He does X—I do Z.
Wait… I’m sober now. I don’t want to do Z anymore.
“Stop doing X so I can stop doing Z.” I tell him.
“WHAT are you talking about?” he retorts.
Sure pretends like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I can’t stop until he stops. He started it. I’m the one trying to get healthy here. Can’t he see how hard this is? Why can’t he just stop doing X? Why? And he wonders why I drank.
“How about you do Q when he does X?” my mentor suggests.
“What?” I blurt, as if she is speaking in tongues.
What could that possible mean? Is she actually suggesting I stop first?
She utters one quintessential question, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”
“I have to make a choice? What kind of nonsense is this? I am right and I am happy,” I exclaim.
Only SILENCE can be heard and then no SILENCE. No silence at all … only the incessant noise in my head.
“Are you?” she says. “This is you being happy? You demanding that he changes.”
“Yes, no, yes, no—wait, no … I don’t know. I don’t even know, that I know, what happiness is,” I mutter.
I hate when she’s dead-on. AND. I love when she’s dead-on. Mostly I have discovered I just don’t like finding out I am incorrect.
“No one ever taught me to do Q. I only know Z,” I mumble.
“So how long are you going to use that excuse?” she says.
“Apparently, not any longer,” I state begrudgingly.
“By the way, drinking was your escape. If you no longer want to drink, you will want to find a new way to function, lest you return to escaping,” she says.
Being right and being happy are not necessarily inclusive. As a matter of fact, I learn that when I demand they come together, they are a hindrance to my growth. I have positioned being right as the priority. I have put minimal effort toward choosing happiness.
Why have I never learned to make myself happy to choose happiness? Answer: I figured that was someone else’s job. Why was that someone else’s job? I wonder who taught me that. Then I realize it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I unlearn it. I’m not so sure I like this notion. It suggests that I have a choice. Choices scare me because then I cannot blame another. I am used to blaming.
It suggests that failure is now mine—to own. It also suggests that success is mine—to own.
Happiness is my job. Happiness is a choice. It takes some clean time, some personal development for me to learn this. It’s not another person’s responsiblity.
My first goal: He does X—I do Q.
My ultimate goal: He does X—I don’t notice. I’m busy enjoying life.
My discovery: It is not his job to stop pushing my buttons. It is my job to diffuse them.
Diffusing my buttons, now I am in recovery mode.