A friend from the group forwarded me a letter that had been written by one of their children. The letter was written from a child to a parent celebrating Mom's decision to get sober. Words such as 'grateful', 'proud' and 'congratulations' fueled the emotion filled paragraphs that poured from the heart of a child to their parent. The letter not only stated the obvious joy about the decision of Mom to get sober, but it made it vividly clear just how much pain and heartache had resulted from the grip that alcohol once had, threatening to tear apart the life that both parent and child so greatly deserved.
I have seen letters like this many times before. They all clearly state the obvious happiness with Mom's decision to get sober, but what comes out so clearly is the damage that our drinking causes to others. I often capitalize the word 'WE' in these discussions to emphasize the importance of making recovery or sobriety a group effort. I could not and can not do this alone, and truly feel that without all of you, I would not have gotten to where I am today. But WE need to realize that our drinking was also a team sport. Whether intended or not, our drinking affects others, often more than it affects ourselves. And those effects are usually the negative ones.
I need to celebrate what WE have accomplished with sobriety, but it is imperative for me to understand that I am NOT the only one that suffered from my drinking, and I am NOT the only one that needs healing. WE all need to recover from our drinking and realize that even though I was the only one taking that drink, the effects of it were felt by many. What stings the most is that the one's hurt the most were typically innocent bystanders to my actions.
"I thought I had a drinking problem, I now know that my whole family had my drinking problem"