Powerless Patty

Surviving The Holidays, when you love an Alcoholic

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One of the most unbearable memories of my childhood was sitting in the back seat of a white 4-door comet driving thru the back roads of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry County and Alan Jackson’s song ” Please Daddy” would come on the radio.

“Please Daddy don’t get drunk this Christmas
I don’t want to see my Momma cry
Please Daddy don’t get drunk this Christmas
I don’t want my Momma cry

Just last year when I was only seven

Now I’m almost eight, as you can see

You came home a quarter past eleven

And fell down underneath our Christmas tree”

At the age of 8, I knew despite how hard Momma would try to decorate the dysfunction away in our home, there was not enough fresh holly in the world to take away the pain and sadness of watching Daddy get drunk again this Christmas. She’d aim for the perfect ” Hallmark” Christmas – we’d settle for Dad just being able to make it through Christmas dinner without throwing his plate across the floor. It was awful.

Decades later, I would find myself exactly in my Mother’s shoes. Holly shopping away the blues, and trying to mask the dis-ease in our own family home during the holidays. It’s funny how life repeats itself, and we unwittingly find ourselves in the exact same position we vowed as a child that would never happen to us. We’d make better choices. We’d never marry and alcoholic. Our children will never have to suffer as we did, and here we are.

Finding a support group of people who understood the how a family is affected by someone else’s drinking allowed me to find “the hope” in all of the hopelessness. It was life-changing. Finally there was hope, and a fellowship of men and women who all loved alcoholic just like me. They shared how they managed to find peace and serenity. They talked about being powerless over what anyone else did or didn’t do. They talked about the dignity we allow another human being when we allow them to suffer the consequences of their drinking, and that was my lightbulb moment.

I remember it like it was yesterday. “The dignity we allow another human being when we allow them to suffer the consequences of their own drinking. ” Bingo! my heart cried out, that was it. That was the reason I was here, and that is what I needed to hear and learn about.

I found the courage to change my distorted sense of responsibilities and adopted one of their slogans to use during daily living. ” Let Go and Let God, ” and I did. I stopped meddling, controlling, interfering, managing and protecting the alcoholic and turned his life and his care over to God. It was an easy hand-over. Here God, you take him, I just can’t do it anymore. I need to live, regardless of what he is doing. I just need to live.

The steps and traditions of the world-wide fellowship of Al-Anon started by Bill Wilson’s ( founder of AA) wife Lois W. gave me the courage to change and start living amidst the constant crisis and chaos in my home. I was free.

Thanks for letting me share!


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