Our son was struggling with his addictions and needed a place to stay for just a few days. I strongly felt I should bring him back home. My husband was more skeptical, and I didn’t blame him. The year before, our son had pawned many of my husband’s possessions to feed his addiction.
However, I soon realized that our son would be staying for more than a few days, and I became nervous. Even though I had my Al-Anon group, and focused on taking “One Day at a Time,” I was juggling my work schedule so I was home while my husband went to work. Our son did not have a job, and we both felt we could not trust him to be in our home alone.
It crossed my mind that this could be a great opportunity for my husband and my son to start rebuilding their relationship. Before Al-Anon, I would have been giving each of them all kinds of suggestions and advice on how they could do that. But Al-Anon taught me to stay out of other people’s business and keep the focus on me. So that’s what I did. I didn’t say a word, although I was tempted several times.
The amazing thing is they figured this out on their own. A week after my son moved in, my husband’s boss offered our son a temporary job. My husband thought it was a good idea. I wasn’t so sure because that meant they would be spending more time together, and I was afraid that would be too much togetherness. However, just the opposite happened. They would come home from work deep in conversation. I even heard them laughing a few times about something that had happened during their day at work.
Our son ended up staying for ten weeks. After he moved out, my husband said they had talked more in those last few weeks than they had in the last 18 years. Things are far from perfect, but I am awestruck by how much this situation improved our relationships. I firmly believe that an entire family can benefit, even if only one member follows Al-Anon’s principles.
The Forum, July 2016
Reprinted with permission of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.