Changed daughter

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Sandy1960
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Changed daughter

Post by Sandy1960 »

I'm new to this website so forgive me if this topic has come up before. My daughter and her husband have been sober/clean for over 4 years. She has changed she has become rigid in her thinking and almost selfish. I know I sound cruel but I find it almost impossible to have a relationship with her now. They have excluded everyone not in recovery and their lives revolve round recovery and work. They mentor others which is very noble and I appreciate that "paying it forward" is part of recovery. She constantly tells me I don't understand and that she has a programme she must follow but it feels like it is at the expense of everything else. Any comments/advice appreciated
MyNameIsBetsy
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Re: Changed daughter

Post by MyNameIsBetsy »

Hi mom. First, congratulations on having a sober daughter with a sober husband. You must have been frightfully concerned during their drinking years.

Most parents who write on these forums are asking for help to convince their offspring to GET sober. You are one of the fortunate ones.

In early sobriety, most of us are very focused on helping other people get what we have. We tend to build our lives around sobriety and enjoy the fellowship of other sober, program people. Helping others helps us, and is part of our 12 step program. So far, it sounds like your daughter is entirely normal in her sobriety.

The part which concerns you is that she is excluding you from her life. Perhaps some education for you is a way to reconnect with your daughter. Al-Anon is an international fellowship for family and friends of alcoholics. You can find more information on Al-Anon here: https://al-anon.org/

Another suggestion is to look at your own part in the relationship. Where might you soften your expectations of how you both interact now that she is sober. Take the long view. You want a loving relationship for the rest of your lives so perhaps backing away from some current quarrels would ease most current difficulties. An Al-Anon phrase is "How important is it?" can be applied to almost every argument. Is it important enough to insist on your way, or are you able to bend a bit?

Best of luck to you. And, again, you are VERY fortunate that your daughter and son-in-law have four solid years of sobriety.

Betsy
an alcoholic
"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path."
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PaigeB
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Re: Changed daughter

Post by PaigeB »

Sandy1960 wrote: Wed May 04, 2022 7:31 am I know I sound cruel but I find it almost impossible to have a relationship with her now.
I don't know that it is "cruel". I agree with Betsy that being grateful that you don't have to worry about them dying everyday anymore. You might be surprised if you change your perspective how much it will help your feelings. Try it. When the hard feelings come up, actively think to yourself, "But at least they are not dead. There is hope for tomorrow."

Alanon helped me A LOT. I am alcoholic, but my kids are also drinkers/alcoholics. "How important is it?" was an excellent way to get perspective! I found out that a lot of what I thought was not as important as keeping a good relationship with them. I just had to take a step back once in a while and see how well they were doing. Yes, I wanted it to be about me, but it was ok the way it was too. Write out a gratitude list every day... use the ABC's.
Grateful for:
A- Alcoholics Anonymous
B - Birds singing outside my window
C - Cabbage planted in the garden
D - Dog on my lap
E - Everything all the way to Z! (You get the drift... it is great practice!)

Make an appointment with her for coffee? Have a weekly/monthly call time? There are lots of things You can do to keep you from thinking of all the things you think she should do!

Much LOVE and good Luck to you!

OH! and there is a chapter in our Big Book called The Family Afterward!
https://www.aa.org/the-big-book
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB
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Brock
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Re: Changed daughter

Post by Brock »

Thanks for an interesting topic.

I have been in AA for a number of years, and have observed that what people say on forums like this and in ‘live’ meetings, leaves no doubt that some AA members approach recovery differently.

The idea of only mixing with a ‘sober circle’ is probably quite rare, but I have witnessed other cases like this one. I tend to upset the ‘how dare you say something bad about AA crowd,’ when I give the opinion that it’s the mixed messages in the AA-approved literature which is partly to blame. On one hand, we have the original text known as the big book, which uses the word ‘recovered’ approximately twenty-three times; ‘recover,’ twenty-eight; and ‘recovering,’ only twice, and then only in the context of the newcomer. The book which followed 14 years later, (the 12 & 12), has much the same message. I saw this when I came in, and still believe, that the message is clear you do the steps you recover, you then go out and live a normal life, the first book says that someone who is uncomfortable going to places where drinks are served still has an ‘alcoholic mind.’

What you refer to as mentoring others in AA is called sponsoring, in the first published book it is not really mentioned, in the second it is briefly, (the first was in 39 the second in 53). In 1975, another book ‘Living Sober’ gave some good tips on carrying on a normal life. In this book, they state clearly that the best sponsors are those who stop sponsoring someone after they complete the steps, (have recovered), and that meetings also become optional at this stage. I don’t know the exact reason but suspect that all these recovered folks living normal lives, and maybe not attending many meetings or keeping a sponsor for life, started to show a decline in membership and funds forwarded to the head office. In later years we have literature on sponsorship which pretty well bars me from being a sponsor, since they say I need one to be one, in spite of being recovered, and what was written in 1975. The saying ‘meeting makers make it’ became popular, and if like me you only attend now and then, some members say you aren’t doing it right, I have even been accused of not being a ‘real’ alcoholic, despite the fact that my past shows a visit to hell for many years and almost the loss of my life.

I realize I am rambling on, but in closing, I would point to this very sponsorship as the crux of what I see as a problem in AA. You often see reference to a ‘sponsorship line,’ in this, from one to another sponsor is passed what they believe to be the solution, and there is no doubt in my mind that your daughter and husband have been influenced by this, and will pass it on to others. If they lived in a different place who knows, they may have met with a different type of sponsorship and you would have hardly noticed the difference in the way they live.

As others have said, you can take consolation in the fact that they are now sober, maybe down the line they may meet others less strict in who they mix with, and realize that perhaps there is a better and happier way to live a sober life.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
Sandy1960
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Re: Changed daughter

Post by Sandy1960 »

Thank you for your help. I think I carry some guilt my ex husband is an alcoholic and 2 of my 3 children have addiction issues. I feel very pushed out of her life I'm sure it's my problem! She's 39 this year and I hoped we would have a wonderful mum and daughter relationship. They do mix with others who are not in recovery and cope really well but I feel as though recovery has become their addiction now ( sorry). I know the worry my eldest is an alcoholic who I have lost touch with it's scary!
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PaigeB
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Re: Changed daughter

Post by PaigeB »

Sandy1960 wrote: Wed May 04, 2022 11:59 am Thank you for your help.
We are happy to help get you started. Alanon helps! It helps whether the alkie is wet or dry. It helps you cope with your life and teaches a little of letting go. Today my eldest is in trouble too. I have learned to back up enough to remember that he can do hard things. But the mom in me still has Fear, which is worry x 2! Maybe I could use some Alanon, but I will get the help of my AA friends tonight. Many of them have been through what I am going through and will have experience to lend me.

I hope you can find what I have found.
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB
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