Last March I was given the name of an interventionist who agreed to work with my family to get my daughter into a treatment program. My daughter agreed to go to treatment, I flew with her to the rehab facility and came directly home. Within days the interventionist personally delivered me into the hands of our local Al Anon community and I have been religiously attending these meetings weekly.
I was a wreck the first month I was there. I was in shock, I was sobbing, I was shaking. I hated being there. The first few meetings I had were private ones, away from the group, where I told my sad and sorry tale to the most sympathetic set of ears I had ever encountered. The leader said this to me, "You didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it." I told her I was thinking the exact opposite -- that I did CAUSE it, that I could CONTROL it, and I could CURE it. I just needed to try harder. Sigh. I had to unlearn a lot of things in these meetings and now I am trying to learn new things.
It took many (many) weeks before I could go the meeting without dreading it. I told my son, "I feel so stupid. I go in, tell all these people my problems, I cry, they give me tissues, and they try and make me feel better. How ridiculous is that?" I was so beaten down that I didn't even realize that they were giving me what I needed most: Support. Non-judgemental support.
I eventually switched groups for no other reason than that the other group had more parents. I have been attending faithfully for nine months and I will tell you this: I have found my people. They get it. They get the fear, the loneliness, the self-doubt, and the sheer agony of being completely powerless over someone else's self-destructive choices.
Al-Anon follows a twelve step program. In the beginning, I thought, "Well, let's see: Twelve steps, twelve weeks. Roughly three months and I'll be done." (Because I am a pretty good student I actually thought I could do two steps a week and be done in six weeks. Holla!) I lingered for months on the first step: Admitting I was powerless over someone else's alcohol use proved to be a very difficult concept for me. (That life had become unmanageable was a pretty easy thing to see.) Recently I have been wrestling with the next two steps which involves believing in a Higher Power.
If you've been a long time reader of my blog you will know that I have struggled very much with my faith. I grew up a fervent believer and one day, in my mid-twenties, just like that, my faith was gone. I have been searching for it ever since. I want to believe in a loving and benevolent God, but I just don't feel His presence, although I pray for it daily. For now my higher power is called NOT ME, and just for today, that has to be enough.
Last October I wrote that I no longer felt comfortable writing about my daughter on this blog. That was true then and is true now, too. She doesn't know I have a blog, and she wouldn't like it. So why do I do it?
I do it because there is no lonelier feeling in the world than being a parent of a drug/alcohol abuser. My far away girl is right back to square one, relapsing while simultaneously denying there is an issue. It is painful. The phone calls are painful. The texts are painful. The sleepless nights are painful. Unless you have walked in these shoes the pain is indescribable. Somehow coming here and trying to describe it helps me and right now I need all the help I can get.
A Great Big World. Say Something.