Moment of Clarity

I was not affected by alcoholism, even though I grew up in it. At least, that is what I thought at the time. When my mom went into rehab during my senior year of high school, I thought joyfully, “problem solved! Thank goodness that is over!”

But it wasn’t over. Twenty years later, my relationship with my 12-year-old daughter was awful. She was unhappy. I did everything I could to fix her life for her: hovering and telling her what to do and what to think. But the more I tried to help, the worse things got.

After one of our nightly arguments, I stormed off into my own bedroom. I sat on my bed, totally frustrated. I was alone in the room. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I heard myself saying: “It’s just like living with a drunk!” I hadn’t even known I was thinking that thought. Nevertheless, it was true, and I knew it as soon as I heard myself say it.

I picked up the phone in the bedroom and called my older brother. He had mentioned going to Al‑Anon meetings for adult children of alcoholics. I asked him if the meetings would help me. He said, “Yes.” Then he also said that I should go to the meetings for myself, not to fix my daughter. I did not understand why he would say that to me any more than I understood why my relationship with my daughter felt like living with a drunk, even though neither of us drank.

I went to my first meeting that week. My journey into understanding the family disease of alcoholism began. I will always be grateful for the moment of clarity I had that night sitting alone in my bedroom, and for the love, support, and hope I continue to receive in Al‑Anon.

By Eileen F., Kansas

The Forum, February 2021

Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al‑Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.

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