Saturday, October 16, 2010

Control - A 7 Letter Word, Leading To Conflict.

In a recent email, a program friend wrote: "I never had control issues before I joined Al-Anon."

I laughed aloud when I read that; it's a good description of my state of mind, when I was new to program. Before Al-Anon, I believed myself to be a pretty well-balanced individual, it was just that I was married to a man who drank himself into a stupor every day. Were he to quit drinking, life would resolve into happily ever after, and we'd go tripping off into the sunset, a la Disney movie.
Then, after sustained nagging from me, and with enormous effort, he quit drinking for nine months, and the relationship was exactly the same, except that he was sober. I still wasn't happy, or satisfied.

I'm grateful that when we finally separated, it was amicable, and we could talk and hug and be grateful for the love we did share together. I had to be in program for many more years, before I truly understood the effort, and the force of will, those nine months of white-knuckled sobriety required.

I still have to work my program assiduously, to keep my desire for control in check. It may be a result of my childhood, or it may be simply a part of my genetic makeup, in the way that some small dogs have a gargantuan stubborness, out of all proportion to their size. I'm a rather small person in stature, but without program, my desire for control was a outsized windstorm of willfullness: mulish determination to get my own way.

It doesn't matter from where it originates, it just is. I need to deal with it, if I am to have a life worth living. Yesterday, I was asking my Higher Power for guidance, because I couldn't see the lesson I was meant to take from what has been happening.

The answer came in one word: "Humility."


  1. I share this little story often when the topic of control comes up.

    When my sponsor quietly suggested that I might want to look at my control issue, I looked at her aghast. I said (I honestly was shocked at her suggestion), "If you think I'm controlling, you should meet my mother." I was dead serious. Me, controlling? Well, guess what. You know the ending to this story.

    Love the topic.


  2. Control. I was out of touch with many of my feelings, they had been splintered to survive.
    The more I show up for myself the better able I can let down my control.
    Letting go and trusting has been slow and not always so steady.
    Grateful I have a program to guide me through the dark forest.

  3. I think that it is both nature and nurture. I know that I have a better way. But I just have to remember humility--and surrender. Give it up and quit thinking that I have the answers.

  4. I forced the alcoholic into treatment THREE, count them THREE Times...none of which worked.

    Control.......who ME?

    Hugs xoxo

    great blog you have here, love!