Monday, September 28, 2009
There is something that bothers me
On Friday, I received an email from a member in Al-Anon. It included a letter from his 10 year old daughter to the mother who has had a difficult time staying sober. The man wrote that he wanted to share what the daughter had written to the mother who is currently in rehab.
I don't feel good about posting large excerpts from her letter. But in the letter, the daughter said that her dad had told her that her mom was going to kill herself. She explains that it felt "like a bomb hit her heart". She goes on to write that she has spent months wondering where her mother is, wondering why her mom stole from her, and why her mom can't stay sober.
The daughter writes that she can't relate to anyone at school because she can't tell anyone how she feels. She can't forgive her mother for the lies, lies to her and to her father. She writes of her sadness that she doesn't have a mom who can brush her hair.
Her admonition in the letter is that the behavior around alcohol makes her father sad. He cries at times. The child asks, "Do you want to do this to your husband? What happened to the person you were?"
Finally, the letter ends with the daughter expressing love for her mom, but that she doesn't want to communicate anymore if alcohol is chosen over her and her father.
This is obviously a letter filled with pain. The picture that I got from this is one in which the daughter is angry, sad, and disturbed. I wrote back to the husband who I know from meetings. I wrote that it seems that the daughter would benefit from working with an Alateen sponsor. There is an informative pamphlet for Alateen - I think it is "If your parents drink too much?"
What I find really sad is that the daughter feels that she needs to be a buffer between the mom and dad. This is so typical of a child trapped in an alcoholic/dysfunctional home. Somehow, the child needs help to see that her mother has a miserable disease that no one can control or cure, except for her.
I decided that I would keep the family in a special spot in my God box. It takes time to believe in the first three steps but a keen awareness of the presence of a Higher Power helps me to get through the tough stuff. Sometimes He just lets things stew - then He steps in and cleans house.
I think that there were a couple of things besides the pain that bothered me. The first was that I don't know how wise it is for the 10 year old to be told that her mother tried to kill herself. There are just some things that seem too harsh to reveal. Maybe that is just my fear surfacing, but it felt as if the child was a pawn in the family duel.
I also have come to realize that I had to quit blaming the alcoholic for everything. That's where Alateen would have helped me so many years ago. I'm hoping that somehow this family will begin to heal.