My family doesn’t speak to me. Not one of them. The crazy thing about it is they all talked to me when I was actively drinking, encouraging (okay, more like begging and threatening) me to get some help. Yet, after I went to treatment the first time, they all dropped like flies. They were suddenly unable to deal with the wreckage I had created while drinking. Now, I honestly don’t know how they put up with me when I was drinking, and I wouldn’t have blamed them for writing me off then. But I was completely shocked and extremely hurt when they dumped me when I decided to try to get well. It has taken over two years to get to the point where I can accept that they are not a part of my life anymore. Of course, that acceptance can, and does, quickly turn to sadness and regret when special days come up. The holidays are particularly hard, and birthdays, both theirs and mine, kind of suck. The guilt and shame kick in big time, followed by anger, and finally self-pity and grief. I know the cycle well, it’s what caused my relapse seven months ago.
When I reentered treatment last November, I knew that the thing I needed to work on was acceptance. At the beginning, it felt like an uphill battle. I didn’t even know where to begin. Nearly every therapy session, many of my small group meetings, and a lot of one-on-one conversations that I had there were about acceptance. It was good for me to hear what others thought and felt about me and my situation. By learning how others saw me, even those that were privy to all of my shameful secrets and horrible choices, I was able to come to the realization that maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t the piece of crap that I thought I was. Yes, I had done awful things and behaved badly, but that didn’t make me worthless and irredeemable as my family seems to think. Learning that put me on the path to acceptance. I can’t control what my family thinks. I can’t control that they have no desire to see me. What I can control is the way I deal with it, and the choices I make now.
One of the choices that I make now is to surround myself with people that love me the way I am. I have the most wonderful husband that showers me with unconditional love, which I never knew before. I have a smart, handsome stepson that has loved and accepted me from the very start. I also have friends in and out of the program that value my friendship and know my heart. My sponsor is not only my guide through the steps, but my sister in sobriety, and one of my very best friends. These are the people that make up my family today. The fact that they don’t share my ancestry really doesn’t mean a thing. It is such a gift of sobriety to have genuine, meaningful relationships. I am truly blessed.