Thursday, October 30, 2008

Transforming my loss

At the noon meeting, we talked about losses. Some of us shared about losing loved ones to the disease. I shared about losing myself. It has taken me a lot of years to recognize that I am still grieving the loss of innocence that I had as a child and the loss of love that I experienced in my marriage.

The sadness, anxiety, anger, and emotional confusion that I experienced as a child were extended into my marriage to an alcoholic. I had a lot of expectations of others that never were met. I wanted closeness with my father who loved me but was emotionally distant. I wanted romance and the story-book stuff that I thought came with marriage. I didn't get any of those things.

After coming into Al-Alon, I came to realize that my expectations of other people were killing me. These expectations had been the reason that I felt sadness and grief for much of my life. I always wanted my father to be the warm supportive dad to me. And I wanted my wife to be the loving, happy and exciting bride. What this got me was a lot of anxiety over someone else's drinking. I came to feel lonely all the time because I didn't think that anyone would love me. And I really didn't know how to give love without manipulation and control.

Through the program, I've transformed my feeling of loss into a way that I can live my life in peace. The keys to my transformation were acceptance and surrender. I have come to accept that I can't make anyone over to be the way that I want them to be. I simply accept them for who they are and make a decision as to whether I want to be around them or not. I've come to realize that the real love comes from within me and from my Higher Power.

I still have those dark days when I forget that I can't change anyone else. I get lost in the expectations of what I want. I forget that I have to take what I like and leave the rest. Fortunately, the dark days don't happen often. And when they do, I know that there are resources I have from the program to help me get through to the light.


  1. I can relate to bringing thinkgs from my childhood with me into my marriage and I see how that was not fair now.

    When I make it to step four I will address that.

  2. Great post, and so true. I think we all sometimes have expectations that are too high of ourselves and others.

  3. Thank you, Syd. I really needed to hear this today. As usual, when I show up....I hear the things I need to hear.

  4. Yes, it's good to know we can find support and relief from these feelings.

  5. This is an amazing post and so true on both sides of the fence with Al Anon and AA...the losses, the expectations I had for myself, for others and the dreams that I gave up due to my own inability to see that I had a problem. Today I have a solution, but I recognize that I am a flawed human being...and I thank my Higher Power for AA, the meetings, the people, the bloggers and life.

  6. our expectations and the approval of others... to get beyond that.

  7. I actually dealt with a major resentment day before yesterday. Spent a 1/2 hour on the phone with my sponsor working through it to the point of knowing what my amend should be.

    It was amazing!

    I didn't realize I was still holding my church rector up as more "godly" than me, and it caused a great deal of anxst when I read a blog he had written and got immediately upset because (in my human judgemental view) the blog was confrontational, hypocritical, and didn't follow a scriptural path for how to deal with a person in your life who has "sinned" (Matt 18:15).

    I had expectations of him, and I was the one hurt by my expectations, because when he didn't meet with my self-centered expectations I got angry and disappointed and gave him power, which took God out of the equation.

    After 1/2 hour of intensive work with my sponsor, I realized what the resentment was, why it affected me so deeply, what my part was, and with prayer and a spirit of Love, I found my way to the amend and now I pray for the rector every day and await God's bidding me to go and make the amend.

    I can move into resentment so easily, I'm so grateful for the program for keeping me in a place where I recognize it so much more quickly and have someone who can help me work through it and blast it to oblivion, grateful that God is working in my life and brings people like you to help by sharing your experience as well.

    Thank God I'll never be alone!

    Blessings and Happy Halloween!!!

  8. The term..."an expectation is a future resentment" really helped put my expectations into perspective for me. I expected so much and expected everything to be a certain way...and it never was and I was, sometimes still am, so frustrated by that. In my marriage...well it is divine intervention that we have made it as far as we have. And we actually still like each other!

  9. I do struggle with this. Friends that don't keep in contact as often as I'd like, etc. My son who only calls when he wants something. It's hard to take what I like and leave the rest sometimes. And hard not to try to control. I'm always struggling with this one. I'd like to accept people for who they are but sometimes it's tough when they are not quite what I want them to be. I know that sounds awful.

  10. I have found that so much of recovery for me has been about going through a grieving process for what I've lost or never had.


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