I have been rolling along feeling good, not F.I.N.E. but good. That is until yesterday afternoon when I started to obsess over something that happened over the weekend. I caught someone in a lie and even though the lie wasn't about anything significant, it sent me reeling back into a hurtful period of deception and secrets that happened over a month ago.
I have heard the joke in AA: "How can you tell an alcoholic is lying? His lips are moving." I don't find this joke funny. I don't find lying and secrets funny. And I find lack of trust to be not a stumbling block but a Mt. Everest that blocks the way in a relationship.
I used to think that if I explained the traumatic events of living in an alcoholic household and being in an alcoholic marriage, that people would shape up and give up their character defects for my benefit. I would make the people that I let treat me badly, that I let breach my boundaries, and that I let make me crazy into kind, caring, mature, and unselfish people. I would even practice having imaginary conversations with them, complete with their responses to some new slight that I had perceived.
In Al-Anon, I began to see that the responses that I get when I call a person on their shit isn't the one that I imagined, in fact it had no bearing at all sometimes on reality. Instead, I would generally get a response indicating that I was the one at fault, that lying and secrets didn't have to be explained to me, and that I was merely trying to control them by calling them on some behavior that was none of my business.
So yesterday when the committee in my head was talking loudly, I quietly gathered up my things, left the office, and went to my sailboat. As I walked along the dock, I stopped to talk to two fellows that I know. Both were cheerful and glad to see me. That helped to quiet the negativity running through my head. Then when I got to the boat, I pulled some lights out of the dock box and started stringing them on the boat. The snowflakes twinkled as the dusk came and the other lights that ran along the life lines made the boat seem happy. And right then, I had a talk with God and asked him to guide me into right thinking.
And just like that, the committee quieted down. The obsessing that I was doing over the character defect of another left me. And it was replaced with acceptance that people are not going to change because I want them to. The leopard will still have spots. I could then go to the meeting last night, enjoy the sharings, and go for fellowship afterward with a light heart.
I don't want to have Step One moments but am so glad when my belief in a power greater than myself can quiet the obsessive thinking and get me back on a path that is free of mountains of resentment.