One day in a meeting, a friend mentioned that he and his wife bought an adjustable bed with dual controls. The controls allowed them to elevate their heads, change the temperature, and adjust the firmness or softness of the mattress. For a while, they slept great and woke up rested and full of energy.
Time went by. One day, I asked him about his bed and he said, “It is terrible.” He was mad and irritable. He said he was not sleeping at all and was tired of the bed. I was surprised because I’ve heard that those beds are very nice. More time went by and one day he said, “I found out what was wrong with my bed. I had my wife’s control and she had mine!” That was why their sleeping time was unmanageable.
I laughed for a while, and then I experienced a revelation from God—my life is unmanageable because I have my boyfriend’s remote control and he has mine. I became aware of all the times I wanted my boyfriend to do things my way, and he wanted me to do things his way. We did this without talking to each other; we tried to read each other’s mind instead, which always ended in frustration and disappointments.
Accepting that I want to control him because I know what is best for his life is insanity. I am pushing the buttons of his control, and he doesn’t want to live his life my way. The same goes for me; I don’t want to live my life his way. Our lives are unmanageable when we try to control each other.
Accepting that he lives his life differently, and accepting that “different” does not mean “bad” was a big part in my recovery. My action part was to give him back his “remote control,” to take my “remote control” back, and to pray:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept that I cannot control his life,
The courage to only use my remote control to change my life,
And the wisdom to know what remote control I have every morning before I start my day.”
My life has changed in a positive direction as I continue my path to recovery.
By Ana E., Colorado
The Forum, April 2016
Reprinted with permission of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.