One of my least favorite entries from Daily Reflections is today's.
Bringing The Message Home
Can we bring the same spirit of love and tolerance into our sometimes deranged family lives that we bring to our A.A. group?Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pp. 111 -112
My family members suffer from the effects of my disease. Loving and accepting them as they are—just as I love and accept A.A. members—fosters a return of love, tolerance and harmony to my life. Using common courtesy and respecting other's personal boundaries are necessary practices for all areas of my life.
— Daily Reflections for August 23
It says, "My family members suffer...". It does not say, "My family members used to suffer when I was still drinking...". Practicing these principles in the rooms of A.A. is so much easier than practicing them everywhere else, especially at home.
Nimue1 can be co-dependent, critical, self-righteous and controlling. Just my opinion, LOL. In addition, she's generally an overly permissive parent. Do I need to point out that this sometimes leads to havoc in my own life? Still, her own brother, in telling me what a hero I was to him and his brothers for hanging in with this marriage, paraphrased
Rev. Tim Lovejoy telling Marge Simpson,, "As a trained marriage counselor, this is the first instance where I've ever told one partner that they were 100% right. It's all his fault. I'm willing to put that on a certificate you can frame."2
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions says, "It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us." And I believe it.
The truth of this axiom hit me in the gut four years before I got sober (and more than eight years before we divorced), when Bitter Cookie announced that she had received an offer to go live with Idlerich and was thinking about taking him up on it. It knocked the wind out of me spiritually and, for whatever reason, led to the realization that I couldn't save the marriage by trying to change her.
Today I am trying to remember to use my own version of the 4th step prayer3:
God, help me to show this person the same tolerance, pity, and patience that I would cheerfully grant a sick friend. This is a sick person, like me. How can I be helpful to them? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.
With faith and perseverance, may I come to see her the way I believe my Higher Power sees her—as just another human being, trudging through life with her own plateful of issues. Pray for us both.
1 With this post I am introducing the cast of characters in my life, using my own personal mneumonics to keep them (and me) anonymous. There's an index to this cast on the sidebar to the left.
2 Of course, he swore me to secrecy. It was gratifying though, and the memory of him saying that has helped to save my sanity more than once.
3 Based on the prayer on p. 67 in the Big Book.