Girls are often born into this world surrounded by messages about who they are supposed to be, and who they should become; Be cute. Smile. Be a nice girl. Just give them a hug. Don’t make a fuss. Suck in your belly. Be the ideal body type. Look sexy. Stay pure and innocent. Be good in bed. You can have it all if you do it this way.
Individuals in recovery have generally spent a lot of time avoiding their painful, shameful or fearful reality. Using chemicals, relationships, busyness, spending, eating, not eating, fantasy, gambling, sex, etc. to escape reality.
My father’s and my favorite dish was lamb and green beans, “arni fasolia” in Greek which is what we called it. My father would take me into the kitchen if he’d made it and give me a spoon to taste immediately, we always thought it was our best try ever. And it always was.
Dr. Georgia Fourlas LCSW, LISAC, CSAT, Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows
I live in Arizona so I do not get the benefit of seeing the beautiful fall foliage colors that some of the other parts of the nation enjoy. However, I see plenty of pics of autumn colors posted all over social media from friends across the country.
As my daughter does her recovery work from drug and alcohol addiction and anxiety, I too work my recovery through Al-Anon.
I won’t go into details of how my daughter and I both came to this point because I’m guessing many of you are already familiar with the scenario— failing grades, arrests, court appearances, isolation, detachment, and on and on.
I spent many fear-filled nights of insanity sleeping with my phone next to me waiting for that call parents fear most… Was she in jail again? Was she in an accident? Did she overdose? Was she dead? I received one of those calls. My daughter was in such a bad place that she couldn’t even finish her last semester of college.
Finally, I gave in to my fear, checked my ego, and accepted the help of many friends and family. With mixed emotions of anger, pain, shame, and guilt, I put aside my resentment of being forced to face my daughter’s issues, and on a Sunday morning her intervention team showed up at her college rental house. To say things didn’t go as planned would be an understatement. The well thought out plan of getting her to agree to go to treatment failed; she would not go.
I left the intervention feeling defeated and numb. What now? As hard as it was, I tried tough love and cut her cell phone service off and thus lost total communication with her. However, she still had our family dog, Bailey, at the rental house.
Little did I know that Bailey would be the link to finally getting my daughter into treatment. Late one night I received a call from my daughter’s roommates; Bailey was sick and they couldn’t get a hold of my daughter (no surprise). I went to pick up Bailey and had an enlightening heart-to-heart conversation with the roommates who were just as concerned about my daughter as I was. This unfortunate course of events (Bailey rebounded) helped me to formulate a plan to convince my daughter she needed treatment.
Four weeks following the unsuccessful intervention, my daughter was on a plane to treatment. She was fortunate to have some of the best treatment service available and after five months, a few relapses, and with the grace of God, she is now home.
While my daughter was in treatment I knew I had to do something for myself, so I found an Al-Anon group and started going. I knew that what I had been doing in relation to my daughter wasn’t working, and my hope was that through Al-Anon, I would be able to find new tools to help me get through these new challenges I was facing.
I’ve learned so much from the Al-Anon fellowship and hearing the experience, strength, and hope of others dealing with the disease of addiction. By working the 12 Steps through Al-Anon I have learned that I am powerless over the disease of addiction; I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it. With this new knowledge, I fearlessly let go of the control I so tightly held onto in the hope of changing my daughter. Fear still creeps in, and when it does, I have learned to let go and let God. It’s one day at a time but I am committed to not letting fear define me, my life or my choices.
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