Living with troubling people, some whose drinking is unmanageable, is rough sailing. They create craziness. Navigating troubled family waters – so stormy that we’ve forgotten sunny weather – is daunting. Broken people living in a broken world can do great harm to others and themselves. Sadly, death can have a way of ending many prospects for change and healing.
I live with regrets for words spoken and unspoken. I live with regrets for not seeking help sooner – for staying on the Merry Go Round of Denial longer than I knew I should – for never seeing the alcoholic’s pain, only my own. So I am sharing a few thoughts that may help you dear reader avoid some grief, especially over the Holidays, when excuses to drink heavily abound.
- We need help living with each other. Shame and pain can keep us from admitting our failures and asking for help.
- We need to change how we do what we do.Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome.
- The change though is just for today.
- And the help and change is for us, not the alcoholic, or anybody else who is driving us nuts! An unknown author summarized “The Serenity Prayer” by Reinhold Neibuhr:
God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.
Changing me – staying on my side of the street – works with all kinds of family troubles – not just alcoholism. When a relative stopped talking to me because of a quarrel, I was beside myself – they refused to tell me what I had done, saying only, “You know what you have did!”
Well, I have done a lot of stupid things – so I needed specificity before I apologized.
My spouse urged me to let go of trying to force reconciliation. Honor the relationship, send cards at Christmas and birthdays, and leave it to God, in prayer. In time the relationship healed – it took years.
What I did was stop trying to force a solution.
When a relative’s alcoholism became a controlling factor in my life, I went to Al-anon and learned a changed attitude on my part could help bring about recovery.
I trusted my relative to the care of God as I understood Him.
I stopped trying to get the person sober and started looking at my own character defects.
I quit taking other people’s inventories – a work still in progress.
The troubles we have because of some of the folks to whom God related us are as amazing as the love we enjoy from others. Sometimes, for our own sanity have had to close the door on some family members, or, respect their door closing.
I wish a few of my relatives would live their lives differently; they probably wish I would change as well. I can be a real pontificating drag.
So, I will work on that today.
All I have is this day – no matter what my plans are. (Why Do I have to Change?)