out life. Even when we begin to understand it still takes time to retrain automatic reflexes too past hurts.

It takes time to develop changed attitudes about life and how to live it. If you go out on the internet and read all of the suggestions about how to change a bad habit, the one that stands out the most is the 21 day rule. Basically it says that if we do something consciously in a different way for 21 days we will break an old habit and establish a new way of doing things. For me personally, that is just a good place to start. For me, changing and establishing a better way starts with a 21 day commitment, but is a life time dedication of doing it One Day At A Time.

There is a quote by Abraham Lincoln that says, “Most folks are happy as they make their minds up to be.” There of have been times when my “good” day got way out into the weeds. When that happens, no matter what time of the day it is, I start my day over. Life will throw us curve balls from time to time. But the bottom line is not about the curve ball, it is about our response to it. Life isn’t always fair. Sometimes we are forced to live through something we would never choose for ourselves. That is when I utilize one of our Just For Today quotes that says, “I will try to live through this day only and not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt I had to keep it up for a life time.

One Day At A Time is just reminding us to break things down into manageable pieces. My greatest success in living One Day At A Time in a way that is healthy for me, is by utilizing all of the slogans, the Steps and opportunities that my recovery program has to offer.  Just living One Day At A Time without positive change in my life is of no value. It is possible for a person to live miserable One Day At A Time for the rest of their life. For me living One Day At A Time by it’s self is not enough. It is the total recovery package that transforms my life.

Separating feelings and the truth

My emotions and feelings were all over the place. Most of them ended in stinking thinking in the form of anger, resentment, fear, regret, guilt and judgement and sorrow. Different situations provoked different feelings at different times. The strange thing is, at one time or the other, I have felt all of those things over one incident or circumstance in my life. How is this so?

Such a mess it was trying to untangle and straighten out what was fact and what was emotions and feelings. You see, through this program, I came to realize that there had been so many times I had an immediate emotional reaction to something but the emotion was not congruent with the reality. The reason it was not is because I was carrying around a lot of emotional baggage. Hurts from my past were haunting and sabotaging my life.

Past hurts and disappoints had destroyed my ability to trust and my self-confidence. They had distorted my expectations and they had placed a huge burden on everyone in my life, and anyone that I met, to prove themselves to me and they did not even know it.

I cannot even count the number of times I have assumed the wrong thing. I cannot count the times that I have embarrassed myself jumping to the wrong conclusion. And, every time I did that I was always left with more guilt and more emotional baggage. It was a vicious cycle of disappointment that I could not stop because my emotions seemed to be an automatic response that I could not control.

I know you probably are tired of me writing about the 4th, 5th and 10th Steps, but hey, this is how it worked for me. My 4th Step was my first go at untangling truth from fiction in my emotions. I had this amazing sponsor that question and challenged me to look at my past objectively, and she helped me to see how I had used a lot of those emotions to protect myself at one time or the other. She also helped me to see that they were no longer a coping tool and that they had transitioned into a character defect that was interfering with my ability to enjoy my life.

My past was my past. I could not rewrite history. Therefore it was up to me to use my past to help me write the future that I wanted. I used my past to help me understand how I got this way and what I needed to do to change. Instead of painting everything in my everyday life with the hurts from my past, I learned a lot of wisdom to know the difference of what I could and could not change. My past taught me that if I did not set the boundaries in my life that someone else would.

By taking a daily inventory (10th Step) and promptly making amends when I was wrong, it helped me to not be so quick on the trigger judging everything and everyone in my life. This step helped me to prevent a build up of unhealthy emotions. By facing my reality each day I eliminated a lot of wrong assumptions. This step helped me to stay on target and not get myself out in the weeds. It helped me to focus on me and my responsibilities and helped me to mind my own business. This step helped me live One Day At A Time.

Alcohol trumped everything in our life

In the beginning I was obsessed with wanting to understand why my alcoholic drank the way he drank. If I understood why then I could fix the problem. Was it my fault? His parents fault? Did he have a terrible experience in his life that made him into an alcoholic? The problem with my obsession is that even if I understood why and knew who to blame, things were going to remain the same. Understanding why is not that spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. Under-standing why does not fix the problem. Understanding why does not make something unacceptable any easier to accept when we are powerless to do anything to change it.

A major misconception on my part was believing that someone else’s alcoholism was my problem to fix in the first place. My husband’s alcoholism was completely out of my power to fix. Understanding why would not make him no longer and alcoholic. Understanding why would not provide a solution so that he could drink normally. My husband drank the way he drank because he was an alcoholic and not because of past hurts, but because he was an alcoholic. He had a disease called alcoholism. He only had two choices: drink or not drink and he was the only person that had power over which choice he was going to make.

