Al-Anon Lifer

Anonymous sharings from a long-time member of Al-Anon, which is a safe place to recover from the effects of alcoholism in a friend or relative...

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Killing the Elephant

My blood father has come and gone and I am just now starting to regain my serenity, which to me is my goal in recovery. It turns out that the reason I was fearful of being alone with my father isn't for what he would say to me, but for what I would say to him -and how I would say it. The good thing that came out of his visit and a serious conversation we had one day was that I finally killed the elephant in the room.

That elephant was WHY? Why did you not visit me as a child? And why haven't you visited your grandchildren for 17 years? My father's answers are not as important as the fact that I asked the hard questions and then told him how I felt, both as a child whose father left and never came back and as an adult whose father only visited when it seemed convenient for him.

He was not appreciative of my bringing these things up, but the result was that I told him all was forgiven. I do not know where those words came from because I really did not feel forgiveness. However, I've been practicing forgiveness ever since - of my father but more importantly of myself for having been angry for so long and having expressed my feelings in an angry tone.

I'm learning to have compassion for myself - a little girl who was told to shut up, that her feelings did not matter; a young woman who was told to obey her husband (who was an alcoholic); and a middle-aged woman who believed that her relationships should never have any conflict ever again. I've been wrong about that last one. Conflict happens. It is how I deal with it that matters.

To tell you the truth, I did not deal with my father the way I wanted. I spoke louder and longer than necessary. Yet my voice was heard. He heard me. He said that I was hurt as a child. He said he was a good person who had done some very bad things. When I apologized for being so hard on him, he said he probably deserved it. Then I told him all was forgiven and hugged him. I also said that I was done talking about it.

The rest of our time together was a lot more relaxed because the elephant in the room was dead. It is a lot easier to be with others when there isn't a huge beast in the room. Even though I feel like I am still fumigating my world and needing extra rest and needing to talk a little longer in meetings and with program friends - I am regaining my serenity. I am accepting things for the way they were, what happened, and how things are today.

I am forgiving myself as well as both of my parents and my husband. I feel like I want to hold onto my original resentments because they are such an integral part of who I was most of my life. At least, God, let me have just a little resentment... but that's not how surrender works. I need to surrender 100%. It is time. I believe I am letting go and letting God, for good. I believe I am trusting the God of my understanding to do for me what I cannot do for myself.

I believe some of us have a harder time giving up our grudges. I am one of those people, even though I know they hold me back, they weigh me down. No longer. I'm asking God to remove them from me again, before they drag me back to that bitter, ugly person I was when I came into the program 20 years ago. I know it will happen. I've experienced this miracle before. I can feel them lifting and leaving in their wake SERENITY. Now I can get on with living my life.

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