A New Life House Mother Shares Her Story | The Path From Dark To Light
In my mind, my son was finally attending his college classes, really looking for a job, finding good friends to hang out with, and realizing that “partying” too much was not the way to go. This was so far from reality. Did I not see it or did I choose not to see it? His ending up in jail for several months should have really opened my eyes, but it didn’t. All I knew is that the attorney recommended I find a sober living/treatment place for him to go to so the judge would let him out of jail. Ok, I thought, I can “rescue” my son and I went into my research mode with Mother Bear fierceness. Fortunately, I was already in Al-Anon, and through an Al-Anon friend, was given the name of New Life House. The phone calls began, and I cannot truly express how sincere the New Life staff was during the numerous conversations we had. Surprise (one of many), he didn’t think he wanted to go. Not right for him…, won’t be “his” kind of people…, too religious, and a few other reasons that baffled me. How could my son not jump at the chance to go to New Life – he’s in jail facing a potential 2-year sentence!!! Finally, when I told him that his only chance of seeing his grandmother again would be to get out of jail and go to New Life he relented. There was no person he was closer to than his grandmother.
I picked him up at his apartment in Northern California. This apartment in my mind symbolizes “the dark”. One bedroom, dirty, dark, and such a lonely feel to it. We headed down to Southern California with a rental car full of his stuff. My son looked in the rear-view mirror and said goodbye to the college town. On some level, he knew he had to leave to survive. All I knew was that I had to get him to New Life.
The dark started to lift the longer he was at “The House”. In the beginning, his not being in jail was enough for me. During the first few months, I cringed when I heard him say his name then Alcoholic after it. Wait, I’ve never seen him drunk (that I knew of), disruptive or mean. He was always so great at family gatherings. Reality check – 2 DUI’s, jail twice, flunking out of school, and the list goes on. Then I started to meet other guys at varying stages in The House, graduates, parents and continued to attend Al-Anon. Slowly I began to realize that this was his path, not mine. I should trust in the process of The House and keep going to Al-Anon. Work on my program. I saw our son embrace the 12-Steps, accept his alcoholism, and work on his program as hard as I have ever seen him work. I needed to do the same.
A big turning point for our relationship came when he made his amends to me. I heard how bad his life really was, how bad his addiction was, what he thought of himself during those dark times, and how I was not to blame. To hear what a great manipulator he was, how I was taken advantage of, college money down the drain, lies that had been told, and ultimately how miserable his life had been was hard to hear. But let me say it was 3 hours of the most amazing conversation and the start of a relationship built on the truth of who we both really are.
My son has recently graduated, and I could not be prouder. Has it been easy? – no. Do I still worry? – yes. Take off in my “helicopter” and try to hover right over my son? – yes. The difference now is I realize when I am doing these things and then I reach out to other parents, talk to my husband, and often recite the Serenity Prayer. He has his path and I have mine. Right now, today, there is light.