When I first came to Al-Anon, my attitude was that of a victim. I didn’t want anyone to know about my insane life, yet I wanted sympathy. I expected them to be able to give it to me without them knowing why I needed it.
I began recovery when my alcoholic went to rehab, and suddenly realized how my attitude had affected his self-esteem. I had used a blame attitude to make all accidents drink-related, whether they were or not, and tried to make him feel responsible for everything bad that happened. I ruined many days by expecting the worst, even though it didn’t happen. I was constantly waiting for the next bout of drinking and the next crisis. I was “crisis managing” before they happened.
Even as we both started working our programs, I could easily sabotage a day by laying my expectations on him, or by trying to control what he did. My attitude was that he needed my guidance to succeed in his recovery. Fortunately, I gradually let go, and let God and my alcoholic work out their own ways. My new attitude was that I needed to check on my own behavior, not his. I began to watch the words I used and check my motives for why I said and did things.
Seven years down the line, things are much easier. It began on the day I turned my will over to my Higher Power and asked to be guided in thoughts, words, and actions throughout the day. Naturally, there are times when I forget this desire, but when I do, I realize it fairly soon after, and make amends for my behavior.
I learned early on that the quickest way to a harmonious relationship was to try to keep my side of the street clean. Cutting out the “shoulda, woulda, coulda,” stops me from interfering and thinking I can change other people, especially my alcoholic. Nowadays if I disagree with what he does, I can look at my part, change it if need be, or just let it go.
By Catherine, United Kingdom
The Forum, December 2012