A father’s ultimatum

It was a distressing phone call from my youngest daughter, age 20. She was calling to tell me that she was in trouble with drugs and alcohol and had gotten a DUI. She went on to say that her life was out of control and she needed to come live with me, to get her life in order.

I wasn’t surprised. I suspected she was experimenting with alcohol and drugs while living with her alcoholic mother in California. I immediately said, “Yes, you can come to Tennessee and live with me, but on two conditions—that you abstain from alcohol and drugs, and get into a Twelve Step program.” She agreed and within the week she was starting her new life of sobriety.

My own experience in Al‑Anon had been on and off for many years, but I knew that with an alcoholic in my household, I needed to get into a “serious mode”—attend meetings, work the Steps, get a Sponsor, and practice “Let Go and Let God.”

My daughter soon went back to her old ways of partying and going out late at night. With that came the drinking, so I had to firmly remind her that she had come to live with me for a reason—sobriety and a new way of life. If she didn’t keep her promises, she would have to move out.

I made this ultimatum with a heavy heart. I didn’t know where she would go or what she would do, but my Al‑Anon experience had taught me that if I didn’t insist that she stay sober while living in my home, I would be enabling her to continue drinking, into jail or early death.

Miraculously, my daughter went back to her meetings, got a Sponsor, and has stayed sober for more than four years. I don’t understand how this worked, but that is the nature of our program—God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

I continue to go to meetings at least twice a week and follow the Steps as a roadmap to a healthy, Higher Power-centered lifestyle.

Yes, I am a very grateful father of a sober young woman today, and I owe it all to Al‑Anon and my Higher Power!

Thank you for reading my story and being a part of my family of choice. I love you.

By Jerry R., Tennessee
The Forum, November 2013