Hitting Bottom and Detaching With Love

Up From Mud

Drowning In The Mud Of Addiction

By Terence T. Gorski, Author

People tend to get sober in their own time and in their own way. The world is loaded with codependents who destroyed their lives trying to get the addict they loved into recovery. Despite decades of perfecting the technique, professional interventions only result in the addict entering treatment in 80% of the cases. Sometimes the attempted intervention has the reverse effect, driving the addict farther away and deeper intone their addictive lifestyle.

Much of what we call “hitting bottom” or “getting sick and tired of being sick and tired” results from a chance convergence of immediate undeniable problems coupled with the offer of hope and a concrete opportunity to recover.

This doesn’t mean that you should not attempt to intervene with addicts you love. It just means that it is best to view intervention as an ongoing process of honest communication. These honest talks need to come from a posit of detached love. Active addicts are expert at detecting and thwarting the efforts of codependent who try, with the best of intentions, to control and manipulate them.

The most important rules in dealing with someone who is addicted are these:

  • Ÿ Get clear about what you will and will not tolerate and then set limits.
  • Ÿ Never make promises or threats that you are not willing or able to do.

Here are some more ideas to think about if someone you know and love is actively addicted: Keep loving them.

1. Keep loving them.

2. Remember their addiction is not about you.

3. Every addict has “teachable moments” but they are few and far between.

4. Choose carefully when you try to talk about getting help. In the aftermath of undeniable consequences when the person is sober and feeling remorseful is often the best time.

5. Work your anger out with your own therapist. Getting made at an addict just gives them the excuse to not take you seriously.

6. Detach with love. This means keep loving an caring but stop giving them resources that allow them to keep drinking and drugging.

7. Give them information about addiction and treatment/recovery resources.

8. Tell the truth and set clear boundaries calmly and firmly.

9. Remember, getting well is and always will be their choice. You can just make the choice easier by removing any support for their addiction and refusing to accept or enable any unacceptable behavior.

10. Loving an addicted family member is hard. It can make you a sick and codependent. Put yourself first. If you allow the addict to destroy you, it will make you part of the problem instead of being part of the solution.

The most important rules in dealing with someone who is addicted are these:

  • Ÿ Get clear about what you will and will not tolerate and then set limits.
  • Ÿ Never make promises or threats that you are not willing or able to do.

Ÿ Be consistent. Your behavior needs to be the stable point on the map of sober and responsible living.

These three rules are easy to understand buy incredibly difficult to put into action. So learn to be gentle with yourself. You wont be able to do it perfectly and you don’t need to.

Living with an addict is painful. So is setting boundaries and following through no matter what. Most of us need help and support to figure out what to do and to stand firm in the face of the out-of-control addiction of someone you love. It will take time and emotional work on your part to get prepared to detach with love while pointing the addict toward treatment/recovery resources. Don’t worry. The addiction probably won’t go away while you are learning to deal with it in ore effective ways.

It is hard detaching from an actively addicted person. There will come a point, however, when they will use any action you take as a part of their rationalization to keep using. Don’t take it personally. It is just what addicts do to everyone and anyone who tries to help.

Addicts do recover. They usually do it in their own time when the perfect storm of consequences start sinking their ship and the only rescue helicopter in sight is a recovery program.

This is a very difficult disease to have and just as difficult to live with.

If you are in recovery, don’t abandon those you love. When you get sober, please be aware that your friends and family may need not just your amends, but your help to get their health and their lives back.

Recovery is not just about the addict. It is about everyone who is affected by the addiction.

Check out Alanon and find a therapist knowledgeable in codependency.


Gorski Books

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