With all that being said, it still breaks my heart to see my children in pain. And when our alcoholic shows up at random visits inebriated, forgets my daughter's birthday, or when our alcoholic hasn't called in over six weeks, but sends a text on the day after Thanksgiving wishing my son "blessings and happiness," my children are deeply hurt. They won't admit it and they often joke about the situation because they have learned to cope as I do, through humor. They get by, certainly, but there is always a sting from the reminder that alcohol comes first with this person and they (the kids) come after everything else. Alcoholics think about nothing other than themselves and that next drink. They are typically egocentric and believe that no one can detect when they have been drinking.
At least the uncertainty of the next text or email from our alcoholic allows the kids to forget about the (lack of) relationship for while. Their recovery time from these random contacts has greatly improved with therapy and time. The random contact used to send my daughter into hysterical crying fits and my son into episodes of rage. Through therapy, those reactions have long subsided. We just take a deep breath and remember that God is in control. We turn it over to Him and then keep moving forward with our lives.
My children are the greatest and I tell them everyday how much I love them and how proud I am of them. We are leading happy, healthy, and productive lives despite having an alcoholic in our lives. As Al-Anon teaches, we choose to detach from the bad behavior because it's the only approach that works with an alcoholic. In the meantime, we lean on each other when we need to and celebrate all that we have and all that we accomplish.
My little Thanksgiving turkey, age 10
My Star Wars nerd, age 14
Spread Your Wings!