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Who’s In Charge Here?

The Serenity Prayer (Part 2): “to accept the things I cannot change… One accepts when one receives. To understand, to take into the mind without debate as one receives a gift – this is acceptance. Serenity precedes acceptance. It must. There is order to this. My mind must be calm in order to understand what you are saying. To listen to you without debate, I must not be afraid of you. With the gift of Serenity, I am able to accept people and circumstances as they are, not as I want them to be or as I think they should be. I am willing to accept the bad as well as the good, because it is all part of the plan. When I accept a situation as it is, when I accept you as you are, I have stopped playing God.” My work in the program has humbled me as I’ve learned to view myself in relation to God. For reasons that don’t matter now, I always felt that I had to be in charge of my life and those closest to me. But when Addiction hijacked my daughter, I was not only blindsided but powerless as well. It took me a long time to accept that Angie was in the grips of something far greater than either one of us. This acceptance enabled me to let go of my illusion of control and turn to my Higher Power for help. My faith continues to get me through the darkest days because I’m not in charge—He...

Letting Go…Over And Over Again

From The Forum, June, 2015: “My son’s future is his—not mine. ‘He is not living his life for me,’ I thought as I shuffled into the cold kitchen. It was three o’clock in the morning. I was in search of an Al-Anon daily reader. My son, my only child and someone I loved more than anyone, had been arrested, spent the night in jail, and was in more trouble than I ever imagined possible. I had never thought that my child, whom I put through college and spent many waking hours imagining his promising future, would be in that situation. However, all of that changed when his addiction became known to the family. From that time on, I faithfully attended Al-Anon meetings, sometimes four times a week, got a Sponsor, chaired and spoke at meetings, and volunteered to speak at an Al-Anon meeting at the women’s prison. My son’s future was my future, and I told myself that my efforts made in recovery were for the both of us. Deep down, however, I was betting that my recovery would ultimately guarantee his recovery. In my heart, I believed that the love we shared along with the Al-Anon and A.A. program would be the life raft he needed to recover. I was his mother. I could make it happen… Now, weeks after the arrest, awake at 3 a.m., I reached for the book, Courage to Change, and randomly opened to a page that said, ‘You can’t live someone’s life for them.’ It was what I needed to hear. As challenging as it was, I had to stop living his life...

Inner Peace

The Serenity Prayer (Part 1): “God grant me the serenity… I have known peace. The peace that comes in front of a fireplace on a cozy winter’s night, the peace of the mountains. But when I would leave the mountains, the peace would leave me. When the fire went out or the phone rang, the peace would be gone. Peace came rarely and went quickly – a mood conjured by myself for myself. Serenity is different. It is with me and in me. Nothing disturbs it. It is not given; therefore, it cannot be taken away.”   When I work at my recovery program using the tools at my disposal, I am free of the burden that brought me into the rooms. The first three steps—admitting my powerlessness over addiction, believing that a Higher Power could restore my sanity, and turning my burden over to Him—have taken the weight of the world off my shoulders. Serenity is mine to take when I let go and have faith in God’s plan. This doesn’t rid us of our problems; it just makes them easier to...

Letting Go Of The Responsibility

  Memoir Excerpt:  “Where do the seeds of addiction take root? It’s the old chicken and the egg confusion. Was my father predestined to become an alcoholic? Or was he made one by the emotional abuse he endured? And if the latter is true, then how and when was I an emotional abuser of my own daughter? But Twelve-Step recovery gently steers us away from questions like that; we can’t go back and do things over. And I’m only human. I sometimes ask myself what I did wrong or what I missed seeing. Then I remember that addiction is a disease: “I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it.” And like a gentle breeze blowing away the clutter of remorse, I let go of those thoughts and embrace my life again, free of responsibility. In any case, whatever she chose to do now, I needed to leave her alone to do it. I knew better than to scream and wail in the night to God and all the graces that protected the innocent to save my daughter. Whatever the roots of addiction are, whatever holes were missing in her that this opportunistic disease filled in, I didn’t have the power to combat them. And I just had to let go of the struggle, or I would disappear down that rabbit hole with her.”    ...