One of the happiest moments is when you find the courage to let go of what you cannot change, and accept the way it is and isn’t. That’s when you will find freedom. One story behind one of my happiest moments
I’ve been a member of Al-Anon since 1989. It’s a 12-step program for people who have been affected by someone else’s drinking. I started Al-anon when my daughter was 8 months old. Her dad and I split because of his drinking. Both my parents were alcoholics. People don’t like to talk about that sort of thing. I think the crazy-making in families is usually caused by some form of addiction. There usually is a lot of denial about addictions and a lot of shame and guilt associated with the person addicted and their immediate denial and the other members of the family trying to control the person who is addicted. Those members frequently go into denial and have shame and guilt. Everything and everyone seem to be out of control which causes craziness. In Al-Anon, I learned to stop trying to control things and let go and let God.
This story is in no way bad-mouthing my oldest daughter’s dad. When we split, I had my own money. I had owned a house in North Delta that I sold and bought the old Fort Hope Trading Post and renovated the upstairs and downstairs and made it an antique store below and living quarters above. I hired contractors to help me renovate to make it livable. My daughter’s dad would come up most weekends with his then 10-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter and work with me until I got the store in shape to open. After that, we only saw them once a month or so.
My daughter’s father was acholic and of course, I was attracted to alcoholics because of my upbringing. It was comfortable and familiar. I never saw that until years later when I saw the same pattern over and over again.
Lots of value antiques were starting to go missing and I couldn’t understand that. Then one day I was down in Burnaby and my truck broke down. I called my daughter’s dad and asked if we could stay with him for a couple of days while my truck was being fixed, and he readily agreed. When I walked into his home for the first time, I was shocked. I saw all these antiques that had been stolen from my store. I asked his 13-year-old daughter if she would watch her sister for 20 minutes while her dad and I talked privately in his car. I was livid. He agreed to talk privately in the car.
When we got there, I just confronted him with the thievery. He denied it and told me this cock and bull story about me giving these items to him. That made me angrier. Then there was a moment of sanity when I got clear that he believed his own bull and that was the moment I got clarity. sanity and freedom. I saw how right I was, and he was going to stick to his story. In that moment I got the insanity of active alcoholism. Even when the acholic is sober it can be insane but when they are drinking watch out. If I kept trying to get him to see he was wrong, that I was right, he stole it would get crazier. I saw he was sick and if I continued this conversation, I would be as sick as he was. When I finally accepted the way it was and the way it wasn’t. I had the courage to let go and let God. I finally had the courage to put some boundaries in.
I stopped making him wrong and I put some strict boundaries in. I was able to say to him, I got you believe what you are saying. I don’t agree with your version and from now on when you visit your daughter you can no longer visit my shop. He sputtered a bit then let me continue. If I see anything missing from my apt then you will have to visit our daughter outside. I will never stop you from visiting our daughter. Our daughter needs you and her siblings in her life. Please respect my boundaries. In that moment I was freed up. I had total freedom to be myself, let him be his-self and I didn’t have to make him wrong anymore.
By having the courage to accept the way it was and the way it wasn’t. By accepting I could not change him. He wasn’t willing at that time to get sober. I was able to free us both up. We had a good relationship considering his problem. I always involved him in our daughter’s life. He died a few years ago and I am so grateful that I had the courage to do what I did and allow him the dignity and grace to be himself. I always knew my former loved his daughter and didn’t know how to be emotionally there for her. I explained that to our daughter. How could he? He wasn’t emotionally available to himself so how could he be there for her. That was why he drank to numb himself. He wasn’t a bad person he was a sick person.
One of the happiest moments of my life is when I had the courage to let go with love. I couldn’t change it, I was powerless over the acholic, and our lives became manageable because I stopped trying to control the uncontrollable. A lot of people don’t talk about alcoholism, but it needs to be talked about. I highly recommend going to Al-Anon meetings. They got me to understand my family and allowed me to forgive and release the shame and guilt. I get to now live being loving and compassionate with strong boundaries to protect myself and my family.
Go for it! I want on my gravestone she burned out instead of rusted out! What do you want them to say about you?
Ask yourself are your actions and speaking are in alignment with what you are committed to? Look at what are the habitual patterns that have that commitment thwarted? Are you willing to take responsibility for when it doesn’t go the way you want or the way you expected and clean up your part? Are you willing to let go of Expectations of yourself and others? What are you not being truthful about to yourself and others?
Our thoughts can be like a junk drawer-we need to take inventory and get rid of what is not useful! (wendy b)
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I support women when facing adversity to Reclaim Their Power bringing them more clarity, confidence, and joy. Also, I share my 40 years of experience of being a successful entrepreneur while raising two children who are now adults.
International renowned Transformational Solution Coach, Author
Motivational Speaker, podcaster: Thriving at Sixty
Certified Reclaim Your Power (RYP) Workshop, Leader
Transformational Coach transforming your perception of yourself and others one conversation at a time.
Best selling Author of “Getting Unstuck,” 30 Ways to turn YOUR limiting barriers into clarity, freedom and power
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