Recently Marcella, a friend of my daughter Madison, sat in my living room with only the clothes on her back and a sad story:
Marcella’s mom, Jean, suffers from untreated alcoholism. Jean’s latest boyfriend moved in and didn’t like Marcella’s attitude. When Jean told Marcella she would have to respect him or leave, Marcella refused. “I am never going to listen to that guy. You moved him into my home without even asking me,” she shouted. She then stormed out to spend the night at a friend’s house. She hoped they would both cool off.
But when Marcella came home a few days later, she found out things were far more serious than she had thought. Her mother informed her she was going to sell her car, turn off her cell phone, and get rid of her bedroom furniture. She was not allowed to take anything with her. Marcella was shocked and scared. Where would she go? She worked part time, was about to graduate from high school, and had no place to stay.
That is how Marcella ended homeless up in my living room. I knew I had to help. I asked Madison if she would mind if I rented the spare room to Marcella. Madison thought it was a great idea. But how did I feel about it? Alcoholism was affecting my life in a way I had not expected. I used my program to keep the situation healthy for everyone.
I knew there were limits to what I could do for Marcella.
- I admitted I was powerless over Marcella’s mother’s alcoholism
- I used the motto, “One Day at a Time” so I didn’t think too far into the future
- I acknowledged the trauma to Marcella and allowed her to feel the deep hurt of being rejected by her own mother
- I charged Marcella rent so she could tell people she was renting a room and not crashing on someone’s couch
- I asked myself honestly how I was doing with this situation. I hadn’t intended on raising anyone else’s teenager
- I made sure to spend time with Madison alone
As of the writing of this blog, Marcella’s mother has made no effort to contact her. Marcella is working online to finish up her High School diploma while working full time at her job. She is slowly rebuilding her life.
With the disease of alcoholism there are often no easy answers. When a person suffering from the disease harms the ones they say they love it leaves everyone confused and hurt. In Al-Anon I have learned the best thing for me is to not try and figure the disease out. It is far too cunning, baffling, and powerful. I simply accept it as a reality and do the next right thing for me and the people I love. Watching this beautiful young girl suffer from the effects of the disease is heartbreaking, but I know in recovery our Higher Power sometimes does for us that which we cannot do for ourselves. Perhaps losing everything allowed Marcella an opportunity to start over One Day at a Time.
If you know a teen, boy or girl, who needs help call the Boys Town hotline below.
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: Madeline Schloop