There are some days that I wake up and feel a lot of joy. That's probably most of the time. Then there are those days that I wake up and feel sorry for myself, feel frustrated, or sad. Today I am leaning towards frustration and anger. I am frustrated and angry at alcoholism.
In Al-Anon, we say that we love the person but hate the disease. Today I'm hating the disease. I realize that no matter how much I would like to undo my wife's alcoholism, she will always be an alcoholic. There is nothing I can do to change that. The leopard was born with spots and will still have those spots until death.
I hate that alcoholism is a unique disease that tells a person they don't have a disease at all, they don't need help and that just one drink won't make their life unmanagable. The alcoholic's mental obsession with alcohol is subtle. Even after the sobriety comes, the manifestations of alcoholism can still be present. Yet, from reading the book Alcoholics Anonymous I have learned that alcoholism “is an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.” And in “The Doctor’s Opinion” introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. Silkworth writes that: ". . . the body of the alcoholic is quite as abnormal as his mind. It does not satisfy us to be told that we cannot control our drinking just because we were maladjusted to life, that we were in full flight from reality, or were outright mental defectives. These things were true to some extent, in fact, to a considerable extent with some of us. But we are sure that our bodies were sickened as well. In our belief, any picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is incomplete."
I see my sweet C. as she bakes cookies, does her gardening, smiles at me as we get into bed, snuggles against me. I see this and want her to be "normal"-- whatever the hell that is. And my adverse reaction to the disease made me fearful, obsessed, controlling and resentful. I was exhibiting all the effects of alcoholism without taking a single drink!
I now know that in order for me to have any serenity in my life, I have to accept that she is an alcoholic. I cannot change her "spots". And I have to focus on taking care of what needs to be done to keep me in a good place emotionally and spiritually. I have recovered my balance, mind, body and spirit by focusing on my own recovery in Al-Anon. And just writing this out today has gotten me to a better place.