Even if acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today, as I learned long ago on my spiritual path of recovery from addiction, sometimes it’s a really hard thing to do, as has been the case in my relationship with my brother-in-law.
A few months from now, his twin boys will be graduating from high school. It’s an event I promised myself and them I’d be there to support many years ago and yet, sadly, it looks as if I won’t be able to attend it now, simply because my brother-in-law continues to have major issues with me that he seems to struggle immensely letting go of. Whether those issues are resentments, fears, or something else altogether, I really don’t know. I have speculated for a long time that it could be related to my sexuality and his Christian beliefs, failure to let go of his negative memories of my former addict behaviors that I’m no longer exhibiting and haven’t for many years, jealousy over the close relationship I have with my sister and my nephews since he has little to none with his own, or his constant comparison of me to my deceased mother, a person he never much liked and always made pretty well known.
Regardless of whatever his reasons, he doesn’t generally welcome me with open arms. Last summer was probably the most extreme example of this during a 50th birthday surprise he was planning for my sister. He had booked a flight for me to come without asking my schedule and availability, and when I changed the flight to accommodate my own travel concerns, covering the cost difference myself, with no expectations on him or any of his family to change any of their set plans, he cancelled my flight in anger and told me I wasn’t welcomed to attend. After rebooking the flight and paying for it in entirety myself, he chose to spoil the surprise with my sister, which led to her in tears asking me not to come because it would be too stressful. And even when I was allowed to come several months later as a consolation with a promise by him that he’d keep his distance and let my family make whatever plans they wanted with me, that got broken as soon as his plane landed from a business trip two days into my visit.
It was after that when I began to wonder if maybe I needed to ultimately work on acceptance surrounding all this. Because I’ve tried to prove myself a good person to him more times than I can count, only to repeatedly have him see the few mistakes I make rather than any of the good I do. Which is most likely why when I inquired about coming to my nephew’s graduation about a week ago, that I was told the conversation surrounding it created a terrible amount of drama for them all, leaving my nephews with the attitude that they didn’t want me to come if it was only going to make their Dad that upset.
Because of this, after much praying and pondering the Alcoholics Anonymous acceptance prayer, I told my sister it was time for me to finally let go of trying to visit her family, because my presence there is only causing them more harm than good these days, which is the last thing I want for any of them. And in all honestly, it’s also not healthy for me anyway to be a guest anywhere I’m not being fully welcomed.
While I’m sad about all this, deep down I know my sister and nephews love me incredibly, and in a different world, one where my brother-in-law is able to unconditionally embrace and love me for me, I’m sure I’d be attending my nephews’ upcoming graduation and a lot more family events. But until that world becomes a reality, until either my brother-in-law is able to let go of his issues with me or my sister and nephews choose to take a stand for me, I know all I can do is accept that the best decision for now is the one where I let go of my repeated attempts to spend time with them and to let God handle the rest…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson