“Third Step Prayer:
God, I offer myself to thee
to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of Thy power, Thy love and Thy way of life.
May I do Thy will always!”
My willfulness has always been my Waterloo. But I never saw it as a bad thing. I saw it as strength, determination, and power—the opposite of weakness.
But I’ve had to modify my will and determination to save Angie. After years of using my strong will and stubbornness to fight a battle that wasn’t mine to fight, I’ve learned to let go. From well-meaning friends over the years, I’ve heard these comments:
“But how can you drop the ball like that? How can you give up on your own child? She’ll think you don’t love her anymore! How can you be so cruel?”
Those people need to walk a mile or two in my shoes.
The cruelty belongs to the Monster (if it had an appearance), the brain disease, that is claiming millions of our children. After years of educating myself about the nature of addiction, I have settled on my own path to recover from the effects of this illness.
I have no more power to cure Angie of her addiction than I would have if she had schizophrenia. Drug addiction and co-existing mental illness is very common, and there are many treatments out there. My daughter suffered from depression for years before she turned to hard drugs, and she tried therapy and antidepressants when she was just a teenager. Then when full-blown drug addiction took over, she was in and out of recovery, including four rehabs, for fifteen years. But she’s still out there, in active addiction.
My story with my daughter isn’t unique. Many of us share the same tragedy. But if I’ve learned one thing from all these years of chaos and pain, it’s that life is too precious to waste. I want to make the most of mine with the years I have left. I’m grateful now to make good use of my stubbornness and determination: to live well and strive to be happy.