Last night I went to an Anniversary meeting where there were AA and Al-Anon members. The Anniversary party was nice. The speaker was from both AA and Al-Anon. The message was clear about how she grew up in an Alcoholic family and later became an Alcoholic. I sat there listening to the lead and noticed when she spoke how she described her relationships with her alcoholic parents and later her own relationships when she was consumed in the alcoholic disease of her own. It was inspiring to know that although you may be affected by the alcoholic disease and you choose to get the help, work the program and do what you are required to do that any of your relationships past or present can be renewed.
I thought back at my past relationships with family and friends and realized how grateful I am to be sober today and have the ability to know how to care, nurture and love all the relationships in my life. When I was drinking my relationships were numb. Meaning there was no feelings behind them. I would just be present in the family with no effort in having any relationships with my mom, dad or sisters. I felt back than that they do not understand me so why should I try to understand them. I was very judgmental, hard and not compassionate when it came to my family. I want to just be left alone. I wanted to just isolate from them. I wanted to have nothing to do with them. I wanted no relationship with them.
I later realized after becoming sober that the disease of alcoholism causes you to isolate. I did that a lot especially when things were bothering me or I had things to hide from them. My friends, on the other hand, were carefully picked. I would only hang with friends that did and thought the same as I. These relationships were toxic. These relationships were broken. These relationships were controlled by me. These relationships were not relationships.
Today, after being sober for over 18 years I know what a relationship is. I know how to build a relationship with family and friends regardless of their short comings or character defects. I know that isolating from family and friends only hurts my spirit and causes me not grow. I know that having a relationship with my family and friends is a way to allow for me to learn more about me and my own character defects. I do realize that there are toxic family and friends out there but I have a choice today to set the record straight. I can confront situations without reacting or hiding behind an email. I can act like an adult regardless of how they are going to react and say what I need to say.
I do not have to avoid confrontations I am strong enough today to set my own boundaries and tell the other person how I feel. I am not bound to their reactions and most importantly I am not responsible for their issues, only mine. I have no expectations and I always check my motives before I speak to someone who has hurt or wronged me. Today, my relationships are joyful. My relationships are meaningful, loving and fulfilling. Lastly, as long as I am willing to allow relationships in my life I know I am allowing God’s message to be shared, learned and cherished. I love all my relationships!