“Let Go, Or Be Dragged”

Memoir Excerpt:

“Eventually I got to a place where I admitted—no, I accepted—my powerlessness over her disease, though it was counterintuitive for me to do so. By accepting her disease it still sometimes felt like I was giving up, like I didn’t care. Nothing could be further from the truth. But I had to walk over a lot of hot coals before I would know how much I loved Angie. In time I became detached enough to look at her, feel nothing but compassion and love for her, and discuss things intellectually. It was no longer my personal mission to try to change my daughter into the person I wanted her to be. I was not Angie, and she was not me. We were separate people, and I no longer felt that her illness and/or what she chose to do about it reflected on me. This was tremendously freeing for me.

Or, as one parent writes in Sharing Experience, Strength and Hope: ‘Let go, or be dragged.’”


6 thoughts on ““Let Go, Or Be Dragged”

  1. This really speaks to me as I am trying to let go of any control of my 17 year old daughter. I keep telling myself, “she has her own life and I have mine.” In this way, I am reclaiming and affirming myself while still respecting and loving her.
    I appreciate the encouragement from those who have traveled this same path. May we all keep traveling on!

    1. You know, Martha, there’s a big difference between my 36-year-old daughter and your teenager. Angie has been an addict for fourteen years. You know her story, and the devastating consequences that have occurred as a result of her unbridled addiction. Our stories will play out as they are meant to, though of course I pray for a good outcome. But I would offer you, regarding your daughter, a great deal of encouragement and hope, simply because she’s still so young and you are still her legal guardian. You are in a very favorable position regarding rules, boundaries, and accepting what you can live with. You do have the power to exercise some control over the rules she must respect while she lives with you. Exercise it! Angie was 21 and living independently when her drug addiction took over. I was not there to monitor her. Your situation is very different. I will pray hard for you both as you navigate these rough waters. There’s nothing harder than watching our adult children self-destruct and facing our powerlessness to influence them. Blessings to you and your family!

      1. Thanks. I know it seems so wrong that she is on her own so soon but she is safe and is doing fairly well. She just started her senior year today and finished up last year with a great GPA in the alternative school she attends & in 3 1/2 months (Dec 1) she turns 18. My husband and I just had a counseling session & wrote out our conditions for her returning to live with us. Yes, we intend to enforce them for our own sake! We were both almost destroyed by her & her boyfriend’s verbal abuse & we won’t stand for it any longer. I try to be hopeful as well. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts & prayers. Much appreciated!

        1. Best of luck upon her return, Martha. Parenting doesn’t come with a manual, and setting and enforcing boundaries is something we all must learn to do as we go along. You’re doing your best. You love your daughter. Now take deep breaths and have faith that things will work out as they are meant to. And most importantly, take care of you so that you’ll be strong in mind and body if and when she needs you later on.

          1. Thank you so much for your support! BTW are you going to be attending the NAMW conference in October? It would be fun to meet up. Just visited the site today and I was shocked to find myself featured! I had no idea. I will attend your conference call on Sept 10. Best wishes!

          2. How wonderful that you’re being featured! I was just as surprised (and honored) to find myself on the site as well. No, I can’t go to the conference. Where? I’ll be up in Seattle in October closing on a vacation house. Thanks for attending my conference call in September. Keep me posted on your news and book release date. All the best to you!

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