Marion’s daughter, Suzanne, is an alcoholic in recovery. Marion shares how she handled this, the signs they noticed about their daughter as she was younger and the help that she, as a parent, has received in addition to Suzanne’s treatment.
You know, life is not what you expect. I am 66 and my story begins with my grandmother. At age 4, she and her siblings went to live in a children’s home, due to her father’s death. At age 21, she gave birth to my mother, out of wedlock.
My mother is my father’s third wife and my brother and I are his third family. I grew up with my father being in the Army as a career. I loved my family and growing up in the military life.
My husband’s father was an alcoholic and abandoned his family when my husband was 6 years old. He never saw or heard from his father again. We have two precious daughters, having had years of infertility. They are treasures to us and miraculous gifts from God.
Our younger daughter, Suzanne is a recovering alcoholic. She is a delight and joy and God has richly gifted her. She had spinal meningitis at 7 weeks of age and during the teenage years was diagnosed with ADHD. We knew early on that she was a strong-willed child, always high or low.
I love control and saw myself as a change-agent within our family. Like Eve in the Garden of Eden, I wanted to be good. What a mistake! I thought I could help my family, but I could change nothing. Only God can change hearts. I know that God is about our good and His glory in our lives.
About 10 years ago, I read a book on co-dependency and learned that I am! I read Tough Love, quite late for our family, but excellent in learning to “let go”, and allow the child to suffer consequences.
We began fostering babies when Suzanne was 11 and fostered for 10 years. They brought great joy to our family and removed some of the focus on Suzanne which was a positive for us all.
Every morning as I prayed, was for me a new day. I tried not to carry the angst from the previous day into it. I served cookies and milk to Suzanne every afternoon after school and longed to hear about her day. She would not talk in-depth, but every two to three months & would talk until very late at night. I loved it and would drop everything and listen.
I know now that she did not feel I cared about her heart, but only about her behavior. She was and is deeply loved. I felt like I had been hit by a 2 x 4 board, both emotionally and physically in the midst of grievous trials.
There were times she wanted to run away from home and lying to us. Prior to wrecking her car while being drunk and having to return home to live with us at age 22, we sent her to a program which was ineffective. She had told me that she had been an alcoholic in college. I offered at that time to get help for her, but she said it was no longer a problem.
Suzanne says one of the best things we did after graduation from high school was to say “we are no longer responsible for you.” I gave her over to the Lord and felt in so doing a great freedom, so I asked Him to please use whatever it took to get her attention and to turn her life around. That was freeing, yet I had trepidation.
Since Suzanne told us several years ago that she was an alcoholic and in recovery, I have attended several AA meetings with her and for a time AL-A-NON meetings. I assured her that God would use all of her history and everything for good in her life. And, He has, and also in mine.
Alcoholism is about the family. I praise the Lord that Jesus came and died for sinners such as I. In John 16:33, Jesus says, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” We know that with God all things are possible. So take heart; joy comes in the morning. The Lord has turned our mourning into dancing for joy.