"DIGNITY, RESPECT, AND LOVE"
I did not always agree with the excerpt from "One Day At A Time In Al-Anon" (ODAT) that I will be quoting. I certainly didn't believe that my alcoholic husband deserved to be treated with dignity. I did have contempt for him. I did not understand that he was sick. I just thought he was crazy and "out to get me". I was, of course, the victim in this scene.
Then, the tables turned and I ended up in the same role that my first husband had occupied. I became an alcoholic too. I hated myself and had absolutely no self-esteem and felt I didn't deserve dignity or respect. I had none for myself.
From ODAT, September 20, p. 264:
"If irrational and irresponsible behavior on the part of the alcoholic has betrayed us into assuming an attitude of contempt for him, some serious examination of ourselves is in order.
They are not "bad boys,"....They are sick, confused and guilt-ridden human beings with badly battered egos.
God has given no one the right to humiliate another....
It is vital to my serenity to separate, in my mind, the sickness of alcoholism from the person who suffers from it. I will dignify him with the respect which is everyone's due. This, in turn, will give him back the self-esteem that is an important element in wanting sobriety."
Before finding any recovery this was a very tall order. When I was the wife of an alcoholic and without Al-Anon, I would never have understood these words. But then becoming an alcoholic put me in a position that caused me to begin to see things differently. I desperately needed any shred of respect and dignity I could find. I certainly didn't believe I deserved it. I found Alcoholics Anonymous and my transformation of attitude began. Then I found Al-Anon and my ability to see everything in a new light and more clearly, grew.
I can hate the behavior of an alcoholic and yet still love the God-given soul that rests within that person. I was able to experience this for myself in my own life and then I was able to extend this loving compassion to other alcoholics. Al-Anon has shown me how to give a sick person that respect without betraying my own self - my values, morals, and quality of life.
Thank God for Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon. They have helped me develop love and compassion for all God's people.