If you and your partner (the alcoholic) find a solution for the pressing problem of drink you are, of course, going to be very happy. But all problems will not be solved at once. In spite of your new-found happiness, there will be ups and downs. Many of the old problems will still be with you. This is as it should be.
The faith and sincerity of both you and your partner will be put to the test. These work-outs should be regarded as part of your education, for thus you will be learning to live. You will make mistakes, but if you are in earnest they will not drag you down. Instead, you will capitalize them. A better way of life will emerge when they are overcome.
Some of the snags you will encounter are irritation, hurt feelings and resentments. Your partner will sometimes be unreasonable and you will want to criticize. Starting from a speck on the domestic horizon, great thunderclouds of dispute may gather. These family dissensions are very dangerous, especially to your partner. Often you must carry the burden of avoiding them or keeping them under control. Never forget that resentment is a deadly hazard to an alcoholic. We do not mean that you have to agree with your partner whenever there is an honest difference of opinion. Just be careful not to disagree in a resentful or critical spirit.
You and your partner will find that you can dispose of serious problems easier than you can the trivial ones. Next time you and he have a heated discussion, no matter what the subject, it should be the privilege of either to smile and say, “This is getting serious. I’m sorry I got disturbed. Let’s talk about it later.” If your partner is trying to live on a spiritual basis, he will also be doing everything in his power to avoid disagreement or contention.
Your partner knows s/he owes you more than sobriety. S/he wants to make good. Yet you must not expect too much. Patience, tolerance, understanding and love are the watchwords. Show your partner these things in yourself and they will be reflected back to you from him/her. Live and let live is the rule. If you both show a willingness to remedy your own defects, there will be little need to criticize each other.
Reprinted from the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, page #117-118, with permission of AA World Services, Inc.
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DNA Newspaper Mumbai Edition Published Date: Oct 09, 2012