Accepting those things we cannot change frees us.
It's so easy to get caught up in other people's lives. Assuming that we know what's best for them seems so natural. Many of us have excelled at being caretakers, but it's time to back off and let our loved ones fend for themselves. That means letting them make their own decisions and live with their own consequences.
We can't change other people. Certainly we have made others feel guilty enough so that they have given in and done things our way. And we have won many power struggles. But ultimately we can't claim ownership of anyone else's mind, and we aren't the stewards of anyone else's life. We may feel diminished by our lack of control initially, but in time we will love the freedom of living only our own lives. The extra time we'll have and the peace we'll know will comfort us.
I will experience many moments of relief and peace when I let others be their own stewards.
Mother Finds The COurage To Say No
When I first came to Al‑Anon, I felt as though I had finally found a group of people who really understood my struggle. It was such a relief to know they understood my emotional language, not just intellectually, but experientially as well. I felt heard, and never judged. I was encouraged to begin working the Steps and find a Sponsor. It was a great place to start. I felt I had a strong relationship with my Higher Power, and as I began working Step One, that miracle of getting the guidance I needed came to me one day. My daughter, who desperately wanted to come home to live with me after treatment, simply did not understand why my answer was “no.”
Taking it personally, she wanted to know why I didn’t love her anymore. As I took the time to wait for the right answer (as I had heard others say in meetings), it was as if the words were put into my mouth, “Oh no, you have it all wrong, it is because I love you that I have made this decision. Living together has caused great resentment for me, and I never want to resent you again.” Taking my cue from others in the program who encouraged me to love, understand, and respect the alcoholic, I also said, “I have faith and trust that you can take good care of yourself.” It was as if it all made sense to both of us.
Today, we have a great relationship, and mutual respect has grown tremendously. I thank my Higher Power for Al‑Anon. The wisdom, support, and love that I get are amazing. Today, I know I can detach lovingly and safely, maintain a healthy relationship, and respect myself and others as the unique people they were created to be.
By Diana R., Idaho May 2013
Reprinted with permission of The Forum
Al-Anon Family Groups Incorporated, Virginia Beach, VA