By Peggy Sue E., Texas
Reprinted with permission
When my son was 21, he had been sober for two years. He was trying to make it on his own, living with his pregnant girlfriend. Unfortunately, he was not willing to do what was necessary to get a job. He asked me for financial help at least once a week– either for rent, food or gasoline. He never had enough money to meet expenses.
During this time, I began to notice something peculiar in every Al-Anin meeting I attended. No matter how many people were there, where I sat or if I was chairperson, I always read the Seventh Tradition–“Every group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.”
During one of these meetings, God spoke to me about Tradition Seven. As I read it, I heard Him say, “Your son should be supporting himself. You are not really helping him by paying his way.” I realized that one more time in his young life I was blocking his path. I was preventing him from accepting responsibility for his actions. The next time he asked for money, I finally knew what I had to do. It wasn’t easy. After all, that was my grandchild he and his girlfriend were expecting.
He and the young lady were married in a Native American ceremony. I took part in the rituals, experienced really roughing it and gave them my blessing. My son was unable to support himself and his bride–much less a child, too–but I had to stay out of the way.
My son did not stay sober. He went back to drinking. After this happened, his wife decided God was leading her to give up their child. Although I knew this was the best thing for everyone, it was still very hard for me to accept. I considered taking them into my home so they could keep the baby. But when I read the Seventh Tradition again, I knew God did not want me to raise another child. He knew I had too far to go in my own recovery before I could take on that kind of task.
My son continued to ask me for help and on many occasions I said no. Today he is in jail for crimes he committed while practicing his disease. I have been able to help him by sharing my experience, strength and hope. I also help him buy extra food and toiletries while he is locked up, but I have not found it necessary to post his bail or pay for a lawyer.
Without the meetings I have attended, the literature I have read, my sponsor, the service work and friends that I have because of Al-Anon, I would not have the self-discipline to get on my knees every morning and ask God to bless my son. Nor would I have the peace, serenity or courage to continue seeking God’s will for me.
This article may be reproduced in its entirety without alteration using the following credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 1600 Corporate Landing Pkwy, Virginia Beach, VA 23454-5617