It happened again… I returned home from my recovery meeting, the second Wednesday in a row and my husband wasn’t himself. He had a rough day and chose to rely on his coping skills to get him through. If only he would understand there is an easier, softer way to get through our rough days. The truth hurts because I can’t change him, nor is it my job.
Each Wednesday night I spend time with others, just like me, desiring to grow. I have been working tirelessly to live a life not controlled by my environment. I found what works for me and to celebrate I go back for more. Just because something works for me doesn’t mean I am to expect others to want to do the same.
Change Is An Inside Job
Before I throw my husband under the bus I want to share with you the type of husband he is. He is supportive, loving, and stubborn. He has been my number one fan as I recover, but at the same time is missing his drinking buddy. We both decided together we had a problem with alcohol and do not want to live the life we once lived.
But our ideas of alcoholism and recovery do not look the same. So, a few months ago I decided to surrender our marriage to God and as a gift for our wedding anniversary, blogged about it, The Unraveling of a Marriage. Since, we have been hanging in, but definitely have had our struggles.
It pains me to watch him struggle, even when he doesn’t recognize his own struggles. This sounds like a wife talking, because we wives think we know it all! I have learned to search deep inside myself to recognize what contributes to my triggers. I have been successful at not allowing my environment and world around me set me off. The same can’t be true about my husband. His behaviors still trigger me, which tells me I still need to work on myself.
I Can’t Change Him, But I Can Change Myself
It barely sounds fair that my husband is allowed to hold onto what triggers him, while I need to not only work on myself, but learn coping skills to deal with his flawed self! That is how true change happens. I have to turn it up a notch, not just surrender to God, but actually do the work.
So, the other evening I attended (my second) a meeting for family members of alcoholics. Now you might question… Karen, but you still drink, doesn’t that make you an alcoholic? True, I have had my struggles and sometimes still do, but I am doing the work on myself to combat my problems. My husband and I do not drink together like we once did, but he is still struggling with his triggers (in my opinion) and not doing the work.
My goal is to learn to live with him, just as he is and allow him to live life the way he chooses. The meetings I attend will help me live with others, not just my husband, who are not doing the work. It is control that got me into this problem, so it is control which will need to get me out.
I Can’t Change Him or You
I am not looking to control you with my blogging but encourage for you to be open to change.
Surrendering to God is what works for me, but there are plenty of resources for people who do not have an identity in Christ. The article below is not Christian-based but helps me put my control problems in perspective and can help you too!
In Relinquishing Control to Others: 5 Ways It Serves You, Dina Strada shares, I realized that by just “holding space” for people, which, according to Heather Plett, means “being willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them or trying to impact the outcome,” I was able to be of better service to them, and in turn allow them to follow their own path. This article helps me to understand the importance of surrendering control in my life.