Those of us who deal with active addiction have an unfortunate knowledge, not granted to those who live their lives escaping the ravages of alcoholism. I would once have considered them lucky and myself unlucky, but my years in Al-Anon have been such an enormous gift and a blessing, that I now gaze at the past with a completely altered attitude.
People who have never have a loved one struggling with alcoholism, may make off-hand comments meant only as conversation, which when we are newcomers to program, and still suffering terrible torments of mind and spirit, can slice us to our core.
I have raged and agonised over those little throw-away remarks in years past, wondering "How could they could be so light-hearted about it, so unkind, so unthinking!'
It is rarely cruelty truly meant, it is so much more often innocence of the reality with which I deal, when I love an alcoholic.
Those who are only really aware of social drinking, can have little understanding of what I may be enduring. And I didn't help matters by keeping secrets and putting on a façade of happiness and satisfaction while inwardly I felt used-up, bereft, and painfully lonely.
I have learned to have compassion for those who don't know about, deal with, or battle the effects of alcoholism on friends and families of alcoholics. I allow them to say whatever they need to say, and do my best not to take it personally. I try not to substitute their judgement for my own; when they say that "The alcoholic is bound to fail, they always do at first" I have no need to accept that as truth.
I pray to have compassion for myself, so that I also allow myself to feel my own feelings, sit with them for a while, then release them, and let them go.
When I am practising compassion, I feel more loving, more loved, and more at peace.