It never ceases to amaze me that I can go to a meeting and hear what I need to hear. Tonight's topic was about control. Whether it is the alcoholic trying to control us or us trying to control the alcoholic, the end result is one of resentment that grows into anger.
After the meeting an older fellow who is living with an active alcoholic told me that he understood exactly what I was saying about the difficulties that arise in relationships with the alcoholic. He said that he'd been asked many times why he didn't just leave his wife. His answer was "Well, you see, I love the old girl."
And those who love others often are willing to forgive and try to forget. I can remember how I would be swayed by the words "I'm sorry" after drunken episodes. I would believe those words and kept believing them until I finally realized that maybe the words were sincerely spoken at the time but the follow through wasn't there.
A few words of love or promises can spin us into denial. Sometimes, belief in those words can keep us denying that we are being lied to, mistreated, or abused. But I've learned the hard way that if behavior doesn't match what a person is saying, then I'm allowing myself to be controlled and deceived. A person not only has to talk the talk but walk the walk.
Just like the fellow at the meeting, I also love my alcoholic. I can't control what she does, but I also don't have to accept her words as being the truth. I get to work my program, take my own inventory and communicate with my HP. I've let myself be harmed by words, both kind and unkind. But I know that through my HP, I will eventually know the truth.
I know I'm controlling, but so is my husband. Possibly more controlling than I am. Each time I set out to leave him, each time I started to walk away, he knew exactly what to say to pull me back in. And he knew I'd respond. He knew how to say exactly what I needed to hear to keep me where he wanted me. He knew what he was doing, and he knew what I would do. I know, because after we began recovering, he told me so.