I learn in Al-Anon that a frank, honest look at my way of handling the alcoholic situation may suddenly show me that I posses, and use, a whole armory of murderous weapons. They are the same weapons used by many spouses: indignation expressed in a strident voice; irresponsible accusations, nagging, tears and hysteria, self righteousness and many more. These weapons are killers. They kill the alcoholic’s desire to find a better way of life. They kill love and respect. They destroy the alcoholic by increasing his already unbearable guilt. And they destroy us who use such weapons.
I will try to clear out of my life and my mid all the tools of destruction I have been using. I know they can do nothing to improve my situation. I will make myself learn to use a new set of tools: tolerance, kindness, patience, courtesy love and humour – and a firm determination to do what is necessary to improve my life.
“God, who is all good and all wisdom, provides me with the tools that are useful in overcoming my difficulties. May I be willing to use them.”
Reading from: One Day At A Time In Al-Anon, pg. 17
One of the things that is difficult when dealing with alcoholism in a spouse or child or other member of the immediate family is that we all need comfort and it is often not available. Where we normally could go in a healthy relationship for that comfort is sometimes one of the things that alcohol robs from us. I have been guilty of going to an unavailable person for comfort and finding myself blamed, resented, pushed away or being told that they don’t know what to say because they haven’t been there, by people that I reasonably thought should have been able to offer some comfort. Most of us if we’re honest have done this same thing. It sucks. But in every interaction we learn.
As we have learned over time that expressing emotions to an unavailable person reinforces negative behaviors in ourselves we need to look for other healthy people to reach out to. We will make mistakes about who we can reach out to in certain situations. But we can be grateful we learn.
We can reach to a sponsor, or an Al-Anon or ACA friend, perhaps someone who is also walking a spiritual path of improvement or if employing a professional we may go to them. Someone who has no vested interest except in us. Who will understand that what we need is comfort, not direction, someone who with added insight may ask us the questions that lead to answers. Someone that our Higher Power might speak to us through. Like a child with a scrape sometimes all we need is that reciprocal comfort. We deserve that as human beings.
When we can reach out for comfort to an available source and receive that comfort that human beings need, addressing things such as boundaries or stating how we feel to the alcoholic or addict in a constructive beneficial way becomes easier. We need not deny ourselves love and comfort and build resentments. And it may take practice to learn who we can and who we can’t go to.
Today I will remember that the more that dysfunction exists, the less available healthy people there are to turn to. Today I will remember that learning who that is and who it is not is not a mistake. I can be grateful for the learning and move forward. ~Adrienne
- Thursday night Al-Anon meeting… (chipinmyheart.wordpress.com)
- Daily Recovery Reading – September 19, 2011 (12stepsthinkaboutit.org)