Although Deborah came from an alcoholic family, and married an alcoholic, she only came to Al-Anon when her son was having problems with alcohol and drugs. And only because a colleague told her of his experience with his son's problems. He didn't tell her what Al-Anon was about, he just said “go”. So she did.
When she was maybe 4 or 5, she felt it was her responsibility to make sure her drunk father got out of his chair and into his bed. When her sister started acting out, Deborah would answer the police call and drive to the station to bring her sister home. Deborah was 13 or 14 at the time (i.e., not legal to drive, yet). She married a man who was “just like” her father.
At her first meeting, a woman asked “do you love your son?” Upon being assured that Deborah did love her son, very much, the woman said “everything you are doing is killing him.” Deborah's mental reaction to this statement is not printable here.
Even after years in Al-Anon, she does “slip” and try to rescue her son. But, she is able to recover and let go, recognizing that her “help” is not actually helping him. She loves the slogan “Hands off pays off”, because it reminds her that only her son can achieve sobriety for himself. She can't give it to him.
Readings and Links
Deborah opened the show by reading from a “Letter from your higher power”, which you can find online at https://al-anon.org/blog/im-putting-son-care/.
At her first meeting, she was given a “newcomer packet”, which included a pamphlet “Three Views of Al-Anon–Alcoholics Speak to the Family” with a letter from the alcoholic.
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3 comments on “Deborah C – Hands Off Pays Off – 322”
This is my first experience of The Recovery Show and I am very grateful for the insights I received. I can very much use “Hands off, pays off” to remind me to not rescue. I took notes on the sharing on Step 6, and the sharing on shame. Thank you for the links to the letter and literature Deborah shared.
Deborah C’s sharing in Hands Off Pays Off pulled me out of a hole today. I intellectually know I need to let go and let God take care of my daughter, but 30+ years of worrying about her and trying to give her advice (control) has created a pattern of behavior that’s very hard to break. I pray on it, work the Steps and share about it. Deborah’s experience gives me hope. Thank you for this program and for the podcasts, Spenser. I appreciate you.
Excellent, just excellent, podcast.