I have been in the program of AA for 15 years now. I started drinking when I was 13 and continued until I was 45. I held down a full time job for 35 years and raised my son as best I could under the circumstances. I was married to a very abusive man from age 20 – 25. Then I was divorced for 6 years and met my husband of today. We were both party people for about 15 years. During my drinking years I took care of my son’s physical needs, but there was not much hugging or words of affection towards him. Partying came first and my son was pretty much always second. I did the best I could under the circumstances.
Now being in recovery I realize I wasn’t a bad person but a sick person. Every time my son has a problem these days he takes it out on me both verbally and emotionally. They say I have to detach with love. It has really weighed me down emotionally and spiritually. I just started Alanon hoping I can find some answers there. I have tried to get my son into it but have failed. He can be quite mean to me. I am in constant turmoil and my feelings of guilt overtake me at times. Is there someone out there who can share what they have done in a similar situation as mine. I am active in AA but that doesn’t seem to be enough. My son just won’t let go of the past and forgive me.
Hopeful in Menominee MI
Only because you directly asked for a response.
While I was not the alcoholic in my family as my children were growing up, I think I can still relate to your guilt of what you did or did not do as far as your children are concerned. I am sure that guilt is very similar to what I felt when I looked back and realized that, being completely sober, I did as much damage or more than my alcoholic spouse had done. I spent several years trying to make up for what I didn’t do when they were little, but after a while several things dawned on me.
1. I can’t go back and change was has already happened.
2. I am powerless over how my children have responded as adults to what happened to them as children.
3. I am a much more responsible parent when I take care of today and stop trying to “fix” yesterday.
When my children come to me today and are complaining about what happened in the past, I accept my part of the responsibility for what happened and then sit down and attempt an adult conversation with them about what is happening in the present that triggered them to bring up past wrongs. It doesn’t matter if I saw things the same way that they remember them from their childhood or not. It is their memory and their pain. I try to honor and respect that with them. It seems to diffuse the situation almost completely. The adult portion of the conversation is when I can teach them, by my example, new problem solving skills that I have learned in my own recovery. I feel the biggest thing I can show them is that there is almost always more than two answers to any problem, the answers are rarely black and white.
Keep coming back, one day you will find that you are not who you were, but who your recovery has helped you become.
Just Lexxie, Chatterin’ Again!