12steps

Detach AND love

I don’t feel like we talk about what this looks like enough.  In my experience and all I have seen around me is either enabling out of love, or disappointment that turns into numbing.  Saving or not feeling.  WE CAN DO BETTER!  We can choose to feel AND love…. BOTH.  I can feel sad for my addict and disappointed when things don’t go as I hope they would, AND love without enabling.

The thing is. Its the harder path to take.  It is easier FOR US to save, and its easier FOR US to numb.  For me, it takes intention and mindfulness to feel and then separately love.  Addiction can bring to clarity what conditional love looks like.  Our addicts will receive our love and warmth if they do what we hope they will do, otherwise we are cold, distant, or negatively reactive.

—–On a side note.  I realize that we are imperfect, and especially in the beginning years we are in survival mode from this awful circumstance that no one really knows how to deal with the right way.  I get it.  On this post I’m just trying to point out another angle for loved ones that I rarely see or hear.  The part where WE GET TO GROW TOO.  We get to stretch too… 

The result of us learning and changing is ironically the SAME result that we are wishing for when we enable, punish, scream, or save which is……. THE BEST case scenario for us AND our addicts.  This is why I think we can do better.  If that is true…that the best result for both us and our addicts is for us to detach with love, then why don’t we do it.  I think that we do it because of what it does for US and here is how……

Saving and enabling has a payoff for us.  Numbing and reacting has a payoff for us.  And yet, it is the worst thing for our addict.

So HOW?

  1. Boundaries are vital for the recipe of feeling AND loving our addicts.  “Empathy without boundaries, is not empathy. Compassion without boundaries, is not genuine. Vulnerability without boundaries, is not vulnerability.” -Brene Brown
  2. Number 2 is a question.  Do you trust God? Do you trust God with your addict? Does God love your addict as much as you do?  Are you trusting God, if you’re always trying to control?
  3. Setting boundaries can also help you to stay on your side of the street.  FOCUS ON YOU. YOU YOU YOU YOU YOU YOU.  If you’re spending all your time thinking about your addict, you’re A. wasting your precious energy B. part of the problem C. missing out on the growth that comes from working on yourself.  When we live on our addicts side of the street we are giving advice, living in expectations, making decisions based on how it affects our addicts, obsessing over what isn’t in our control, etc. and because of this codependency we are often tired and resentful.  When you find yourself focused on your addicts problems, shift the focus back to you. Believe it or not, changing them will not solve your problems or make you happy.
  4. Setting a boundary to HELP only when you are asked can help you stay on your side of the street.
  5. Learn about Addiction.  Show up to meetings.  I personally think its important to consistently go to an addict meeting in order to really gain an understanding of the disease our loved ones are fighting. ( if not NA AA or ARP, then Coda or Nar-Anon Al-Anon Family Groups)  Would we take the recommendation of a Business Owner, for a diagnosis of our mental health?  NO.  So why do we get mad when our addicts don’t listen to our advice when we have no clue what they are going through.  We can’t empathize with our addicts if we are so unaware of what addiction is.
  6. SUPPORT instead of enable.  Support can look like going to meetings with them, recognizing progress, separating the addiction from the addict, and a whole lot of empathy.  “Empathy is not feeling FOR somebody; it is feeling WITH them” -Brene Brown.  It doesn’t have to be a burden to have empathy.  Practicing empathy with our loved ones is HARD.  It still takes a lot of work for me to just sit in the pain with them instead of trying to fix it, or automatically reacting because I hate that my addict is struggling.  But I don’t have to feel FOR him, I just need to feel WITH him.  “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable” -Glennon Melton Doyle

I can add on that list forever, but we will just take this gulp together because it is a lot.  WE CAN DO BETTER.  We can hate the addiction and LOVE the addict. We can feel sad and angry AND sit in those feelings without reacting or numbing.  We can love without saving and support without enabling.  We can detach AND love.

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Old 

I feel significantly older than I am; measured in exhaustion.  Living through these years have felt like I have lived a lifetime.  It’s depressing to be so tired knowing you have a whole life ahead of you with no energy to live it.  Dreams and hopes feel completely different with no motivation to tag along.  I wish I could purchase motivation in the vitamin isle.  THAT would be great right?!  I guess that’s where the work is.  That’s where my work is.  

…But I’ll take both 

Tonight I was sitting here gloomy like I have been the past while.  I came across a blog post by my soul sister, Glennon Melon Doyle(if you haven’t read Love Warrior, do it NOW). Immediately a light switch flipped on. Immediately (I need to pause to take that in).  I don’t even know how I found it(well).  That moment was perfect.  I finally felt a perfect acceptance of myself just the way I am.  I spend so much energy hating myself, wishing for everything to be different, shaming myself. All on the inside of course.  That would sound extreme to anyone who knows me but it’s the God forsaken truth.  But that moment it all vanished just like the darkness.  I felt acknowledged.  Understood. Connected, not alone.  Glennon sat beside me, stared into me, and said, “me too”.

So because of this small big moment,  I decided to take Glennons’ beautiful writing, and make it my own because heaven knows it’s my story too.
“My highs are high and my lows are low. I love easily but I cry and yell easily,too. I am quick to hug, and quick to anger. I have many struggles, many times a day. But I experience pure joy too, everyday.
I’m not the type to roll with things. I get very down- for reasons I can never identify. I think eighteen times a day how no one in the history of the world has ever had a harder life than I do. Then in the very same second, acknowledge 10 examples of how that will never be true. If I could choose a phrase to describe the polar opposite of my personality, it would be “easy-breezy”.

Sometimes I get so upset that I become debilitated. I’m talking crumble to the ground, tears, head in hands… the whole she-bang. My break downs appear to be brought on by one little thing, like a grocery bag breaking in the driveway – and so he will say, “It’s okay, it’s just a grocery bag,” and I’ll say: “IT’S NOT A GROCERY BAG! IT’S EVERYTHING! WHY CAN’T YOU SEE IT’S EVERYTHING???” And I don’t want anyone to try to fix it or fix me – I just want to be upset. I just need to be upset for awhile. Because life is upsetting, obviously.

I do not cruise through life. I sort of crash through life. But I also “WOW” through life, too.

And so it’s okay. I’ll take the lows with the highs. The valleys are deep but the mountains are high and I’ll take both.”

Chasing 


You aren’t supposed to let anyone decide how you feel, yet it seems that love decides for you all the time.

I feel out of breath.  I am exhausted from chasing love that I can never catch up to.  

I have been here this whole marathon.  I thought I couldn’t reach you because it was snowing, then raining, then hailing.  But now as the storms have calmed, I find myself still running and still not grasping.  
 
 

Dark


During the daytime you barley notice the city from afar.  It seems like normal buildings that blend in with the town.

During the daytimes in my life, I barely notice.    When my life is great and always goes my way,  it undermines my growth and progression.  It was hard to fully understand the absolute NEED of power, because I didn’t feel powerlessness.  I’m grateful today for the tremendous pain that brought me to my nothingness and importance at the same time; that brought me to understand that I needed God to go on.  That I absolutely could not do this on my own.  That is the best gift I have been given.

During the daytime you barley notice the city from afar. It seems like normal buildings that blend in with the town. In the dark however, the normalcy disappears and it turns into the city of lights. Tonight the sky is a perfect Charcoal the lights are perfect and bright and very much seen.  I guess sometimes you need the darkness to show the beauty.