Finding myself highly elevated above the alcoholic in my life was a huge eye opener. Changing my attitude was time consuming. It took me a while to catch on to the concept that I was not better than them. Prior to grasping the fact that I had become filled with self righteous behavior, I had the attitude that everything wrong in my life was because of how the alcoholic was living their life.
I regularly would project all of life’s disappointments toward their behaviors. Honestly, I took very little responsibility for my life and was constantly placing blame on the alcoholic for my unhappiness.
Ahhh… if they would just quit drinking everything in life would be perfect. Somehow I thought that it was OK for me to lord over them by telling them how they should be living their life.
In my frustration, at a moments notice, I could call them a degrading name. When they would break engagements, I would always tell them how awful they had treated me.
I blamed them for all of our relationship problems and financial difficulties. When the electric bill couldn’t get paid because she didn’t work for three days, it was all her fault. My attention was always focused on the alcoholic judging what they were doing or not doing.
I would get high on my judgement throne and confront every single lie, telling them I know you are not telling me the truth. When things didn’t go the way I thought they should have, I could never keep a handle on my mouth or emotions. I would just blurt out anything that came to mind about how she was behaving.
I had become the master of criticism, disapproval and ridicule towards her. I also had very little self-control. Nothing that I have shared so far sounds like a healthy person living with another healthy person. Actually, the truth is that before I learned how to change my behaviors, I was really not well at all.
I have a friend who says: “one sick person, judging another sick person is sick, sick, sick.”
Learning to be more humble took a lot of practice over a couple of years. Changing my attitude toward an alcoholic was a challenging task. I knew I could do it because the alcoholism support group members I was associating with at the time had done it. Here’s where I feel the root of my problem was, I needed to love myself. Once I started liking me, I didn’t need the approval of my alcoholic for much of anything.
I was able to have stable emotions because my opinion of myself was not dependent upon the alcoholic’s behaviors.
Somehow I began to realize that my happiness was totally dependent upon my attitude in life and had nothing to do with how the alcoholic was behaving. I was responsible for my own happiness. It was all about changing my attitude.
Here are a few things I did in order to not be so high and mighty over her:
- Quit calling her names
- Never just hung up the phone without saying goodbye
- Stopped confronting the lies
- Refused to argue – Got a life of my own and quit keeping tabs on her all of the time
- Expressed my love to her more than my frustrations with her
- Vented my irritations with the alcoholic on my support group friends rather than to my alcoholic spouse
- Quit thinking that I was always right and actually told her that she might be right once in a while
- Lived by the slogan: “How Important Is It?”
- Quit blaming her for my unhappiness and started getting happy on my own
- Discovered the freedom in letting go of the problem drinker
In short, the way I stopped being the high and mighty self righteous one was, I quit pointing the finger at what the alcoholic was doing all of the time. I started minding my own business and taking responsibility for my own life.
What were the results of my changes in behavior? I am a much happier person now. I most definitely smile more often, argue less and enjoy life more