This Week - A Life To Live
Our daughter is 27 and has a severe alcohol problem. The last two years have been nightmarish. At last she is in a flat so we have a peaceful home, although my husband and I still brace ourselves waiting to hear of an accident or some other tragedy involving our daughter. Thank God she has no children.
The pattern has deteriorated into her drinking 11 or 12 days and then being hospitalized when her body can't take any more and she goes into withdrawal. We take her to hospital as she has fits when she withdraws, and these fits can be dangerous.
My husband and I are feeling low and know no end. We try and keep each other up. Others have come off the alcohol. She doesn't find AA helpful, and the alcohol services here are depleted in resources and personnel. We have joined a family group and are helping to restructure it to make a difference in the help drinkers and their families get.
Victoria, the power you wish you had--the power to keep her from drinking--is the power you do not have. The power is in your daughter's hands.
The power you do have is the power not to let your daughter's problem destroy you and your husband. So far it hasn't. But why do you feel so defeated? Because trying to stop her from drinking is like trying to stop it from raining. How long can you try to stop the rain before you are worn out?
You can't help but feel overwhelmed when trying to stop something you have no power to stop.
If something happens, you will want to think that the one time you didn't show up for a meeting, the one time you didn't check on her flat, makes you responsible for what happened. But you are wrong. It won't be what you didn't do, it will be what your daughter did. She is her own destroyer, not you. If a man drives too fast, who is responsible for the accident? He is.
Your daughter knows what happens when she drinks. When she is sober, she chooses to drink. She is in control of her own life. You will want to say, "No, she isn't." But she is. You know why she is? Because neither you, nor your husband, nor anyone else can stop her from drinking. Perhaps one day she will choose to stop drinking, but given her current actions, that day may never come.
You and your husband still have to live your life. That is what you are here for. Create the best possible life you can for yourselves.
Tragedies happen. They are not on our calendar of wants. But no matter what the tragedy, we go on living the best we can.
Wayne & Tamara
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