Getting out of my daughter's life and focusing on my own

Three and a half years ago, I found myself in a high school guidance counselor’s office, crying about the latest crisis with my daughter. She had totaled my van on prom night, driving drunk. Through the grace of God, no one was killed or seriously injured, but it was my wakeup call. Through the grace of this gentle counselor, I was advised to go to Al‑Anon.

I have heard people share that it took them several meetings to decide if Al‑Anon was right for them, but I knew that I belonged from that very first meeting. My life had been insane for years. My ex-husband was an alcoholic, but we have been divorced for a long time. I realized I had been in denial of my daughter’s alcohol and drug abuse from the time she was thirteen. After years of desperately trying to fix my daughter, I was at rock bottom and ready to do anything to make my life better. I wanted the peace and serenity I saw in the other members.

I attended meetings, got a Sponsor, and worked the Steps with my Sponsor. After doing my Fourth and Fifth Steps, I was miraculously free of all of the guilt from my past that I had been dragging around for years.

Then I moved to a different area, far enough from my Sponsor where we no longer seemed to have time to meet. I attended meetings regularly, but my new lifestyle involved frequent travel. Even though I read Conference Approved Literature daily, participated in an on-line Step group, and attended meetings, I found myself becoming isolated. It got to the point where I couldn’t pick up the phone. Last spring, I finally realized I needed to make some changes.

I got a new Sponsor and started working the Steps again. My Sponsor suggested I declare one of the many meetings I attended as my home group. This made a huge difference—I had a place where I was accountable and would be missed if I didn’t show up.

I now have many friends. I can pick up the phone and call them, or at least exchange hugs with them at meetings. I get to serve as the Group Representative for my home group. I even went to an Al‑Anon fundraiser a few weeks ago with my boyfriend, which I never imagined would happen.

My relationship with my daughter is amazing. Once I got out of her life and focused on my own, my Higher Power stepped in and allowed me to love that little girl again and recognize her disease. We have wonderful conversations today and I enjoy the times when I get to see her. She hasn’t chosen recovery yet. Maybe someday she will. I don’t know and I am okay with it. She’s on her own path, and whatever she decides will be her choice.

I found a new life in Al‑Anon, I will “Keep Coming Back,” because I never want to go back to the way I was before.

By Linda R., Oregon
The Forum, May 2012

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