Before I attended my first meeting, I was much too focused on my alcoholic wife’s behavior and not nearly focused enough on my own. In fact, I was heavily focused on anyone’s behavior besides my own. I tried to make others live the way I wanted them to, thinking I could change them.

Despite my repeated attempts to curb my wife’s behavior through subtle manipulation, my words always fell short, and, if anything, the behavior got worse—both hers and mine. So, when I first heard the slogan “Live and Let Live,” I knew it was something I had to learn right away.

It wasn’t long before I saw some progress in myself. I still had a lot to work on, there was no doubt about that, but the constant watching and repeated attempts to control decreased. I learned that I could not control anyone else, and after a handful of meetings, even the thought of trying sounded completely ridiculous. It had never worked before, so what would make me think it would now?

I’m constantly working to get better in this area—keeping track of my own life and letting other people deal with theirs. I strive to make significant and constant progress, knowing that it will be a lifelong process. But I know if all else fails, this slogan has real-life meaning to me. It will constantly be there as a reminder that I have to take care of myself first and let everyone else do the same… if they want to. And if they don’t, that’s their choice too.

By Peter B.

The Forum, December 2022

Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm website or newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.