Ellen C. – Family Recovery Speaker – “Changing my attitude, changing my life” (Funny!)
This is one of the best Al-Anon speakers out there! Ellen shares a powerful story of coming to terms with her daughter’s alcoholism and addiction. This is a great story for everyone, but especially people that have a family member struggling with substance abuse. Recovery is possible!
Accepting things exactly how they are
I’m so grateful that alcoholics do what they do for themselves, and not for any kind of success rate. You know statistics are that these young people who come in, eighty percent of them have to go back out because they’re not done. My daughter was one of those she stayed sober about a year and a half, and then she went back out and there. When she went back, there were long periods of time when I knew where she was, but I didn’t know what state she was in. I didn’t know what was happening to her, but I knew it wasn’t good, whatever it was. At some point she called me and said, “Mom, I have to have three hundred dollars by tomorrow morning or else.” I told her I did not have three hundred dollars to give her. I did not bail her out of jail, and she did not call me for a while after that. She did time in all the little jails in our area and probably others I don’t know about. Her friends called me and they said, “We’re going to bail her out one more time and it’s the last time we’re going to do it. I said, “Thank you for telling me, there is nothing I can do.” My daughter reached a point where on June 29, 1990 she walked back into Alcoholics Anonymous and I had nothing to do with it. It had everything to do with it because they did not treat her like she is too young, they did not treat her like she hadn’t suffered long enough.
My daughter got sober twice before it was ever legal for her to drink. Now she has sixteen years of continuous sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous. That is a miracle, and it is not mine. The best thing I ever did for that kid was get a program, get a life, and get out of her way. I needed to let her do what she needed to do in that year and a half she was sober. I said for the umpteenth time, and I meant it, “Here are the rules of my house. If you cannot abide by them, you cannot stay here.” I recognized that the only way I was going to heal was in in peaceful surroundings and she wasn’t going to give me peace in her active addiction and alcoholism. I wanted to heal. I needed to heal. I planned the day to kick her out to be the day I was leaving to go to Crested Butte to be with hundreds of my closest friends because I didn’t want to kick my daughter out. I love my daughter. I adore my daughter. I wanted to give her a healthy, happy home. With her addiction and alcoholism, she couldn’t do any of those things. That was the morning she threw herself across my bed and said, “You’re going to be a grandmother.”
She was 18 and she was pregnant. I thought that changed everything. I thought if I did not stay home and take care of her, and I would die. That’s how it felt. I finally picked up the phone and I called my sponsor. I told her what happened and she said, “Do you want her to stay?” and I said, “No I don’t want her to stay. I feel terrible about that.” She responded, “Honey, there are only so many bad feelings in every relationship. Those are hers. Let her have them.” So there it was, she was asked to go. We went through a difficult fall she went around telling everybody how mean I was, and that she was pregnant and I wouldn’t let her come home. I think sometimes that the sanity offered to us in the steps just short of paradise. The reason we don’t get paradise is because we would take over again. We would say, “Yeah God, we will do it my way today” My journey in Al-Anon has been a journey from you, to thank you. When I get to the place where I can say thank you for everything exactly as it is, that’s acceptance to me.