My acceptance did not mean that I had to like it. It did not mean that I approved. The most difficult part of acceptance for me, was letting go of the dreams and expectations I had for us. Whether I denied it or not, his drinking problem was the controlling player in our relationship. His alcoholism trumped my dreams and expectations.

The only choice I had over his drinking problem was how I chose to respond to it. Because of alcohol I loved and hated my husband. Alcohol was his mistress and he was not going to give it up for me. I wanted to leave him and I was afraid that if I did he would find someone else and be happy without me and I would be alone and miserable.

I was driving down the road one day and a Tina Turner was playing on my car radio. The song says, “ What’s love got to do, got to do with it, What’s love but a second hand emotion. What’s love got to do, got to do with it, Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken.” That verse hit me right between the eyes. When I married I thought that love would conquer anything. I was so misinformed and naive about the power alcohol would have over our lives. Love or the lack of it had nothing to do with his battle over alcohol. Love compared to alcohol was only a second hand emotion to him. Alcohol totally eclipsed love, family, career and anything else. It totally owned him. There was no doubt that my heart was broken. Alcohol shattered my heart into a million pieces.

It was only through my recovery program that I was able to accept that his drinking was not about me in any way shape or form. Just knowing that I did not cause it, that I could not control it and I could not cure it took the sting out of it for me. He did not drink the way he did because he did not love me. He did not drink the way he did to intentionally hurt me. He drank the way he did because he was an alcoholic and drinking is what alcoholic’s do.

I believe that Jon loved me as much as he was capable of loving any one. Unfortunately for me it was not enough to offset the chaos his drinking brought into our marriage. My self-confidence was rock bottom. I did not trust myself to make big decisions in my life at that time. I owed it to myself to give this program a chance and allow myself to heal. I knew that if I were not careful I could jump right out of the frying pan into the fire.

The One Day At A Time concept helped to keep me in the moment. Every day I would ask myself where I was better off that day and I did what was best for me to do for me that day. I learned that I was stronger than I ever dreamed of. I learned how to take care of myself and to give my alcoholic the respect to do the same. Over time the anger faded away. Taking the first step helped me to define the boundaries between myself and my husband. I have learned that it is not selfish to treat myself with respect and dignity. My circumstances did not get better…but I got better. I have learned through this process to live and let live and I even learned how to live and be happy.

Why I needed to change

In the beginning I was so disappointed in what this program offered. When was I ever going to be important? Why did I have to do anything? It seemed my whole life I had struggled with wanting to be loved and accepted and with wanting to be important enough to someone. Since I was the sober responsible one I did not believe that I was the one that needed changing. In fact it really offended me when they said this program was for and about me and not about how my alcoholic needed to change to make me happy.

I believe that the reason I kept going back to meetings is because I had no hope and nowhere else to go. So I sat in those meetings picking apart most of what was said. Every once in a while someone would say something that went to the core of the pain in my heart. But I still resisted the concept that I would have to change. I struggled. I mean I really struggled with every aspect of this program.

When I read through these steps, and I listened in meetings, all I heard was about the changes that I needed to make. What about the changes my alcoholic needed to make? I did not hear stop beating your head against a brink wall trying to change the impossible. Instead I heard, like sucks, accept unacceptable and be happy with it.

I did not hear the hope that came with the help of a power greater than myself. It is not that I did not believe there was a God. I did believe there was a God. I just did not believe that he would help me. Why should I believe? Where has he been all of these years when I have needed him? It was beyond my comprehension turning my will and my life over to God. What if he did not want for me what I wanted for me. I wanted this man to be sober and love me like crazy so that we could ride off into the sunset and live happy ever after …… and I wanted it right now.

As far as writing out a personal inventory of my life why in the world would I do that? It was painful enough living it the first time. It was painful enough when past hurts haunted my dreams and made me afraid to trust others. Why would I write it all out and then discuss it with someone else so that they could look at the hurt and shame in my life? I just could not see myself doing that. No way!

I had tried so many times, in the past, to stop myself from doing stupid things that were motivated out of hurt, anger and fear and I had never been able to control my knee jerk reaction to my life. And now I was supposed to ask God to help me to overcome all of these short comings. After all they were the shield between me and more hurt.

When I read that step about making amends to people that I had hurt it offended me. I only hurt them because they had hurt me first. What about their part? Who was going to hold them accountable?

