Friday, September 11, 2009

Live and Let Live.

Before Al-Anon, I was consumed with my struggles to make the alcoholic quit drinking. My life had been reduced to that one desire. Everything else had fallen away, been discarded, or forgotten; I was obsessed with making him stop. You could not call what I was doing "living." Great swathes of my life were passing me by, while all of my thinking reverberated inside that constricting vessel of my focus.

I also was not letting him live his life. I directed, admonished, upbraded, ranted - I was a endless loop of negativity directed at his poor suffering self. These days, when I pause to consider how it must have felt to be with me, I feel only compassion for him. I wouldn't want to live with someone hounding me the same way I used to hound him, but back when I was engaged in that power struggle, I just wanted to win it. I didn't stop to think about whether it was right, or kind, or helpful, or useful.

It was a long hard haul uphill, for me to arrive at the full, heartfelt knowledge that the alcoholic's life was his, to do with as he chose. Marriage to me did not mean that I got to decide how he lived his life. As far as I'm aware, he's still drinking. My eight or so years of all-out effort to make him stop, had zero effect, apart from making us both miserable. I'm grateful that I had some program when we split up, so it was on pleasant terms, and not acrimonious. I didn't say or do anything which required amends later on, and for that, I'm grateful.

Live and Let Live used to feel like a rule I needed to try to follow - the more I practise it, the more it becomes a comfortable habit.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent reminder of what it's like to spend day after emotional day trying to control the behavior of another person. It is a life saving mission that is so difficult to break out of. I'm glad you have a happy ending - and so sorry to hear that more years are being wasted by the man you tried to change.