First lesson in letting go...

Old 11-28-2002, 06:16 PM
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First lesson in letting go...

When I was 4, my Mom was working on her graduate degree, and my brother and I got to go to work with my Dad. He had a gas station, and we always had a great time making tunnels and forts with the stacks of tires, riding on the lifts, and just plain getting to hang out with Dad. He wasn't home very much. He was an alcoholic and a workaholic. So some of my best childhood memories of him come from this time. One day he took us with him on a bank errand. This was back in the days when grand openings were a very big deal, and another branch of the bank had opened and they were giving out candy and balloons. Dad asked me what color I wanted. Pink. They didn't have pink, so he got me a red one. He really liked red. I was not even disappointed, because a balloon is a balloon. When we got back to the station, he warned me not to take the balloon outside, children's grips and helium being what they are. Naturally, I pushed the envelope, and was standing in the open doorway when the balloon got loose. It bounced on the overhang outside and Dad made a daring leap to catch it, but it was too late. The screaming commenced. Before I knew what happened I was up in his arms and we were outside, and he was pointing at the balloon and saying "Watch it! Don't miss this!" It sailed, I cried. "Will it ever come down?" "Sure, honey. It'll get cold up there and float back down." "Will we be able to get it?" "Ooooooh, I don't think so. I'll bet that balloon ends up in China." Then he made up a wonderful story about a little chinese girl finding my balloon, and how happy it made her. I was fascinated. Better than that, I was happy it got away.

When we buried Dad a few years ago, I picked out a red tie for him to wear. I've never seen this before or since, but my Dad was smiling at us from his coffin. When I looked at his smile, my eyes drifted down to his red tie and I saw that balloon sailing away. I thought "When he comes down, somebody over there is going to be really happy to find him."

In thinking about the Thanksgiving holiday, and numbering the things I have to be thankful for, my Dad always comes to mind. And today I realized, he gave me my first lesson in letting go. Thanks Dad.
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Old 11-28-2002, 07:08 PM
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Smoke, sniff..that was such a beautiful story. You gotta either warn us or hand out Kleenex.

What wonderful memories you must have. Happy Thanksgiving!!
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Old 11-28-2002, 09:25 PM
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You make me cry not only because your story was so sweet but because my daughter left the house tonight so angry at her dad and me

We are at our wits in. She is sober 26 days and we've had some rough times when she has come in drunk. But tonight she was sober but totally lost it when we had something to say about the boyfriend (who is verbally abusive.) She has never acted this way when sober and that is what scares me. Before we blamed the terrible outbursts of anger on the alcohol, but now....sober and screaming at her dad that she hates him. I can't tell you how much it hurt, but I think ya'll know all too well.

Her dad and I have done nothing but support her in her recovery. I mean have done everthing we think and have been told we are supposed to do. Yet tonight, she blamed us for not making enough Al Anon meetings. Guess she has forgotten we have driven out of town 2 times to find meetings only to find no one there.

I guess the thing we are trying to deal with now is her disrespect and lack of appreciation. I KNOW YA'LL KNOW the expense of this all....the treatment, the counseling, the lost years of school (she has withdrawn from college 3 times), etc. And tonight, she stands in the kitchen, tells us she isn't going to listen to us, even looks at her dad who has been NOTHING but THE BEST dad around, and tells him she hates him cause he confronted her.

Ya'll, when do you say, "Ok, if this place is so bad, you are free to move out, but you will be supporting yourself." I really don't know when to do that or if that would be the best for her.

This all happened when she was sober. That is what scares me.
We have busted our tails to support her in this yet we are screamed at and told we are hated. Then she says "give me my keys"....yep, to the car we bought.

I gave them to her cause frankly I didn't care for her to be here. We told her to be home by midnight. We'll see.....

Any advice? I sure could use some.
Thanks guys.
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Old 11-28-2002, 09:55 PM
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ummm... remember that first step?

We admitted that we were powerless over the alcoholic, that our lives had become unmanagable.

If her boyfriend is an unsavory character, you have every right to tell her not to bring him to your house. However, if it was more than that, try to remember that you can't manage her relationships any more than you can any other aspect of her recovery.

As to the outburst... withdrawal smarts. It's physically uncomfortable and she's also coping with the world without her anesthetic for the first time in a long time. A pea sized issue can get magnified into a cannonball. There's no law that says you have to keep her while she's being impossible, but don't be surprised that she's being that way. You and your husband are recovering, too. You wouldn't be the first to find that your recovery is not served by catering to hers. You can't know what is best for her. Addicted people are not all alike, so trying to make plans around what might fix them is guesswork. You may have to decide what is best for you.

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Old 11-28-2002, 10:48 PM
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Remember holidays are over emotional...for whatever reason
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Old 11-29-2002, 12:25 AM
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Thanks Smoke,

My dad died a few years ago too and I really miss him. I think he taught me how to survive. He was very brave and I watched him do some hard things that I had to do later in life too. I wasn't quite as brave as he was, but somehow knowing that he made it through helped me to make it through.

I still carry his strength with me and I can still hear him telling me to watch what I'm doing. (Especially when I'm spacing out while driving.)

My mother is 81 and since my father died she has focused her attention on us and I feel that our relationship is finally healed. I've really been praying for that because I didn't want her to die without that closure. I'm thankful for that. Better late than never.

Old 11-29-2002, 05:27 AM
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I'm happy for you in that you have restored the relationship with you mom.

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Old 12-03-2002, 01:39 AM
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Thank YOU!!!

Smoke---your tribute to your dad was so beautiful!! I agree that you must have some wonderful memories. My dad is dying now, and has been slowly losing his abilities for some time. It is so difficult to see someone you love who was always so strong and vibrant---become someone who is basically living in a shell of what they used to be. Looking at my (most often) silent father lying in a hospital bed, weak and frail---I try to imagine what is going on inside his head. Having worked in a nursing home for 10 years, I know that these lost souls are just that---lost souls!! Dad has withdrawn inside himself and rarely shares anything anymore of himself. He and I were always fairly close, and it is extremely difficult to see him deteriorate this way. He has a bad heart, lungs, kidneys---you name it. It's weakened him to where he can do little for himself, and that is the hardest part of all. My dad was always the "doer", and I know that when he looks at me with his hollow eyes---that there is a deep inner pain inside himself that I can't seem to touch. I hold his hand, stroke his cheek---comb the thick head of hair that no man his age should have!! He turned 77 yesterday and I went to see him in the hospital. He seemed to have no pleasure from living to this age, and all I wanted was to take his pain away. It's getting harder all the time to look at him this way, but most of the family visit only sporadically and seem to be afraid of the dying process. I can't turn my back on this wonderful man---no matter how difficult it is. Your post helped me so much to realize that what my dad has given me of himself over the years---will carry me on my journey through life---long after he is gone!!! Thank you so much, SMOKE----I needed that!!!
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