The Family Afterward
“…A body badly burned by alcohol does not often recover overnight nor do twisted thinking and depression vanish in a twinkling. We are convinced that a spiritual mode of living is a most powerful health restorative. We, who have recovered from serious drinking, are miracles of mental health…” BB page 132
“…The alcoholic may find it hard to re-establish friendly relations with [her] children. Their young minds were impressionable while [s]he was drinking. Without saying so, they may cordially hate [her] for what [s]he has done to them and to their [father]. The children are sometimes dominated by a pathetic hardness and cynicism. They cannot seem to forgive and forget. This may hang on for months, long after their [father] has accepted [mom]’s new way of living and thinking.
In time they will see that [s]he is a new [wo]man and in their own way they will let [her] know it. When this happens, they can be invited to join in morning meditation and then they can take part in the daily discussion without rancor or bias. From that point on, progress will be rapid. Marvelous results often follow such a reunion.
Whether the family goes on a spiritual basis or not, the alcoholic member has to if [s]he would recover. The others must be convinced of [her] new status beyond the shadow of a doubt. Seeing is believing to most families who have lived with a drinker.”
— BB pages 134-135
These passages from the Big Book gives this alcoholic hope.
When I got into the program, I made a dent in the cycle of insanity that consumed my world. But I stayed in a toxic marriage and my emotional sobriety was very much affected. It was the path I had to take, nonetheless my ladies saw my recovery as flawed and it has made our recovery as a family hard.
My family is healing and is it the way I want?…no, it is what it is. Through this program I have hope. I have learned to face my storms with humility and grow from them.
I will admit that I continue to struggle with letting go. There are times I want to pick up their pebbles, stones or even boulders from their path however in doing so I take away the lessons of life that will help them to live life on life terms. My higher power guided me on my path as theirs with guide them.
Recently I painted a painting which embodies, for me, what it is like to be a mom. It is of a child snuggling into her mother and the mother holding her child close to her heart. A tear forms from the mother’s eye for she knows she has no control, no power to direct or protect the life of her child. All she has is love, unconditional love and compassion to help them realize their fullest potential.
That is all I have…unconditional love and compassion.
Do I fear they will make the same mistakes as I? Yes…however THEY are not ME.
I know I made mistakes, a lot of mistakes and I tried to do the best I could.
Today is one of my daughters’ birthday and she still has a lot of anger with me and little by little she is backing away. It is breaking my heart however by the grace of this program, I can let go without loving less. One day we will reunite when she is ready. Until such time by my example I can show her, show each of my ladies how truly strong I am and how that same strength is within each of them.
Just like the alcoholic that stills suffers…until they want to change, want to grow…will change happen and they will come to know that they are not alone.
How have you dealt with the family afterwards? How do you use the tools of this program to help you and those you love grow?