Monday, March 30, 2009

Rejection, and Control

At times, dealing with an alcoholic is like trying to capture smoke with our hand - it billows out of our grasp, and wafts away in the cold night air.

The resistance of an alcoholic is like no other - we are presented with a smooth, bland, featureless wall of indifference, and understand that we are speaking to a mind firmly closed and barred against us. We are refused entry, and refused with a coldness which can leave us shivering in pain and sorrow.

All the understanding in the world about their pain, shame and  misery, does not make it one jot easier to be facing that wall, with our dreadful feelings of futility and powerlessness.

I have a choice, I can stand pounding on the wall and insisting that I be given entry, or I can turn to someone who has never yet refused me comfort - my Higher Power. I can go find my little dog, who is always welcoming, and will emerge sleepily from her nest of blanket on the couch to lick my face, and snuggle into my sweater.

I can choose to seek love from someone who is able and willing to give it, rather than continue to try to force my will upon the alcoholic, who for whatever reason, has shut me out. Much as I may find it painful and infuriating to be rejected, the other person has the right to behave however they choose, whether kind or unkind, and I am far better served by acceptance, and going elsewhere, than by trying to make them talk or listen to me.

Acceptance is not always a serene and peaceful alternative, it can also be a painful choice. I want to live in reality. This means accepting the limits of those I love, and facing the truth about their, and my, human frailties.

Love is love, it matters not from whom it flows, it feels the same. I can call an Al-Anon friend, I can hug my dog, I can seek out my Higher Power. Or, I can stand weeping and wailing and wallowing in self-pity. (I've done the latter many times, until I tired of it.) Part of working our program, is deciding to do things differently, just to see if maybe all the people at the meeting are telling us the truth after all. As I've heard a million times in 12-step: If I make the same choices I've always made, I will get the same results I've always gotten. I am the only way who can choose differently for my life.


  1. Forcing my will on another has never gotten me anywhere. In fact, it has gotten me just what I expected--rejection. Great post.

  2. I really enjoyed this post as well as it hitting home....
    Thank you.