My 25-year-old son has been a New Life House member for almost a year now and it has been an incredible learning experience. New Life offers a structured environment that has proven to be essential to my son’s recovery. As a parent of an addict/alcoholic, I have come to realize that recovery requires the courage to change, which in turn takes time and patience ! This realization also forced me to take a serious look at my own recovery since my role was an enabler in my son’s disease.
Not what I expected
Thinking back on the first couple of months when my husband and I would come to New Life for the barbeques, we would be so excited to see how much our son had improved, only to be met by a very quiet and distant individual. Why wasn’t he happy? Was this a waste of money? Why was he not embracing the program?
We would drive home in silence, with all of these doubts leaving us feeling very unsure about our son’s future. Desperate to help my son, I started to attend Al-Anon meetings thinking they would offer a quick-fix remedy.
The courage to change, not for him, but for me
Immediately I learned that Al-Anon was not for my son, but for me. Over time, I began to understand that my constant “helping and rescue missions” only revealed the lack of faith I had in my son’s ability to take care of himself. Now I know why the director of one of the out- patient programs my son was in told me I was “loving him to death.” My obsessive interference was out of control.
Like AA, Al-Anon is a twelve-step program. As I began to work my steps it was revealed to me that there is a natural order to life, a chain of events that a Higher Power has in mind. If I let go of my controlling ways then life will unfold according to that plan. Once I let go of my son and let him make his own choices then I am affirming his right to be his own person. Letting go is a scary process but we both can continue to grow because of this freedom. I must remember to live and let live.
Al-Anon has helped me to deal with the emotional roller coaster of being the parent of an alcoholic. I am very grateful to say that today my son and I have a wonderful, loving relationship largely in part because we both are working our programs! If he had the courage to change, I know that you do too.