There was a good meeting that I attended with the topic being dealing with unacceptable behavior. I could write a book on that one topic. It brings up a lot of feelings from the past. I put up with the unacceptable behavior of others and dished out my own unacceptable behavior in retaliation. I found it hard to change my attitudes and harder to draw a line in the sand that would be my boundaries.
I was on a merry-go-round. I kept going round and round with the alcoholic, and I kept getting what it was that I didn't want because I wasn't working at getting what I wanted. I wanted her to give me all the emotional stuff that I hadn't gotten at home and she couldn't. She was too sick, and I was also sick.
I was expecting normal things from within an alcoholic relationship that was abnormal. There was no way that I could get health from sickness, or get my Higher Power to answer my selfish prayers to work a miracle on another. I was having problems with my own addiction to the alcoholic. Her drinking perpetuated her illness and my compulsion to make her stop or behave differently perpetuated mine.
The reality of it all was and still is, "If nothing changes....nothing changes." I found that I don't need permission to move my life in a direction of peace of mind and serenity. I don't need permission from the alcoholic or anyone else to change toward the better. I was in denial, or I minimized my pain by saying, "The devil I know is better than the devil I don't know." Yet ultimately I owed it to myself to have dignity and a sense of self-worth. But that won't happen if I had continued a posture of "submission to a degrading situation."
I like having a boat analogy (surprise!). I found that I was missing out on a lot of life by waiting around for others to change. I was waiting for their boat to sail back into port. And in reality I didn't know if they were even on a boat. So I began to change my own behavior and quit waiting around for others to join me. Luckily my wife decided that she wanted to make her own changes.
It's up to me to get rid of my unacceptable behavior. The alcoholic may or may not do so. She may miss the boat entirely. If you're living with the disease, you can make changes anytime you like. Now might be a good time.
"I will remember that knowing my boundaries does not mean forcing others to change; it means that I know my own limits and take care of myself by respecting them. The focus, today, is on me. " from Courage to Change.
"When will I realize that I need not permit the alcoholic's behavior to confuse my life and destroy my peace of mind? When will I learn that there is no compulsion, in law or ethics, that forces me to accept humiliation, uncertainty and despair? Have I perhaps accepted it because I have a subconscious desire for martyrdom? Do I secretly relish feeling sorry for myself and want sympathy from others?" from One Day at a Time