I really did not believe that I could hurt any more than I did, but I was wrong. As his disease got worse my pain got worse. In the end I was hurting so bad that I would do whatever they told me to do. What did I have to lose anyway? Obviously what I was doing was not working. It was only when I totally surrendered that the pain started to ease off.

Even though I did not realize it at the time my total capitulation to this program put me on a pathway of learning how to love myself. It taught me that we are all God’s children even my alcoholic. I was not God in his life and he was not God in mine. I could not save him but I could save myself. It taught me that I was just as important as my alcoholic and that it was no longer necessary for me to sacrifice my life trying to save and fix his life. It reminded me that I had years of hurt and disappoint to over come and that I needed to have patience, commitment and persistence to stay in the moment and live just one day at a time. In the end this 12 step program that I was so resistant to helped me to find peace, joy and happiness in my life.

Live it or waste it

When they said that I could be happy whether the alcoholic was still drinking or not I did not believe that was possible. And, it wasn’t possible without a changed attitude. It wasn’t possible without me taking the blinders off and facing my reality. It wasn’t possible until I was willing to forgive and be forgiven. It wasn’t possible until I stopped believing that someone else’s life was more important than my own, and it wasn’t possible until I became willing to change.

Thanks to the twelve steps I did not have to reinvent the wheel. In other words I did not have to figure out how to do this. You see there is a plan, a blue print, that walked me through the process of learning how to let go of responsibilities that weren’t mine to begin with. It helped me to examine my past in a way so that I could understand why I thought and did the things that I did. It helped me to see where and how I needed to make changes – changes that were necessary for me to make better choices in my life.

Believe it or not this process scared the daylights out of me because it made me responsible for my own happiness. Yea, I had to become an adult. I was responsible for the choices I made in my life. I could no longer blame him when I chose to do nothing to help myself. Doing nothing is still a choice. I did not want a divorce so I really struggled with this concept. I could not understand how I could choose something different and better for myself and still stay married to him. Well, I can tell you how I did it. It was one baby step at a time.

Just because he was angry and miserable did not mean that I had to be. Just because he did not want to go and do something did not mean that I could not go without him. I decided that even though alcohol controlled him I was no longer going to allow it to control me. Once I understood that, I no longer predicated my happiness and what he did or did not do.

As I started to be become independent he felt threaten and tried to sabotage the changes I was making in my life. He did not want me going to those meetings anymore. I decided to go anyway. If I did not going to go to an event that I wanted to go to I went without him. He did not like that and somehow managed to create a crisis right before I left. It was hard, but I went anyway and left him deal with his own crisis. That really ticked him off. These decisions were never easy and they did not come without recriminations.

But the one thing that helped me to stand up for my life was understanding my motive. I was not doing these things to spite or hurt him. I did them for my own happiness and peace of mind. I wanted him to get sober and be happy but I knew that was his choice. I was not trying to manipulate or control his drinking, I had accepted that I was powerless over his drinking but I was not powerless over how I allowed his drinking to affect me.

There is no quick fix. I learned to live one day at a time. It was the little decisions, day in and day out, that prepared me to make bigger decisions over time. I was taught to do the next right thing. And if I didn’t get it right to forgive myself and get back on the horse and try again. We are the only ones that can live our life. Regardless of what other people are doing or not doing the gift of life is personally ours. Live it or waste it. The choice is ours.

One Day At A Time

The thing that tripped me up was that inner voice. That inner voice told me that I did not deserve any better, that it was my fault, that I had royally messed up my life and now I there no way out. That inner voice beat me up all the time and reminded me over and over again how stupid I was for the choices that I made. My pride and my fear held me prisoner and for a long time and I was resigned that this was going to be my life. It was easier for me to live with unacceptable than it was to resist, not just the external circumstances, but the internal voices that held me captive.

I stayed because I was afraid of the consequences. How was I going to support myself and three kids? I was not educated or trained to do anything that would generate the income that I needed to survive. I did not want him but I was afraid that if I left him that some other woman would snatch him up and they would live happy ever after, and I would be stuck with the all the responsibility and no money. I afraid that I would have to live alone the rest of my life because who would ever want me. I was afraid that our families and friends would blame me. Those were the conversations in my head from that inner voice that help me a prisoner in my life.

Alcoholism is a progressive disease and as his drinking got worse the price to keep the status quo became to high. I was losing everything anyway. He was blowing his career and we had a lot of serious financial problems. Little by little my dreams died and I had my back against the wall. I would like to tell you that I had an epiphany or great moment of revelation and insight and turned my life around, but that is not how it happened for me.

