Letting Go Of Our Grown Children

"Today I will take one small step to get my life back."

Thought for today:

Sometimes family members will not agree with our recovery philosophy and spending plans. They may seem to undermine our financial recovery, making demands or taking advantage of us.

We feel anger and then pity when they wreck a car. They hurt themselves and those around them with their neglect or worse. We see them wasting their lives and wonder, “Is this the person I raised?”

In order to improve our home life, we sometimes need to have a difficult conversation. Many emotions and thoughts can run through our minds – “if I say this, he will say that”. Instead of worrying and then delaying action, we need to find a way to discuss the problem at home.

If we can get outside counseling it is often very helpful. If our support network is strong, we can eventually get to a point where we can write a letter, have a trusted friend in the fellowship read it and offer loving advice on how to make it a clear expression of our feelings and thoughts. We never want to blame. We want to encourage. We never want to condemn. We want to be hopeful.

A member shares:

“My grown child has no job, and little appreciation for our home. Out all night, sleeping all day, the dangerous behaviors were getting worse.

My sponsor told me ‘You’re not doing them any favors by enabling them to continue this way.’  I agreed to finally write one of the more difficult letters of my life – but I first had to let go of the anger and blame I was feeling.

By attending meetings and working the Twelve Steps, I learned that I did not have to be a victim in my home.

It hurts to think that my child has become a stranger to me.  I cannot change that overnight – if ever.

In my recovery, I have to be able to speak up for myself, starting at home, calmly and with wisdom.

This is the letter I wrote:

‘Dear ___,

I’m writing this with love. I remember we used to have fun together. You’d love to explore nature.  We had good times.

Mom and I love you. We love you too much to see you going through bad situations and not speak up, and we love our home enough to make it a safe place where we can all thrive and live happily.

Mom and I have needs – to be able to sit on our couch in the morning, or talk freely in our home.

We also need everyone in our home to contribute financially, and to clean up their own messes.

We need everyone here to be kind to each other and we need to be able to speak clearly and honestly about our feelings – without fear of retaliation.

We need everyone to be sober and clean and be working on a plan to improve their lives, work, money, health, health insurance, etc., getting the help and support they need.

In this home we need people to not get into fights (physical or yelling), and to not get into trouble with disorderly conduct – in or out of our home.

We need everyone here to be self-supporting, working hard during the daylight hours at honest work, including jobs, recovery work, job applications, and fun hobbies.

We need everyone here to not carry or use illegal drugs. We need everyone to be living a sober lifestyle.

We need everyone to be honest – without being cruel. We need everyone to care for each other.

We need everyone to be extra respectful of our places of employment and our apartment building.

And we need our home to be a safe place again.

In two weeks we need to see clear evidence that you are doing all these things. If you choose not to comply, we will ask you to find other living arrangements, and not return unannounced.

I love you.’

The reaction was one of anger, but I didn’t have to argue. I simply shook my head yes when i meant ‘yes’, and no when I disagreed. The words on the page were exactly what I had wanted to say, and I posted them on the door so they would be remembered.  No other words were necessary.

I don’ know what will happen to my grown child, but I have hope for their recovery. I didn’t cause this situation, and I can’t do it for them. They need to make their own choices.”

Meditation for today:

We cannot live another person’s life for them. We must live our own lives. If we suffer from another person’s abuse or self-loathing, we must not try to retaliate or fix them. We must seek help to find loving answers, and be willing to let them go and make their own decisions.  We must be willing to walk our own path.

Affirmation for today:

“Today I will take one small step to get my life back.”


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