I love an addict/alcoholic….and I am so blessed.
The truth is I love many alcoholic/addicts starting with my three children, and I never knew how lucky I was to know and love these incredible people until just a couple of years ago.
It seems like these are truly the people my heart gravitates to. I was raised by one, married two and raised three.
I didn’t start out my life knowing anything about rescuing, but I believe I was born with the nature to serve others. However somewhere along the way my idea of serving got distorted, and I began to take care of others in ways that did not support them learning to take care of themselves.
I became the classic rescuer and enabler. I didn’t mean to hurt others with my helpfulness, but slowly I began to see how my behavior was causing others more harm than good.
I would never have told you that I loved anyone with a drinking and drug problem because I carried so much shame around the fact that I felt responsible. Responsible for my dad’s drinking and raging, responsible for my children’s out of control behavior and totally responsible for trying to make everything better all the time.
No one appointed me to take that job. I willingly stepped in because I was so uncomfortable when everything felt out of control. If I could anticipate what would happen next I could somehow step in and stop their anger, abuse or unacceptable choices that caused me such embarrassment and shame.
I became hyper vigilant with everyone and everything. I felt isolated and frantic, all day, every day. I didn’t know what peace felt like and didn’t know how to find it.
I lived this way for many years and although I adored these beautiful children I had lost sight of myself in the process of loving them. I grew angry and resentful when they wouldn’t listen to my sound and sage advice. I was pissed when I would give them money only to find out later that they used it for anything other than what I gave it to them for. I became so furious with their lies that I began to hate them and then hated myself for hating them.
What I really hated was their disease and my reaction to that disease. I got caught up in the whirlwind of promises and disappointment s. I had trouble figuring where they ended and I began.
As I tore my eyes away from those I so desperately wanted to help and turned my eyes back to me I started to see the deep emotional wounds I carried around with me each day. You wouldn’t know it because I generally hid it well. Smiled and laughed and acted like all was good in my secret world of heartache.
Until carrying the pain grew so heavy that i was forced to my knees in surrender. I was terrified of what I would feel like when I finally accepted I was no longer in control, which I discovered later on was only an illusion anyway. I knew in my heart that I had to give it all up to my God, the God who loved me and my family more than I could humanly understand.
I had to let go of my dreams, aspiration, and agendas, not only for myself but more for my children so I could get real on what was important and where I stood when it came to my professed priorities. It was time for God to take hold of my hand and lead me down my own path of healing. It was my turn to allow God to work on my character defects and to open my eyes to the things I thought were so good and noble. I was given the opportunity to see myself as God had seen me all along. Frightened, lonely, angry and spiraling out of control.
I was ready to be guided to a better life but it could only happen when I turned my will and life over to the care of God and got off the judgment seat I had sat myself on long ago. I judged what was best for all those I loved and made it my business to set them straight so they could live a long and productive life.
How dare I think I could know better than God what was right and good. Yikes, that revelation hurt to the core. I believed I was being loving and kind. Instead I was being controlling and manipulating. What I wanted was more for me and the stopping my pain than it was for my children. You see the simple fact is this: if my children ever hurt long and hard enough they might fall to their knees and seek their own surrender to God.
I had to turn away and that’s what caused my greatest heartache. Letting them go completely so they could fall into the arms of the God they believed in. I was scared to death they would die in their disease. I was afraid they would die. Period.
When I took on the role of mother I never understood the depth of joy and pain I could feel at almost the same moment. If I could love them so deeply did that mean I could bear pain at the same level?
What I came to know is that no matter what…I loved my children and whether they were an addict/alcoholic or what the world might call a successful business person, I could never take ownership of them , their successes or failures, for they belonged to God. They would live the life God gave them, through me, as their mother. They were born when they were destined to be born and they would go home when God calls them home. I am powerless over that.
It is because of my children that I have a new understanding of unconditional love. It is because of my children that I was forced to my knees to learn to rely totally on a God I was unfamiliar with, until now. It is because of my children that I was given a chance to truly taste the sweetness of loving them right where they are with no judgment or bitterness. They are God’s children and I am blessed to be on this journey with them. I am called to love them and trust God to lead them.