When you’re caught the hell of living with someone with addiction/substance-abuse disorder or trying to recover from childhood trauma, you want someone to give you all the clear answers. Just do this and then that.
You want to fix everyone and everything except you have no idea how to do any of it.
You want SO DESPERATELY for someone to tell you how to save the ill person you love and all the people negatively affected by the hell-ish stuff. You want someone to give you the step-by-step clear path to your own happiness and sanity.
The reality is that there’s no set of answers that anyone can give you.
When I went to my first Al-Anon meeting, I was seeking those answers.
I finally admitted that after 26 years of trying, I could not fix my alcoholic mother. I couldn’t fix my co-dependent father. I couldn’t stop my mother’s drinking from negatively affecting my little sister.
So I showed up with one question in mind: WHAT SHOULD I DO TO FIX THIS MESS???!!!
Quickly, I learned that no one was going to give me advice about my situation. They had no glossy playbook to bequeath me.
As I spoke about my family and my life, I realized that I wasn’t there to fix anyone but myself. In fact, living for so long as a child of an alcoholic, it wasn’t until that night that I realized how ill I had become myself.
In those meetings, I listened like I’ve never listened before, taking in every story (variations of my own story!) and details of the missteps and successes in their paths to coping and healing. I read every book I could find about addiction, its impact on families and adult children of alcoholics. I went to see a counselor who was an adult child of an alcoholic and an alcoholic in recovery.
Clarity came and I found many answers on my own. I developed the courage necessary to help myself (and my family).
While I’m definitely still learning, I am confident that the answers are within me if I listen and actively continue on my ACoA journey.
The answers are within you, too.
I hope you’re well on your journey.