As the mother of an alcoholic daughter, I choose to forgive.

I see forgiveness not as an excuse to justify the actions of the alleged wrongdoer, nor as a platform to view myself as judge and jury bestowing justice or granting mercy, but as a process that releases me from the pain of the past, severing the ties that bind me to those who hurt me.

Carrying on resentments is very burdensome indeed: the perceived offender goes with me throughout the day: wakes up with me in the morning, sits at my table, occupies my thoughts at work, interferes with my moments of peace and recreation, and then goes to bed with me at night.

I choose forgiveness because I want freedom from negative past experiences. At the same time, by reflecting on the part I might have played in these situations, I can choose to make the necessary changes to prevent their repetition.

I forgive my daughter for the countless sleepless nights she caused me, for her broken promises, for the fear of her reckless actions, the uncertainty of her future, the endless worries, the pain of not knowing where she’ll be sleeping tonight or with whom, or what the nature of the next emergency call might be.

I forgive Life for the role assigned to me, one that I considered unfair, unjustified…. things like this are supposed to happen only on TV, or to my neighbor who was never home when her children came back from school, or to those parents that didn’t sit together at the dinner table or read to their children before bedtime…

I forgive God for not responding to my desperate calls for help in the manner I was expecting—whatever happened to his “Ask and it will be given”….?

I forgive Society for judging, assuming, and condemning others like my daughter, reminding myself that I was once the one pointing my finger at addicts as if I understood. I forgive Alcohol for all the harm inflicted upon my family–ultimately alcohol or drugs are not the real culprit.

Finally, I forgive myself for what I did or didn’t do, for what I could have done but was afraid or failed to do, for having judged those that caused me pain, and for all those occasions when I should have known better—there will be an opportunity to make amends and get it right.

Just for today I choose forgiveness:   I make peace with my past, I let go of judgments and expectations, I accept the present as it is, not as I wish it were; I look into the future through the eyes of hope and faith, and let God take care of the details of my daughter’s life, as well as mine.

By C.G., a mother seeking serenity

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