Everyone has heard this expression – not just those of us in recovery but others as well. From my own experience, it is very easy to say but much harder to practice.
Many of us often blame our problems (including our addiction) on other people. In my case, it was easier to avoid people and drink alone, rather than letting on how often and how much I drank. When I was confronted about my addiction, I could give what I thought were really good reasons for it – usually involving someone else’s behavior.
I always thought that I was a much happier person when I drank and got along better with people if I had a few drinks. In actual fact, I found myself getting argumentative with others because the alcohol gave me the “courage” to tell them what I really thought. I wanted people (especially family) to mind their own business, and I never considered their feelings or needs.
I have learned that it was actually guilt over my own addiction that made me hold grudges against those I did not agree with. Now I know that there are going to be people who do things in their lives that I don’t like. But I have to learn to live with the differences – it is essential to my peace of mind and my recovery. I am learning to tolerate or ignore what others say or do (unless of course it is constructive to me) – it’s just not worth getting angry and possibly relapsing.
“Live and let live” has become a mantra for me – I try to understand other people and respect their right to act the way they want. This is actually becoming easier with time – I am happy in my own life, and that makes it easier to let others do and be the same.