I no longer need my daughter’s sobriety to be happy

This year, I was thrilled to reunite with my daughter after a ten-year silence. On the Sunday of that visit, I was tested when she started drinking one beer after another. I thought, “Oh, my goodness, this is not good.” Then I switched my thoughts almost immediately by asking my Higher Power for help. That thought was replaced with, “You are not here for your daughter’s sobriety. You are here to reconnect with her.” I became calm and was able to love her the way she was. It was nothing short of a miracle. I could not have done this without Al-Anon.

My daughter has been active in her addictions for about 30 years, beginning in her early teens. I literally thought I had lost my child because of my obsession with her. About a year ago, I wrote my daughter and told her I was really sorry for all our fights. I also told her that when she was a teenager, I believed it was my job as her mother to “save her from herself.” Now, I know it was her job to save herself.

I also began to change my vision of what being her mom should look like. I saw her first as God’s child, and as her own person with a Higher Power to guide her. Every time I would worry about her I would say, “She is His child, and she has a Higher Power.” I let go of the idea that I needed her sobriety to be happy.

The more I worked the Steps, the more I understood how important it was for me to let go of my overwhelming guilt, shame, anger, and disillusionment. I saw clearly that if I did so, it would show my child that she could let go of her guilt and shame, also.

As long as I held on to all those feelings, those feelings were defining our relationship. The more I let go, the healthier my thinking gets, and a more loving interchange happens between us. I have become a real friend and confidante to my daughter.

My daughter is still an active alcoholic but, for the first time in her life, she really wants sobriety. Now, when we talk on the phone, I’m always able to encourage her without all the former unrealistic expectations I had. Because of having had the blessing of coming to my meetings and being able to share in complete safety, I can now give this gift to my daughter.

I realize that these changes are a result of working my program. Before Al-Anon, I made decisions based in fear, guilt, and anger. Today, I make them with calmness and healthy optimism.

Today I live a happy, full life and continue growing with the Twelve Steps. No matter what happens, my daughter and I will be just fine. I know I have a loving Twelve Step family that will be there for me no matter what.

By Mary L., New Brunswick
The Forum, October 2013