Monday, 7 January 2013

Letting Go

Almost a year ago today, I realized that I needed to find a way to live with the fact that my son had something that could kill him, and I couldn’t do anything about it. I had to admit that I was powerless. This was the hardest thing for me to do. I could always protect my kids from monsters under the bed and bad guys and other things that kids worry about, but I met my match with addiction. I had to let go and let God.

Trust me when I say that this is much easier said than done. Think about it for a moment. Think about your own child having something that could kill them – addiction takes many lives each year – and you have to let go and put it in God’s hands. Talk about a test of faith! 

My wonderful sister, Judy, gave me one of Melody Beattie’s books to read called, “The Language of Letting Go.”  Within those pages, I found some peace. The first reading that really helped me to understand what letting go meant is called Letting Go of Those Not in Recovery and it is pasted below. 

We can go forward with our life and recoveries, even though someone we love is not yet recovering.

Picture a bridge. On one side of the bridge it is cold and dark. We stood there with others in the cold and darkness, doubled over in pain. Some of us developed an eating disorder to cope with the pain. Some drank; some used other drugs. Some of us lost control of our sexual behavior. Some of us obsessively focused on addicted people’s pain to distract us from our own pain. Many of us did both: we developed an addictive behavior, and distracted ourselves by focusing on other addicted people. We did not know there was a bridge. We thought we were trapped on a cliff.

Then, some of us got lucky. Our eyes opened, by the Grace of God, because it was time. We saw the bridge. People told us what was on the other side: warmth, light, and healing from our pain. We could barely glimpse or imagine this, but we decided to start the trek across the bridge anyway.

We tried to convince the people around us on the cliff that there was a bridge to a better place, but they wouldn’t listen. They couldn’t see it; they couldn’t believe. They were not ready for the journey. We decided to go alone, because we believed, and because people on the other side were cheering us onward. The closer we got to the other side, the more we could see, and feel, that what we had been promised was real. There was light, warmth, healing and love. The other side was a better place.

But now there is a bridge between us and those on the other side. Sometimes, we may be tempted to go back and drag them over with us, but it cannot be done. No one can be dragged or forced across the bridge. Each person must go at his or her own choice, when the time is right. Some will come; some will stay on the other side. The choice is not ours.

We can love them. We can wave to them. We can holler back and forth. We can cheer them on, as others have cheered and encouraged us. But we cannot make them come over with us.

If our time has come to cross the bridge, or if we have already crossed and are standing in the light and warmth, we do not have to feel guilty. It is where we were meant to be. We do not have to go back to the dark cliff because another’s time has not yet come.

The best thing we can do is stay in the light, because it reassures others that there is a better place. And if others ever do decide to cross the bridge, we will be there to cheer them on.

Today, I will move forward with my life, despite what others are doing or not doing. I will know it is my right to cross the bridge to a better life, even if I must leave others behind to do that. I will not feel guilty, I will not feel ashamed. I know that where I am now is a better place and where I’m meant to be.

Letting go did not mean that I had to abandon my son in his time of need. I could still love him as I always have. I could still support and encourage him like any mother would. I just couldn’t stay in the darkness of addiction, fighting a battle that I couldn’t win no matter how hard I tried.  Now, when the burden of addiction becomes too heavy to carry, as is often the case, I say “Lord, this is too big. I have to hand it over to you. I can’t carry it anymore.” When I do this, I feel at peace.

Not everyone has the same higher power or prays in the same way, and that is fine. Your higher power is something/someone that is bigger than you are that brings you peace. It is a personal choice. It is your recovery.

I encourage you to visit the Island Addiction Movement group where I post readings from the Nar-Anon daily reader, which are so helpful. From time to time, I'll receive an email like the one below, from a parent thanking me for the postings. 

"The daily readings from Nar-Anon have been so helpful to me. Sometimes when my son calls looking for money, I have already read the reading and it gives me the courage to say no. Thanks again."

Other people post wonderful words of encouragement there as well. It is a supportive place for addicts and their families, and we would love to have you join us there.


1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful way to express "letting go" brought me a sense of peace just to read it.

    I saw the following post today on Facebook and thought I would share it as these words also brought me a few moments of peace. As a parent, the worry about what might happen to my child, who is strugging with addiction, has taken a massive tole on my life. I need to remember to live in the moment and be in the now.

    "Whenever you are feeling down and feel stress is overwhelming you, go for a nice quiet walk. Observe all the beauty around you. Listen for the peaceful sounds of nature and be reminded that you are part of that peace. Get out of the mind and into your heart.

    Sometimes our minds can make situations and life appear to be worse than it is. Whenever I feel this way, I simply stop and ask myself, "Am I okay right now, this very minute?" The answer is normally "yes" and it dispels my fears of the future. I know that tomorrow will take care of itself. I don't need to go over and over it.

    We are capable of handling these things in the moment they are happening, but we can't do anything about perceived fears, they are not even happening in the NOW."

    (the author was not listed on FB)


Thank you for your comment. Please be advised that comments are moderated.