Step Nine was the topic of a recent meeting. At first, I thought that my daughter had to apologize to me for what she had put me through these past several years, and what she is still putting me through. I also thought that I should forgive her, but when I listened to the Nar-Anon message, I realized she did not do anything to me, but rather she did it to herself. What has happened to me is that I let myself be affected by her actions.
Studying Step Four, I found out that I was not a victim. On the contrary, I had many reasons to ask my daughter for forgiveness. Before Nar-Anon, I was full of anger. That anger led me to deride, belittle, try to shame, and generally try to make the addict feel like a worthless person. I did not know that addiction was a disease and I thought my daughter’s attitude was an attempt to attack me and make me suffer. I now fully realize that this way of thinking was wrong and useless, and that my initial reactions did more to alienate the addict than to help her. My reactions harmed my daughter and me. My anger did little to alleviate the suffering I was feeling. It only made things worse.
Thought for Today: I first came to Nar-Anon because I was hurting, but after learning the messages of Nar-Anon, I realize that to make the hurt go away, I must make amends first to myself, second to the people I hurt, whenever possible, including my addicted daughter. Forgiveness is a step to freedom.
“When I am able to resist the temptation to judge others, I can see them as teachers of forgiveness in my life, reminding me that I can only have peace of mind when I forgive rather than judge.” ~ Gerald G. Jampolsky