An Online Al-Anon Email Meeting
After around three years in Al-Anon I thought I knew quite a lot about this slogan. My goodness, I certainly had been practising the "Let Live" part to the best of my ability. I wasn't dragging family members along to Al-Anon anymore and had let go somewhat of trying to fix and "save" the world. Somehow, I'd missed the first bit though, the "Live part."
I think that when my husband found sobriety, I had this unreal romantic expectation that we would then go walking tip-toeing through the tulips, hand in hand through life together.
I was wrong. When I asked again whether he was coming to Carols by Candlelight at our kid's primary school, he calmly told me that that was his A.A. meeting night and no, he wasn't.
I went along that night, feeling terribly resentful. Hadn't I been terribly patient about all these meetings he was going to, real families went places together, why was I the only wife in the world that had to go to school functions alone and so on and so forth.
I sat there stewing, full of self-pity and then something came over me. I guess I started putting my programme into practise. I looked around with my eyes open and saw that I certainly wasn't the only woman there on my own, that other husbands would have preferred to be somewhere else and more importantly, that I was missing out on something I always looked forward to.
I had been too per-occupied to really enjoy all those little ones sing. I also realised that for years the only thing I'd prayed for (even though I'd given up on God) was for my husband to be sober. Right, that was a reality now but still I wasn't content with that.
I mentally there and then did a gratitude list. I went through all the improvements there were in our marriage, and there were lots, that when we all arrived home, he would be happy. I looked at all the progress I, personally, had made and came to realise that I had a great deal to be grateful for.
I also realised that being dissatisfied with life just as it was today was holding me back. I had been saying to myself, I'll only be really happy when this or that happens, instead of living life as it comes along. My resentment fell away and I really enjoyed the rest of the evening. When I arrived home, my husband was met be a smile not by a glowering face.
That evening sticks in my mind as one of the moments that I made a quantum leap in my thinking. That I couldn't rely on others for my happiness. That I needed to live myself. And because I was going through life always looking for roses, I was missing out on seeing the wild flowers.
Rosemary in Oz