Forgive for Thanksgiving

20 11 2007

The subject of forgiving keeps coming up in my life. It is monumental.

My husband was talking to a lady who has been sober in AA for more than 38 years. She is full of compassion and wisdom. She has a 54 year old son who has still not forgiven her for her behavior as a drunk.

I know, first hand, how devastating it is to have a parent that you can’t rely on to be your protector, your guide and your person to look up to. Being ashamed of who you come from turns your whole world upside down. On top of that, to survive the insanity that active alcoholism brings along in it’s package is darn near impossible. So, I am not criticising anyone who is so wounded that they cannot let go of the hurt. I did not walk in this man’s shoes and I have no idea of the depth of his woundedness. I just think it is incredibly sad that he can not get to know the lady that she is now because he is stuck in resentment.

In that sense, alcoholism is still robbing this man of a relationship with his mother. And she has been sober for a long time, which means that she has gone through tremendous changes in her life style.

How do I know that she has changed? Simply put, alcoholics do not stay sober if they do not change.

We must let go of old ideas and old ways of doing things. We must accept that we have been screwing things up for a long time and alcohol is not our friend. We must learn new coping skills. We must attempt to reconcile with those we have harmed. We must develop a trust in God to heal us of our own hurts and to help us change. We must desire sanity and reject insanity. We must rely on God to lead us into a healthy life. We must also forgive those who have hurt us. To hold onto the anger and pain would lead us back to a drink.

AA calls these things suggestions, I call them absolutes. We don’t have to do it all absolutely right but we MUST be willing.

I had to forgive my mother while she was still getting drunk. I got sober while she was still getting drunk. She was much harder to put up with when I got sober. I learned to love her where she was at. She had abandoned me, embarrassed me and broke my heart a little more with each broken promise BUT she was the only mother I was ever going to have. To this day, I still have abandonment issues but I learned to love my mother. When I finally loved her, expecting nothing in return, the unthinkable happened. She got sober.

During the 15 years of her sobriety I got to know my mother.

She was feisty, swore like a trooper, was crass and sometimes rude. She had the biggest, softest heart you could ever imagine and her heart had been crushed with tragedy that I will never fully comprehend. She became loyal and tender hearted. She loved my husband and always took his side if we got into a squabble. She told me that if she ever met a man that loved her the way Ed loves me, she would marry him and never let him go. She learned how to say I love you. She had a great sense of humor. She finally asked Jesus to be her Savior and I know I will see her again.

She changed so much and I am grateful beyond words that I forgave her and got to watch the transformation in her life. My mother passed away in 1996. She was not the woman I remembered from my youth. She was an incredible lady.

Forgive. Don’t cheat yourself of one more day with that person. They will never do everything right and neither will you. Open the prison door and let yourself out. Forgive.


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2 responses

21 11 2007
Hazel

Coni,

Thanks for this one. You’ve inspired me.

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27 11 2007
Nancy (Girlfriend)

What a trooper she was! It wouldn’t be the same without her there on the mantel! I still get a kick out of hearing Ed walk in the room and say “Good morning Ma!” You know how happy I am for you and I’m sure you are just as happy for me that mom and I now are having a meaningful relationship. God sometimes seems to keep us waiting for what seems like a loooooooooooooooong time before our prayers are answered. But when they are, OHHHHHHH boy!

Have a great day, Girlfriend

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