At the end of 7th grade, when I was 13 years old, my mom picked me up from school and told me we were leaving my dad. A few months later they were divorced. Though my mom was always careful to accept her role in the breakup of their marriage, their divorce was due mostly to my father’s alcoholism and the effect it was having on us kids, and we all knew it. Though I do love him, I can honestly tell you that I have never missed living with my dad since that day.
I remember many times going to AA meetings with my parents and hearing people talk about their drinking and what a struggle it was to get sober. I also recall my father saying time and time again that he wasn’t going to drink anymore…but he always did.
There is no more helpless feeling on earth than listening to your parents fight because your dad is drunk again and knowing that you can’t do anything to help your mom…or your dad.
Eventually my dad did get sober, but by then he had already caused irreparable damage to his family and his own life.
So what does this have to do with the title of this post – “Happy Birthday!”? Keep reading…
T., my stepsons’ mom, and my friend, celebrated 6 years of sobriety tonight! Being the weirdest divorced family we know of, she invited my hubby and me to join her tonight as she celebrated this milestone at her AA “Birthday Meeting”. We gladly accepted the invitation. 🙂 My stepsons were there tonight also and I think it is so good that they have been going to meetings with their mom since she started down this path to sobriety. Several people mentioned what a joy the boys have been to them over the years. I could tell that the boys feel the same way about those folks.
Because it was her birthday, T. was the speaker at tonight’s meeting and my eyes filled up as I heard her talk about her struggle with alcohol and how not even her kids, whom she loves with all her heart, were enough to enable her to quit drinking. The tears flowed down my face as she described how, 6 years ago, she “hit bottom” and realized that she needed to do something about her alcoholism, not just for her kids, but for herself. She walked into her first AA meeting that afternoon and she has been sober since then, one day at a time. I suspect that some days it was more like one minute at a time.
The rest of this post is my letter to T.
Thank you so much for including us in your celebration tonight. I can’t tell you what it meant to me to be there to support you and to celebrate this milestone with you. I am so proud of you! I know that getting sober hasn’t always been easy, and staying sober was even harder at times. But then nothing worth while ever really comes easily. You totally rocked this one!!
I want you to know from the bottom of my heart, and as an adult child of an alcoholic, what a precious gift you’ve given your sons in getting sober and staying sober while they are still young. They are so blessed to have you for their mom. They are loved, content and secure with you. They know exactly how much they mean to you, and that is priceless.
I am also immensely grateful for the relationship that my hubby and I have with you. I know of so many who have an almost daily struggle with their exes, fighting tooth and nail to be allowed to give their children the love and care that they deserve. Our relationship with you has always been one of mutual respect and appreciation. What a blessing that is for the boys! What a blessing that is for all of us! Thank you for what you said about us tonight, I will cherish it always.
I also want to thank you for saying what you said tonight about how you couldn’t get sober just for the boys. I always thought that if my dad just loved us kids enough, or if we could just be good enough, that he could quit drinking…but I have come realize that we weren’t enough, and it wasn’t our fault. I am not sure I was ever able to grasp that until tonight. Again, thank you.
Happy 6th Birthday T! May you have many, many more years of sobriety and may we have many more years of friendship, even beyond watching the boys grow up. We may be the weirdest divorced/blended family we know of; but weird is good sometimes!