October 25, 2011
The message today is “surrender.” The last few weeks while locking horns with my wife, I forgot to surrender. At times, I outright refused to.
It’s amazing because I wasn’t just fighting my wife, I was fighting myself. I got so knotted up hearing her pain, hurt, and anger that I started fighting fire with fire. While in the midst of the nearly two-month-long tension between us, I kept picking at my own psychic wounds. I kept focusing on my hurt, my disappointment, and my fear. And that only fed my anger, which then hardened into resentment.
If you know your resentment like I know mine, that’s a dangerous path to walk. The good news is, I was “acting as if,” despite the incredible tension. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with me and my wife but I knew I was consistently angry and I just kept sharing that at meetings and expressing that in phone calls and in therapy. And I kept wondering what was going to happen next, but doing all I could to just get by one day, often one hour at a time.
And then one day the AA Big Book’s famous parable about how “acceptance is the answer” bubbled up from my belly and into my heart and started to clear my head. Sure, I was doing all I could to reach out, but the fundamental tool I’d forgotten, even refused to use while in my anger, was surrender. And what an amazing weight was lifted when I finally did.
It’s not that I wasn’t still hurt or angry, but I returned to a place where I could at least communicate with my wife again and hear her hurt and anger. Two days later, she thanked me for not going off on her while she shared some big disappointments. I wasn’t defensive and I didn’t go back into despair or rage or resentment. I just heard her and thanked God for the ability to do so again in the process of my recovery.