Addiction changes everyone. So, we each need our own program of recovery, separate and unique from all others. I scan over 300 blogs in my various RSS readers so I come across amny good blog posts. Today I found a great validation to having your own program.
From Codependent Life by Sharon W: “It was in recovery that I learned how to love myself enough to not to allow his disease to destroy me.“:
At first I was in denial. I made all sorts of excuses for the problems in my marriage, for my alcoholics drinking and for my own behavior. But it was pride that held me a prisoner to the insanity of my day to day life. I thought if I could just control my alcoholic then no one would know. My alcoholic and I played these cat and mouse games trying to outwit each other. Thus began the insidious spiral of self-destruction for both my alcoholic and myself.
Even though we were divorced, I loved my first husband until the day he died. But the evil of his disease changed me, it changed him, and it changed the love we shared. I have no doubt in my mind that without this program I would have hated him. It was only through recovery that I learned how to have compassion for his struggle; it was through recovery that I learned how to separate the disease from the man – which helped me to hate the disease but not hate the man. It was in recovery that I learned how to love myself enough to not to allow his disease to destroy me. Which in my case meant that I had to walk away.
I don’t want to imply that I found peace and happiness in my life because I divorced my alcoholic. That is not how it happened for me. I found peace and great measures of happiness while I was living in the throws of an alcoholic marriage. Sure there was hurt and pain. It is extremely painful to watch someone else self-destruct knowing that there is not a darn thing you can do about it. Peace for me came because I accepted that alcoholism was an illness that I did not cause it. Nope! It had nothing whatsoever to do with me and I had no control over his drinking. Just knowing and believing those two things took a huge burden of guilt off of me. Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to had the power to save him from self-destruction but I just did not have that power. Realizing those two things stopped me from doing a lot of crazy stuff trying to out maneuver him.
The reason I said I had great measures of happiness, and not simply saying I found happiness, is because I live in the real world. Life has ups and downs whether we have an alcoholic in our life or not. There is good and bad in the world and we don’t always have control over the things that happen to us. There are times when I have had to hurt through some of the things that happened to me. I don’t like it, I can’t stop or change it but I do have to live through it jus the same. Such is life.
After my divorce I remarried. I married a man that had 3 sons and had custody of them. I had 3 daughters – we called them the bratty bunch. All six of our kids had issues and that doesn’t even include what we went through getting them through their teenage years. Believe me it was hard. Many times they tried to divide and conquer us.
I have no doubt in my mind that if I had not learned to love and respect myself while I was married to my alcoholic there is no way that my second marriage could have survived the chaos that blending 6 kids created. My husband says that I was the glue that held us all together – in a way he’s right. But the real truth is that it was the tools of my program that taught me how to live One Day At A Time, taught me to look at my motive, taught me to do the right thing for the right reason and not because I was afraid of not be liked and accepted or some other “wrong” reason. It taught me how to detach with love over things I have no control over.
I was broken before I met my alcoholic. In many ways I will always be grateful for marrying and alcoholic because it brought me to my recovery program. It was through my program that I developed the tools to live my life, regardless of the problems I might am facing, in a healthy way.