Another Goodbye

Memoir Excerpt:

“So this was what it was like: we’d been here before; we’d taken her to rehab, we’d visited her in rehab; we’d silently prayed on our side of the great divide that God would have mercy on our child and intervene—that He, or anyone, I didn’t care—would help her see the light and want to get well and return to her family. This rehab was different; it was farther away. Maybe it would be easier for her to get a better perspective on her life. Maybe, maybe, maybe—she had her own higher power, and I had mine. Oh, God, I pleaded under my breath, it had to work this time. “Let her go, Maggie,” I heard Him answer. I lingered, half hoping she’d backtrack and blow us another kiss. She didn’t. We turned around and walked to the exit.

Goodbye again…”

4 thoughts on “Another Goodbye

  1. Wow…these are my words…our 20 year old beautiful Abigail just returned from#2 rehab. I had all the same thoughts – maybe this one – it was different , further away and dual diagnois..maybe…just maybe this time.

    She is 30 days clean from heroin today – fear grips me so often…trust is not there –
    yet somehow I read your words and feel some slight hope that she is really done this time.

    Thank you from my heart for sharing.

    1. Janet, I’m so happy for you that your daughter is in recovery! Every day is a gift. But remember that it’s her recovery: those thirty days are hers; she’s earned them. I pray she builds on her daily successes and it gets easier for her. But our work as parents is to recover ourselves from the devastating effects of loving an addict. That’s where my program steps in to strengthen and guide me. I will always love Angie, but I need to remain detached just enough to make intelligent choices where she is concerned. I accept that I cannot save her from herself; she must do the work necessary to recover. But I can save myself. Thank you for your response. Blessings to you!

  2. How do you let go and detach with love?
    My child is on her #5 rehab and now we have found she is not only addicted to alcohol but meth as well.
    With the meth she crossed a line with me.
    She has stolen from her grandmother and I can’t let her live with us when she comes out.
    She will have no place to go.
    Her #5 rehab is a state rehab due to no insurance.
    Where do I go from here?

    1. A number of friends told me that one or two rehabs would have been enough for Angie—not four. You’re on your fifth and I would say the same thing. In Al-Anon we learn to stop “forcing solutions,” to leave the responsibility for shouldering the illness to our addict. We as parents instinctively want to save our kids. But we don’t have that power. We hold onto the illusion of control by continuing to try, continuing to empty our bank account, continuing to make every effort humanly possible to save our child. But how many times do our efforts have to boomerang back at us before we have this lightbulb moment when we realize that it’s not OUR illness, that the addict must do the difficult work necessary to recover? That’s when we learn to detach with love. When considering detachment, we must at the same time understand our ATTACHMENT to this person. What is it about our parent/child connection that makes it so hard to let go? For many of us, myself included, it was guilt. And when I learned to let go of mine, to know that Angie’s tragedy wasn’t my fault, I could easily detach with love, and get back to living my life. Nothing can take away the pain of losing a child to addiction, but I have other people in my life to be grateful for, and I focus on them. Where do you go from here? Live your life as best you can. You’ve done a great deal for her. Now it’s her turn to do her part. Hugs to you, Terry.

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