Irish Serenity Prayer: Part 3 Personal Relationships


I have voluntarily given my liberty to God. I am not going to voluntarily give that liberty to anyone else ever again. I tried that and inevitably it led to a conflict between my loyalties and my citizenship. I had to eventually ask myself, who do I belong to? Do I belong to my Creator or to this individual whom I love (or fear)?

As I write this, I know many women have the same issue because they love an addict and are trying to hold things together by sheer willpower. I have lived with power struggles most of my life. I have discovered there is a big difference between those and healthy relationships.

Sometimes I think there should be a separate word for a relationship that’s healthy. They should be called something other than a simple relationship.*

Even the connection between a slave and a master is called a relationship. That’s not what I want in my personal life.

The antonym for relationship is independence. If they are opposite, then you can’t have friends, family or anyone else you relate to and be independent. That doesn’t sound right to me.

I am by nature, fairly independent. But I have a history of good long-term relationships that add joy and meaning to my life. Those sustaining relationships are about love and respect.

We’re back to the idea of liberty. I want the freedom, or the liberty to be Heidi. It is my goal and desire to grow to become more like the unique Heidi Ho that God created. There is only one of me. (no applause) Therefore I owe it to God to become the best me that I can possibly be.

I also want to be a good friend, daughter, sister and mother. But those are roles and the roles should not define me or take away my liberty to be uniquely me. I want to relate to my family and my friends in healthy ways but in the really true-to-me ways that make me a genuine article.

Conversely, I don’t want to relate to my friends or family in a way that makes me less than me. I don’t want to be treated like a slave or a pet or a possession. I want to be able to choose within the relationship to speak my mind, talk about my feelings and express my opinions in appropriate ways.

No one wants to fight for the right to be heard in a personal relationship. That shouldn’t be necessary. I’m sorry that this is often the case when we relate to alcoholics. The reality is that we addicts are not easy to live with or relate to, especially if we do nothing but drink or stay dry.

It is working the steps that makes the difference and then continuing to work the program. So what do you do if your loved one is still drinking or just dry?

A.  You accept where you are by facing the reality of your situation. (Step 1)

B.  You accept who you are by beginning to find your unique self. (Step 3)

* I will take ideas for the new word in comments! Come on, we need a new word here!