Upon reflection, I admit that asking TL for a second opinion on whether I should have a drink was an attempt to avoid responsibility for my own decision. Implicating someone else in the decision could allow me to blame that person rather than myself for the consequences of my decision. It’s a bad habit, and I will work to stop it.
The decision whether to drink a beer is rather insignificant by itself. There was, of course, one very significant, negative case when I evaded responsibility by refusing to make, and commit to, a decision. I think I evaded committing to monogamous marriage, essentially telling myself I would play by the rules when under scrutiny and break the rules when I believed I could get away with it. Obviously, I should have either kept my promise of faithfulness to TL or not made such a promise.
It’s not possible to enjoy the beer without also slowing my mind and body temporarily and adding worthless calories permanently. It’s similarly impossible to enjoy the benefits of loving monogamous marriage while violating its tenets. The child’s way to forgive myself for making certain decisions, so to speak, in the beer example is to blame someone else for my decision not to enjoy the beer, or my decision to add the worthless calories to my waistline.
In the marriage example, I forgave myself for my poor decision by making no decision whatsoever, by setting up the possibility of taking both paths but not committing to either one. When unhappy about my inability to have extramarital sex, I blamed my marriage. And, when unhappy about lack of closeness with my spouse I blamed her, rather than my own lack of commitment to the marriage.
What can I learn from this? Make decisions, or not, and take responsibility for their consequences. If I order the same thing TL orders in a restaurant, I do not blame her if the meal turns out too fattening, costly, or tasteless. If I don’t get sex tonight, I don’t blame her for not being in the mood. I recognize my role in creating the mood. If I drink a whisky after the kids go to bed, I won’t implicate anyone else in the consequences to my waistline or alertness. In short, I’ll strive to take responsibility.
Yes, I can look back to my parents and how they failed to teach me responsibility. But, especially at age forty-six, I am responsible for learning responsibility. I am responsible for learning to grow up.