I’m a better person and parent
I joined Al‑Anon for the sake of my kids. I wanted to break the cycle of alcoholism so they wouldn’t grow up with it, as I had. Now, I know that I’m in Al‑Anon for me, and recovery has improved my relationship with my children in the bargain. Here is one simple example of how it works.
Early one morning, I dropped my children off at the bus stop and drove home. It was a day off for me, and I looked forward to a whole day without any trips to town (a 20-minute drive from where we live). Before eight a.m., the phone rang. My daughter forgot her clarinet. Would I please bring it into school? My immediate response was anger. Thanks to recovery, I knew I didn’t want to make a decision when I was mad. I told her I needed some time and I’d get a message to her in time for her lesson.
I lay down on my bed and threw a temper tantrum. When my angry energy was spent, I asked God to show me my part in this situation. The knowledge came to me that my daughter did not need to remember her clarinet because I was doing it for her. I memorized her music schedule and, on the days she had band, I grabbed her instrument and music book and handed it to her as she went out the door. I’ve found that if I take the time to stay with my feelings, I come to a place of willingness to pray.
I called an Al‑Anon friend. I told her about my caretaking, and said that I thought taking the clarinet to school for my daughter would be the start of an amends. She agreed, but made a surprising suggestion, “Do something nice for yourself when you get to town—maybe have a special cup of tea or something.” With a treat as part of the plan, the trip to town was no longer self-punishment and a waste of time and gas. My amends for caretaking included a little self-care!
That afternoon, I apologized to my daughter for my angry response to her call and for taking over her responsibility for her instrument. I told her of my intention to stop meddling. She smiled at me, “Mom, you’re not the only one who made a mistake here. I saw my clarinet this morning and thought, ‘I need to take that today.’ Then I forgot it. I’m sorry, too. Thanks for bringing it in for me.”
By Becky, Minnesota
The Forum, February 2017
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Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al‑Anon Family Group Hdqts., Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.