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 came to Al-Anon starving and humbly begging. I was starving emotionally and begging for “food.” I found food in the program—nourishment for my starving soul. I kept coming back and working the program, because I gained emotional nourishment.
There was a lunar eclipse this cold Saturday morning and I got up at 6 a.m. to see it. I got out of my warm bed, went to the window, and opened the shade. I was disappointed in what I saw: a barely visible, blurry blob of white with a gray smudge and a little red tint on the bottom. Maybe it was just a streetlight in the fog, maybe it was too overcast, or maybe I had forgotten that I am nearly blind without my glasses.
It is an understatement to say that my life had become unmanageable. My 17-year-old son was abusing drugs and alcohol. I spent night after night wondering what I had done wrong, and what should I be doing differently. It seemed like the more I tried to fix and control him, the worse things became. I would listen in on his phone conversations, spy on him, and raid his room looking for drugs and alcohol; yet continue to clean up his mess and mistakes. I took the fall for his actions.
My mother’s drinking led me to Al‑Anon 22 years ago. I came and went through my eleven-year marriage to an alcoholic. I am back, once again, because of my 19‑year‑old son. Never in my wildest dreams had I expected the path of my life to take this course. Yet here I am, caught in the embrace of this beautiful program that works as hard for me as I am willing to work it.
Our adult son was an alcoholic, and I was the perfect enabler. I thought I was helping by giving him money, food, and even doing his laundry—until one evening as I was returning his laundry. I saw him walking down the street, intoxicated. Suddenly I realized that I was not helping, but hindering the possibility of him getting help for his disease. All of the caretaking that I had done had been destructive.
Vine a Al -Anon porque estaba muy enojado con un joven alcohólico. Él es el hijo de la mujer con quien estoy saliendo, y le está haciendo su vida ―y por lo tanto la mía― miserable. Quise aprender la forma de hacer que cambiara. También quise comprender lo que su madre estaba experimentando.
Y porque quería que ella fuera feliz, tuve que tratar de hacer que ella también cambiara.
I did not come to Al‑Anon willingly. I was, after all, too worldly, too well educated, and far too experienced to require help from anybody. My grief and despair for a son caught up in the disease of alcoholism and drug abuse persisted despite all my efforts to cure him or to have him cured. Such were the actions I believed a responsible parent was supposed to perform in our society. I expected him to stop. His conduct was contrary to those I believed to be the hallmarks of our “class.” Yet he persisted.
I came to Al-Anon because I was very angry at a young alcoholic. He is the son of the woman I am dating and he is making her life–and consequently mine–miserable. I wanted to learn how I could change him. I also wanted to understand what his mother was experiencing.
And because I wanted her to be happy, I needed to change her too.