In going through old papers today, I have discovered a few interesting details about myself. I haven’t really changed much in thirty years and yet I am a completely different person from the Alison I was in my twenties. If that sounds like a contradictory statement, it is. I have accepted the truth. I am a walking contradiction.
I still make lists for everything, I still start stories that I never finish, and I still spend way too much time analyzing my own and others’ motives. Yet, I am so much more at peace with my imperfections than I was in my twenties. I guess you could say I have learned to be a little more patient with myself and others. I try to be a little more forgiving toward myself and others while learning to be a little less judgmental.
At the same time I worry incessantly about my children because they are pursuing unconventional paths. Their unusual life choices prove I have raised strong, independent men and this makes me proud. Yet, this pride stands in stark contrast to the fears I harbor on their behalf. So I recognize that I have changed through the years, but I still have more work to do.
Today, I found my old twelve steps journal. It calls itself a guide for adult children from dysfunctional families. It also calls itself a spiritual journey. I know now that this is a journey that I will be on until I take my last breath. Each new stage of parenthood brings echoes of past mistakes and human failings. Praise be to God for His immeasurable mercy!
My spiritual path has a few more twists and turns ahead, but my faith is still strong and God still has a plan for me. He loves my children even more than I do and that gives me great comfort in the midst of my worries. So to all of you, I encourage you to work the twelve steps faithfully, either alone or in a support group. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!