September 13, 2021

I remember the first time I made sure to leave the light on. It was the night after our son got his driver’s license. I was like a worried mother duckling waiting at the window to make sure he got home safely. 

I turned on every outside light of our house so when he arrived, our home was warm and welcoming. One outside light after another.

As I stood peering out the window every five minutes, I saw him drive up, and rushed to my room to pretend I wasn't looking out for him. 

I worry a lot more than maybe most

Here’s the thing about being the wife of a recovering alcoholic. I’ve seen a lot of shit. I kept a lot to myself. I’ve broken down many times. I’ve also fought the battlegrounds like a Spartan warrior. 

Wives of alcoholics- we’re a different breed. We’re different in that we’ve handled a lot, overcome a lot. We’ve wanted to scream, cry, run- sometimes all at the same time. We’ve met death knocking at our doorstep- most of the time unnecessarily.

But we are also just people. And moms. We want to be normal like everyone else, but there’s just a different twist to what we’ve seen.

When we put our swords and shields down, trusting in the new ways of life can be hopeful and scary at the same time

I’ve weathered the spectrum of living with the chaos of an alcoholic to a loving, sober, thriving man. When the storm subsided, and life went back to “normal,” suddenly our children became teenagers overnight. And inevitably, teenagers become young adults.

It’s exciting and thrilling to watch your teens move on to rites of passages, like graduations, new schools, drivers licenses, and the like. But it comes with one catch- you have to begin letting go.

I’ve spent so many years protecting them. Now it’s time to let go. So how do you let go?

First, when my mom told me this worry for your children never ends as a mother- once again she was right. This is part of being a mom. We will never stop loving, caring, or worrying about our kids.

Second, this is an opportunity to start “feeling the emotions” of life, when as before I refused to allow myself to feel. This can come as a mixed bag. The hard, sad stuff can be tough, yet it also makes you really appreciate and value the good stuff.

As I adjust to his independence, I can soak in and feel the satisfaction of all the hard work we put into our family. I can take pride that we have created as loving and complete a home as possible.

Taking note of what you have accomplished, in order to get back to “normal,” is important. Also, recognizing that you may not feel, act, or be like most people is okay, too. You’ve survived a storm, now it’s time to thrive and enjoy life.

Third, you just have to have faith. I am so happy I got my faith back. I was so angry, resentful, and hurt that something so awful had disrupted and shook my family, I had no faith or trust in God. I had no one and nothing to turn to, because I didn’t want to be let down again.

When you finally surrender, and let God and/or faith back in, whatever that looks like to you, it takes the burden off your shoulders. I now put my trust in God to watch over them. I never had control anyway, so why fight it?

When You’ve Surrendered to Letting Go

Now each night, at the end of the day as I get ready for bed, and I move from room to room, cleaning up blankets, shuffling couch pillows, there’s a new energy in our home. There’s no resistance to change, or avoidance of the inevitable. 

Instead, there’s a hope and excitement for all the new we get to experience as a family with teens becoming young adults. There’s an embracing of allowing our teens to experience and discover life. And as parents expect that when, not if, they trip and fall, we will be there.

And always remember to leave the light on.

Voices InCourage is here for you as you enter new life stages. A community to help us let go of the old, and welcome the new. Voices InCourage launches Fall 2021.