I still think about Eddie every day, but he's been on my mind much more than usual this past week. I know part of it is the time of year. My birthday was last month, Thanksgiving is this week, then there's Christmas, our anniversary, and New Year's. This is always a difficult stretch to get through. But it's also because three years ago this past week I spent five days and nights with Eddie at the rehab center in Statesboro. We came home the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I remember the time spent there like it was yesterday. I remember every class we attended, every meeting we went to, every speaker we heard, every movie we watched, every counseling session we had both separately and together. I learned things that week that I never knew before. I heard stories that I would have preferred not to hear. I told things to total strangers that I had never told my own family. I will remember that time for the rest of my life. It had a very strong, lasting, positive effect on me.
Every meeting in rehab began with the Serenity Prayer and ended with the Lord's Prayer. Of course I knew both of them and had said them many times in my life. But I realized that up until that week I had only been reciting the prayers. I had never really thought about the words and their meaning. I know now that no matter how many times I said them, there is one line of each prayer I was never able to follow - God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and Thy will be done. In all the years of my marriage I never accepted that it wasn't up to me to change Eddie's behavior. I was convinced I could make Eddie want to stop drinking. I thought that if I kept at it I could eventually make a difference. It was all about my will and what I wanted to be done. Now I know there are some things we simply cannot change or maybe that just aren't meant to be changed.
I don't like what I've learned. I don't like the things I've had to accept. I would much rather be in control of every aspect of my life. My family and friends tease me about being "OCD" because of the extreme order I keep in my house and in my classroom. I know I'm excessive about some of it, but in some ways I think this is a result of what I've been through. I wasn't able to control what happened with Eddie, so I've looked for other things in my life that I can control. I know the next six weeks aren't going to be easy, but I'll try to accept them for what they are and make the best of the time I have with the rest of my family. Maybe I'm realizing the meaning of the last line of the Serenity Prayer - the wisdom to know the difference - between what I can and cannot change.
"In this manner, therefore pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name ..."
The Model Prayer - Matthew 6:9-13