Mother's hands-off approach was key to son's recovery

Our adult son was an alcoholic, and I was the perfect enabler. I thought I was helping by giving him money, food, and even doing his laundry—until one evening as I was returning his laundry. I saw him walking down the street, intoxicated. Suddenly I realized that I was not helping, but hindering the possibility of him getting help for his disease. All of the caretaking that I had done had been destructive.

One of the most difficult things that I have done was signing papers for him to go to a detox program. I was able to take this difficult step with the support of my husband and my Al‑Anon friends. The possibility of my son never speaking to me again was a reality that I had to consider. With prayer and the strength of my program, I knew that I could live with that, as opposed to watching him die from alcoholism. Much to my surprise, he willingly signed himself into the detox program and became interested in recovery.

After some time, our relationship became very special, filled with love, gratitude, and lots of humor. I felt my Higher Power working between us. My son died of cancer in 2007 and, again, I felt the pain of losing him. I take comfort in the fact that he died sober and have fond memories of him. I am working my program, reaching out for support, and doing daily readings to help me through a difficult time.

The Al‑Anon program and the members who have shared their experience, strength, and hope over the years has been more important to me than words can say. They have been there during my highs and lows, their love and support has given me strength and perseverance. I am a grateful Al‑Anon member.

By Fran, South Carolina
The Forum, July 2012