“It’s been very difficult for me to separate Angie, the daughter I raised, from the addict she has become. But this is work that many of us must do in order to gain some objectivity when dealing with our loved ones. A parent writes in Sharing Experience, Strength and Hope:
‘I could not bear to look at pictures of him, as they were only a sad reminder of what he had been and what was taken from him. I missed his sweetness, his innocence, his loving nature, and his honesty. That was my son, not the shadow of the person he was now. I was losing him and myself while my family was being torn apart. The only thing I was sure of was the fact that I was powerless.’”
For the longest time I was unable to participate in this surreal exercise: look at my child in front of me, the same body, height, facial expressions, hand gestures, and remember that this person was capable of hurting me multiples times. At first, I didn’t; I only saw the daughter I had raised because I so wanted it to still be her. But in doing so, I was laying myself bare and vulnerable to the manipulations of an addict. And so, multiple times, I did allow myself to be hurt. But then I learned in my recovery program how to detach emotionally, not out of anger but with love. I learned to recognize the truth of what was right in front of me but take intelligent steps to protect myself. And most of all I learned, though I was no longer being sucked into the rabbit hole with Angie, that I could love her as purely and completely as if this thief had never appeared in the night and stolen her from us all.
“You love your child forever not because she is happy or successful or makes you proud but because she is your child.”