It started with a 12 Step recovery meeting for families and friends of alcoholics. I was skeptical doubtful and resistant about everything they said, but I had nowhere else to go so I kept going back. I wanted him to fix the problem, and at my meetings they told me that I was powerless over him and there was a chance that he may never change. They told me that I could be happy whether he changed or not and I could not even imagine that happening. But I kept going back. They told me that the program was for and about me. My interpretation of that meant that I would have to change. I still resisted. I wanted to be taken care of and I wanted someone else to fix it. But I kept going back.

In the end I felt like I had two choices: I could leave my alcoholic in charge of my life and my future or take a stand for myself. The inner voices fought me every step of the way. For the most part it was One Day At A Time for me. Some times it was moment by moment. I utilized all of the One Day At A Time phrases to help me every single day. I tried to stay in them moment. Just get through this day. Do what I needed to do to day and not project into the future. By staying in the moment I did many difficult things that I had to do. I would not allow myself to think of doing beyond this one day. If I even opened the window enough to think of doing it beyond today I would stress myself out. So I just could not go there.

I found something in every day to be grateful for and to be happy about. It could be the laughter of my girls or it could me my dog laying on its back waiting for me to rub its tummy. It could be that I had the money to pay the electric bill or I had a little extra money to take the kids to McDonalds.

I started taking care of my appearance. First thing everyday I got up did my hair and makeup. Just making my outside look better made me feel better on the inside. I did something for fun; read a good book, went to a movie with my kids, I roller-skated and walked on the beach. I took a bubble bath. These are just a few of the things I did to stay in the moment and be good to myself. I had to do things consciously until I did them unconsciously. This program works it you work it.

Why I go to those recovery meetings

Someone ask me recently why I still went to meetings. I told them that this program was the blueprint that I lived my life by. You see I apply these 12 Steps and the concepts of this program to every thing in my life. Alcoholism forced me to go to my first meeting but life kept me coming back.

I had a jerk boss once that made my life miserable. He had power over my financial stability and he tried to make my life dreary five days a week. I was really good in my job and still he did his dead level best to try to strip me of my self esteem. He had a little “g” god complex. He was an untreated adult child of alcoholics. He especially had contempt for women. He was an angry man with an ego problem who tried to make life stressful for everyone.

I had been in recovery over ten years when I met him and I had to apply every concept of this program towards him just to be able to continue to excel in my job and to neutralize his negativity in my life. I did that by not taking personal the negative way he treated me. His problem with strong women had nothing to do with me. I was just where he vented it. Was his behavior acceptable? Of course not. There were times when I would have loved to punch his lights out. But I just kept doing the next right thing and talking things out with my sponsor when I felt pushed to the wall.

I had to 10th step him every day (continue to take personal inventory and when wrong promptly admit it) This one step gave me confidence, one day at a time, so that I did not feel compelled to try defend or prove anything to him. I let my actions speak for themselves. I knew that the problem was in him and not in me . He wasn’t ever going to treat me right. I was a straight commissioned sales rep. I consistently exceeded quote and I did not need him to affirm that I was good at what I did.

But I am not going to lie to you, it was not easy. I could not look to the future or question how long I had to do this. It was one day at a time with me. There were many times I had to ask myself how important is it to get into it with him. There was no doubt in my mind that I was powerless to fix or change him. I did not want too.

I had another person in my life, a relative by marriage, that from day one tried to make me feel inferior, and she was successful for a very long time. And then I got some recovery under my belt and I things changed between us, because I changed. She no longer had the power to define my self worth to me. There is a page in one of my daily reading books that says, “normal happy well adjusted people do not hurt other people.” The first time I ever read that I thought of her. One night at a party when she had been drinking she began to ask me a lot of questions about how I had changed. She even slipped up and told me that she wished she was strong like me. I wanted to tell her I was not strong, that there were times, because of her, that I had to work my program minute by minute to be able to stay true to myself. But I did not say anything I just thanked God for my program.

When I remarried my husband ask me why I still went to those meetings. I told him that everything that he liked about me was a result of going to those meetings. Then low and behold, we one of our kids that desperately need a 12 step program of his own. And I had another reason why I needed those meetings. Our son picked up his 12 year sobriety chip this month. His sobriety had nothing to do with me. He did that all on his own with the help of his 12 Step program.

As long as I am breathing and can get to a meeting I will still go to those meetings because this program is the blueprint that I live my life by. Just saying!