Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Letting Go

I went to a noon day Al-Anon meeting. I sat there with my mouth closed and I prayed.

I have been doing a lot of praying lately. I have never been a pray-er before Al-Anon.

About a year and a half ago a therapist my wife and I were seeing, told me to go to Al-Anon. My wife had stormed out of the meeting - she was drunk and neither the therapist nor me recognized that she was blitzed until 40 minutes into the session.

He said - "Are you a spiritual person?" My thoughts were: Are you freaking crazy???!! I have a wife who drives around town drunk with children in the car. Are you asking me to worship some sort of thing?!

I had no clue what spiritual meant. I think about this now as I type this. You see I forgot about this - and the question the therapist asked me. And I forgot how the question triggered in me a sense of - "Are you for freakin' real???"

The Al-Anon Meeting - Letting Go
But this post is about letting go. The topic was Progress not Perfection and Letting Go. Everyone commented on Progress. I don't think I am a perfection addict. I would like to be seen as brilliant - is that perfection? Maybe.

My Burning Issue of the Week
I sat in the room and listened - but I prayed to "let go." I was obsessing over my wife's comments from the morning before - she said the counsellor at school was very disturbed about my daughter's comments about me and she - the counselor - was going to call the state's Family and Child Protective Services on me. Now, you talk about fear? I left the conversation with my wife with so much fear - I was calling everyone. I finally got hold of the school counsellor and she said, "What? I have no thoughts about calling them. What I can tell is you are providing consequences for your child's bad behavior." I have taken her cell phone away for a day or two at a time, taken away computer privileges and one time - no - two times sent her to her room. I could not be seen as an oger or some weirdo that needs the state to be brought in. But the alcoholic - or the alcoholism - will lie. It will outfox the most brilliant. And it has staying power. Just when you let your guard down - BAMM! You are on the ropes.

Letting Go and Compassion
Anyway - I am letting go. Or trying to. I find that if I can feel compassion for my wife - the anger dissipates. Look, she is ill. She is stressed about the divorce as well. Yes, she has plenty of money. Yes, she chooses not to work. Yes, she is mad at me. All of these things are none of my business and - I don't need to think about them - (but I do!). She does what I call "mean things." Yep - mean equals setting me up about this calling the state Child Protective Services. Yep. And I think she is manipulating our child. Yep. But what can I do? She is - frankly - sick.

So, I feel compassion for her - when I want to heal. Yes, is compassion for her - or is it for me? I used to think it was for the alcoholic. But in reality, it is for me. Because I can let go by using or thinking with compassion. It may be the best tool I have - for me!

I am - in recovery - and damn proud of it. If I obsess or get into her head - is that going to help me or hurt me? I know the answer; it's going to hurt me. It will loop me back to old behavior. My ego is addicted to the old behavior and wants me to go back there.

Letting go is knowing I have no control of the past, nor what others are doing or saying.

A Couple of Quotes
I have a couple of quotes from Robert Anthony here. I hope they help you today;

  • Everything you have not cleared up from the past is running your life now.
  • What you have today is the result of your ideas yesterday.
  • You limit yourself in being stuck in your possessions and accomplishments.
  • The decisions we made in order to survive when we were 8 years old are the decisions we allow to run our lives now.
  • We learn to be happy by healing our fears.
  • The "art of release" can be very healing in that we learn to let of that which does not belong to us.
  • Actually, we don't own anything. Everything in our lives tend to circulate in and out of our experience.

Letting go of the past. Especially the things we used to survive. And we don't own anything. If I can hold onto those two thoughts forever, I feel some consolation? Is that the right word?

I came into the world with nothing and I will leave the world with nothing.

I don't need to be anything for anyone. I just need to be. Be me.

Hope you are well


Sharon said...

Am new to AL ANON and learning every day. Letting go is big. Loving with detachment is big. Hard lessons but just for today I am going to surrender my will to my Higher Power and let Him work these things in my life. Thank you for your writing on this day.

Cat said...

Beautiful and I get this on so many levels. My son's school called child protective services after my son said that his dad hit shis mother. It was true, it was not a lie. it was embaressing but I was able to prove my boys and I were in therapy. I was able to prove that I cared for my children. I wish I was asked to prove how I cared for myself by staying in that, but I was sick and I see that now.

This quote will follow me today - The decisions we made in order to survive when we were 8 years old are the decisions we allow to run our lives now.

Thank you for this post.

Syd said...

Great post Joe. I talked about letting go when I led the beginner's meeting last night. It's a hard concept for some to grasp, especially for those who aren't willing to surrender yet. Hang in there.

Laurie said...

As is often said, I found just what I needed here today. I read you guys regularly and don't often post, but today it was the medicine I needed. My husband just finished a binge and I'm getting the normal apologies and promises...I have learned so much from you all, I know I can't make him do what I want him to do (dangit!) and I have to let him find his own way. Yet I want to jump in now and make him come up with a plan and promise to stick to it so this won't happen again. I want to let out all this pent up anger. Each time I start, I know it's pointless. I can't control him. (dangit!) I have to let go. I feel like I'm letting my marriage fail if I let go. I think by letting go my house of cards will crumble. I know I need to surrender. I feel better when I do. Surrender = Freedom. Thanks for your post today.

Kim A. said...

I have been there with the CPS thing and it took me to a new level of fear back then. I was still on the merry-go-round but was attending Alanon so I didn't stay for the ride as long. My experience has proven to me if I get up, get a connection (with HP) and do the next right thing, NO ONE can take away my serenity. I pray alot these days, too, cause being close to my HP makes it alot easier when life throws me a curveball. I made alot of mistakes in my marraige and it is hard for me to look at them without pointing a finger at him but if I am to get better, I have to look at me and me alone. Tough one there.


Anonymous said...

I find that letting go of the fantasy that I am in a "normal" marriage is in telling the truth. Calling the school counselor was also getting the truth out. And the counselor reaffirmed that you also are not in a "normal" marriage and your daughter's mother is not a "normal" mother. It feels good to let go and let the truth out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Joe. I left my boyfriend recently because of his drinking, but I realize I have not yet let go. I am afraid to sever ties completely because some part of me believes that I can still help him. That I can somehow convince him he has a problem.

Anonymous said...

Joe, good post. I too like the quote about the decisions we made when we were 8 years old are the decisions we allow to run our lives now.

When I catch my thoughts drifting to my husband's alcoholism I think of something I read a while ago. (sorry can't remember the source) This book was describing how many people unconsciously need drama in their lives, be it drama created by themselves or drama in the form of others causing turmoil for them.

Anyway, the book said we all have the freedom to choose the path of drama or to choose the path of peace.

So each time my thoughts begin to wander to the subject of his alcoholism, I think to myself, "I will choose the path of peace."

I can't figure out why but this works for me lately. Maybe it is because I definately do not want to see myself as a drama queen!