I’ve heard many times that it’s a family disease but I didn’t really know what that meant. Addiction has always been a part of my family. I thought it was a normal part of life. Growing up I didn’t know the effects of alcoholism or drug addiction. I couldn’t imagine that the disease could and did affect others because it was a part of my life. The disease was something that I thought would never affect my immediate family, when I became a parent, because I was a “good example”. That was my plan. You see, I had a plan in order to avoid the dysfunction like in the house grew up in. I planned “family time” so that my kids would have a good family life. My motto was a family that played together, stayed together, or so I thought. We moved from California to Idaho so we could enjoy so many outdoor activities with the kids and have a better upbringing than in a big city. My plan was to stay connected to my husband so we could have a good marriage and maybe my kids could again not have to suffer through a horrendous marriage that I witnessed growing up. I showed my kids responsibility and strength. I went to college for many years while my husband and I both worked. My husband worked nights and I worked days so a parent could always be home with the kids. We were very involved with their schools. We had health insurance, took family vacations, spent time with extended family, taught the kids how to fish and cook. We bought the kids things we never had. I taught Sunday school, which they attended. I took them to church each Sunday. I didn’t yell at my kids because I grew up in a home with extreme rage. I talked to my kids. My plan was to do the best I could so they would be “successful” and “productive” citizens. They would be healthy both mentally and spiritually.
In 2009 my son entered inpatient drug rehabilitation. Before I knew of his addiction, I wondered what happened to “my plan”. I wondered where I had gone so wrong. I was angry and confused and tired. Ultimately, I didn’t know I was powerless and that it was never ever about “my plan” at all. My marriage was crumbling and my daughter was a resident in our house but I wasn’t aware her or of much other than the wrath of living with a drug addict. There was wreckage. I realized I was back in the raging home I grew up in. The louder my husband got the quieter I got (and the more broken I got). I was powerless. I could do no more to raise the best family I could. Doing my best wasn’t good enough. I was so full of emotion because I never showed any; I was about to break. While my son was in rehab I went to an Alanon meeting. It was my savior. I was paralyzed with so many feelings and emotions that I never knew I had, or how they felt. I couldn’t power through anymore. In Alanon, I learned how to feel. I learned how to just breathe and trust. I got a sponsor and began working the steps. Alanon gave me hope; that I wasn’t a hopeless mother who never knew what I was doing and it taught me that I didn’t ruin my son. It taught me that “my best” was good enough. More importantly, I learned that there is only one plan that exists and it’s that of my Higher Power. I learned there is a plan for each of us and that my best was truly my best. In 2012 I learned my daughter also had the disease of addiction. WOW – I thought. My old thoughts lingered back in, but now I wondered “how could I “f-up” both my kids”? I called my sponsor and a friend in the Alanon. We talked for a long time. We went to a meeting together as well as the next day. This time, I felt my feelings and there were many, unlike before. I looked to my Higher Power and I began to remember (again) that my best was truly my best and that her life is not about “my plan” but her Higher Power’s plan. I didn’t cause it, I can’t cure it, I can’t control it and I cannot change it. Love is all I can do today.
I’m so thankful and grateful for many things today. My husband and I worked on our marriage, I’ve continued in Alanon, I love me (most of the time) today and that I know my Higher Power has a plan for me also. I’m special, I’m loved and I’m human.