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Live and Let Live

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.

Opened My Eyes

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.

A Gratitude List

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

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