Tonight, my teenage daughters cried because their father was drinking and had an angry outburst. I hugged them, and we talked honestly about their feelings. One of my daughters felt sad and scared. My other daughter, however, was extremely angry. They both felt guilty and asked if they had done something to cause him to drink.
I explained the disease of alcoholism. I shared that they could separate the disease from the person. They could still love their father, but hate the disease. The words continued to flow as I explained that they didn’t cause his alcoholism, they couldn’t control it, and they couldn’t cure it. Lastly, I also explained that they did not have to accept unacceptable behavior—like how their father had behaved this evening.
As I reflect on my conversation with my daughters, my heart is overflowing with gratitude for the Al‑Anon program. It is only because of the tools and slogans that I was able to respond in an honest and healthy way. When I live my program, I am able to break the generational patterns in my family.