One unexpected outcome of working my Al‑Anon program has been an improvement in my relationship with my son, who is my alcoholic loved one. Realizing that I am powerless over his decisions and lifestyle has helped me to let go of him. I’m also concerned about his sister, who has been affected by the family disease. If I am having a bad day or night obsessing about them, I imagine my Higher Power holding them and telling me, “I have got this.”
Learning to listen to my son and not give advice has been key, along with not asking him too many questions or trying to manipulate him. In our conversations we stick to neutral subjects, usually our dogs and his music. He has delighted me with impromptu concerts or videos, and I truly treasure these experiences.
Recently, I made awkward amends about some abuse he had suffered as a child and teenager. Later, he brought up the subject again, and it felt good to hear his point of view; it helped me let go of my shame and guilt for not doing more to help him. I am getting better at accepting him as he is—at loving the person and hating his disease.
Until recently, my house was littered with “before” pictures: pictures of my son before he became a rebellious teenager, before all the time in detention and then prison, before his suicide attempt. I put those pictures away, and today I display pictures of him as he is right now. Doing so helped me a lot with accepting this situation and letting go of the questions, Why him? Why us?
I do not know what the future holds for me or for him. But I can accept that the future is in the control of my Higher Power and that my son has his own Higher Power.
By Mary S., Arizona
The Forum, December 2023
Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm website or newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.