The biggest blessing of my life is my child. Because of her, her dad and I are always connected. A reality for all parents that don’t stay united is the infinite connection to the other person. In my case, a forever connection to an alcoholic, and although I am no longer hostage to the disease, I can’t escape.
It comes in the littlest of things….like me being always ready to pick her up when she is with him. Even if he is suppose to transport her, I’ve made a very direct plea to never drive her if he has been drinking. For now, I think he “gets it.” But then sometimes I wonder what he considers drinking. For me, its one drink. For him, is it that or is it not feeling a buzz?
It’s also the times when she is scheduled to be with him and he prioritizes something else. So far, that has happened with vacation recovery, drunken recovery, and dates with women from Match.com. My daughter knows I will always place her first, even if it means cancelling my plans because of these things. In all honesty, that’s sometimes difficult, as moms need their “escape” time too. Regardless, I am committed to a better life for both she and I.
The newest realization for me, is that my child is still a hostage to his disease. And if he doesn’t get sober, she will go through many of the same situations and emotions with him as I did. So far, she has not wanted to try Alateen. Someday she might, or maybe it will be Al-non as she ages. For now it’s me. I counsel on all those situations, as she seems to share most everything with me.
Her dad and I agreed when we spoke to her about our dissolution, that we would never say anything bad to her about the other parent. We never wanted her to feel that pain that we felt from our divorced parents as kids. When his actions inadvertently hurt her, that is SO HARD. Instead, I bite my tongue and try to explain how it was the disease working within his mind and body that caused the problem, and not the person that he really wants to be.
Most recently, I showed her a list of the signs of alcohol withdrawal. Since they can start as quickly as 6 hours after the last drink, I wanted her to be aware that those symptoms could very well play into her time with him, and they include irritation, anxiety, high blood pressure, etc.. So, when he picks her up after work and he doesn’t seem too happy to see her, it could likely be how his body is making him feel from withdrawal and not his true emotions.
I know he loves her. I know he wants to be a good dad. I also know that alcoholism has him in its grip and it limits his success some days. Oh how I hope and pray he will someday find the ability to stay sober and then work the steps. That’s the only hope for him to be less self-centered and learn how to prioritize another person.