From Opening Our Hearts, Transforming Our Losses, p. 3
“Alcoholism robbed me of who I was, caused injury to my daughter, and almost completely destroyed my best friend. It took bits and pieces of us all during those first six years. Those were tremendous losses that took a long time to work through. My grief was immense. I felt inconsolable.”
That is exactly how I felt when I entered the rooms of recovery. I was broken and at the same time I was crippled with guilt. That put me at high risk for enforcing the boundaries I should have been recognizing. I was completely lost and overwhelmed with the reality of Angie becoming a drug addict.
In the beginning I couldn’t be tough with her; I simply defaulted to rescue mode. I wanted to protect her, but in so doing I was shielding her from the natural consequences of her bad choices. So she learned nothing and the behaviors continued. Like it said in the quote, the disease robbed me of who I was. Once upon a time, I was a more responsible parent. But this frightening disease caused me to lose my compass and I lost my way.
Fortunately, over the years I listened to the voices of recovery around me and I started changing my behavior. My sense of right and wrong returned and I was able to set boundaries in order to protect myself. As we all know, when an addict is using there is great potential for abuse. I had to be armed, all the while loving my daughter deeply.
There’s nothing harder than watching our children go off the rails as they often do. Some recover, and some don’t. That’s why recovery stresses the importance of taking care of ourselves. We can’t control the addict but we can control our own lives. We can pay attention to what’s around us, other loved ones, and try to make the best of what we have.
“Life is not always what one wants it to be, but to make the best of it as it is is the only way of being happy.” Jenny Jerome Churchill