My peace belongs to me, but it is so easy to give it away or let someone take it. One gem I have heard in Al‑Anon meetings is “Don’t take the bait.” I may be quite happy and in a good mood, but if a loved one makes a criticism and I choose to engage or defend myself, my good mood will slip away. I simply don’t have to take the bait; I can acknowledge that I heard what was said and then change the subject or let them know I am going for a walk. It is my choice whether or not I get into an argument. I don’t have to attend every argument I am invited to; I have a choice. Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?—as the saying goes.
I am so used to defending myself that I often fail to realize that I don’t have to. What other people think of me is none of my business. Certainly, I can take their words in, and I may even decide to make a few changes in the future or not. I can take what may be useful information and leave the rest. I am the keeper of my mood and attitude; I don’t have to be a victim. I am powerless over other people, but I can adjust my part in it. I can choose happiness and keep my peace. Today, I will choose to keep my peace.
By Steve R., Maryland
The Forum, May 2019
I also try to keep such matters simple and as a way to get with and retrain my original thinking as a child who didn’t think in abstract terms. Such encounters can be an opportunity if patiently and gently reframed.
Some people upset me. They don’t have to. The world is bigger and more beautiful than that. Choose peace and tranquility.
I am in the middle of a divorce after being married to the love of my life for 8 years and being with him for almost 17 years. This is my first time on this site and it is really helping me to work through some of my pain and better understand where my anger and resentment has been coming from in my relationship. I am so angry with my alcoholic husband right now. Today we sold our dream house after only being in it for a year. I feel as if all of our adventures together and the ones… Read more »
This is so very true. I’m there with you when it comes to automatically defending myself. Sometimes I find myself defending things/ideas even though I actually agree with the other side! Thank you for sharing this and reminding me “I dont have to attend every argument I’m invited to.” Thank you!
This I find to be true is that I continue to get caught up in reactivity and when I am caught in it- I see myself as a victim. I do not see in those moments that I have choices. I have a hard time taking feedback, it is challenging to just hear it and take what I like and choose to leave the rest. I am grateful to Al-Anon meetings and the wisdom I hear in the readings and from others. There are opportunities every day to create peace and serenity for myself regardless of how others behave.
This information is so helpful because as a person dealing with codependency since my divorce from a angry violent marriage, I find myself attracted to alcoholics and recovering addicts. These relationships leave me broken and sad. I finally started attending Al-Anon due to a long term on and off relationship with a functional alcoholic. As we get closer, I see more layers of not only his dysfunction but also my own dysfunction and realize that I only have control over my behavior. So I am doing my own recovery for my codependency as a result of the effects of generational… Read more »
Great words of inspiration. I wrote the two paragraphs down in my journal so that I can read them as a daily mantra. You see I just happen to realize the fact that all this time I have been arguing with a liquor bottle. Yes, nowadays when I look at my alcoholic all I see is a liquor bottle, and that liquor bottle has stolen my peace, or should I say I unknowingly gave the liquor bottle my peace and happiness. I took the bait! Thanks to the topic above I will be a better keeper of my internal and… Read more »
I’m a newlywed, having married a sober alcoholic whose in program as I am. I’ve been married to someone without program and with addictions before. Currently, I am practicing not to chose to “take the bait” and join his human moments that tend to frustrate me. Most of the time “the bait” means that either one of us are tired, hungry, or need some space, or he may have some underlying issue that has nothing to do with me. And he has alcoholic isms that he needs to work through with his Higher Power. I’m presently studying Tradition 1, which… Read more »
I burst into tears after reading the first couple sentences….I just recently overcame some debilitating health issues and have finally started to feel happy again, but that happiness gets taken away every night due to my boyfriends mental and emotional abuse. My hurt, and anger take over me, and “I take the bait” as easily as he gives it. Reading this has been that much needed reminder that I don’t need to engage in his unnecessary fights, hurtful words or actions. As another said, I too loose my temper and then he’s able to turn it around on me and… Read more »
I can let a remark my loved one makes go knowing that I can always go back later and say something I need to say when I’ve calmed down. I think the thing that kept me reacting is thinking I could never say what I needed to say and that was the only time I could say it. When I’m angry, I need to detach, but I can always choose, because I have choices, go back and say something. I don’t Have to be a doormat in order to be in recovery. There is a time to say something I… Read more »
My husband is an alcoholic, and mentally abuses me all the time. Most times I try to ignore the terrible names he calls me, but usually get into arguments, which I never win. Your comments about finding peace will stay with me and I will try to ignore him, but having suffered for 50 years and more I feel my life is not worth living.
Thank you so much for this. So often I have leapt to my own defence and, of course, ended up in a pointless argument where nothing was achieved other than me getting even more upset and my AH having the satisfaction that he had once again caused me to lose my temper and he was able to say very smugly “you have an anger problem. You need help.” I will remember your words – thank you.