Daughter, I love you enough to let you go

My dear daughter,

You asked me to write a letter stating the impact your addiction to alcohol has had on me. I’ve given a great deal of thought to the question.

I lived with fear, day and night: fear that you would die, that it was my fault, and that I failed you as a parent. I lived with anger. I was angry because my trust was violated.

I felt helpless about the lying and stealing. I felt taken advantage of and betrayed. I blamed myself for continuing to bail you out financially and for continuing to enable you.

The biggest impact, however, was joining Al-Anon and starting my own recovery. I learned that addiction is a family disease. I now realize my recovery will continue “One Day at a Time,” for the rest of this lifetime. I know that I have been a part of the problem, and I now realize that I have choices.

One day, when I was feeling frightened, angry, confused, and helpless about your addiction, I had a spiritual awakening. I was walking into work one morning and I saw God’s hands, huge and soft, grasp you and hold you close, “She is safe in my hands.” I then placed myself in His hands and let go of you. After all, I am not God. It was time for me to stop trying to play such a lofty role.

Since then, I’ve chosen to just love you and let you make your own choices. I’m learning to respond rather than to react. I’m learning to “Halt,” “Think,” “Keep an Open Mind,” “Let Go and Let God,” and “Let It Begin with Me.” I am taking care of me, minding my own business, and letting others take care of themselves. I especially pay attention to “Progress Not Perfection.”

I just completed one year in Al-Anon. It has saved my life and brought me sanity and serenity. I know I have amends to make to you. But, no matter what choices you make, I will always love you. I always have and always will. I honor you as my daughter, and as a child of the God of your understanding, doing your best at any given moment, just as I am. I am grateful you are in my life. You are beautiful, intelligent, creative, kind, and compassionate.

Loving you dearly and always,


By Janie H., Texas
The Forum, March 2013