Ya’ll this week has been a little bit tough.
I think that when someone who you love struggles with addiction, chances are you struggle with codependency issues.
This has been the kind of week that I really have to be on point.
I know a lot of facts and formal knowledge about addiction, codependency, and the dangers of enabling.
I know that I can only love them and it is not my job to fix them.
I know all of this stuff and I have it filed away for weeks like these.
Maybe I should practice these principles every day like I do the ones for my own well-being in recovery, but admittedly, I don’t.
My mother and my brother still struggle with mental health and addiction issues.
It isn’t easy to keep them out of my life and to stay committed to the boundaries that I know work best for me.
Sometimes, I break my own rules because I miss them..or, I miss who I think that they could be.
I definitely bend my boundaries from time to time, and when I do, I hurt myself.
This week I chose to answer the phone when they called and I actually listened to their voice mails instead of deleting them.
Two things that I choose not to do most of the time, because it never fails:
When they call, rest assured, there is a very specific reason and a very specific need.
Presently, they’re sleeping with no electricity in the cold and are desperately needing a couple hundred dollars.
Apparently, cold air + doesn’t mix well with emphysema complications and you can’t mix & inject anabolic steroids in the dark when you are drinking vodka, and the arguing has been more out of control than usual.
That is a life that I know and one that I remember all too well.
I understand where they are coming from and I know it is very real to them.
But I also know that my ‘helping’ in any way won’t really be of any help.
At this point my helping doesn’t even make me feel good anymore.
I know the truth, and its hard to elude.
There aren’t any reasons left or any more excuses that I can make to help them anymore.
I compartmentalize these feelings because of love.
Being strong and turning them away doesn’t come easy because of this love and not helping them certainly isn’t natural.
It is also not a socially acceptable thing to casually talk about with anyone, really.
So for me there is nothing else that I can do with the feelings that come from loving people who struggle with their own demons, and who lash out and hurt those around them.
All that I can do is tuck my love away, and hold out hope for eventual wellness.
I am not going to allow myself to do retreat and hide.
To me that is not the same thing as facing the very real, intense, and emotional situation.
My role reversal issues with my mother and my brother cannot be mended by pretending that they don’t exist.
They can only continue to change and become what they should be as long as I am identifying what I am feeling and actively sorting through the feelings.
-It has taken me a very long time to adjust to my new role in the family.
-I am not my mother’s guardian, I am her daughter.
-I am not my brother’s mother, I am his sister.
I am completely, one-hundred-percent powerless over their behavior.
I cannot help them or anyone else to change if they don’t want it for themselves.
-They don’t ‘need’ me, not in the way that I would like them to.
-I was never helping, I was hurting.
-I wasn’t saving I was enabling.
-I accept and believe that it is okay to let go of my guilt and my sense of responsibility.
Years ago, phone calls like the ones I actually answered this week-
would have sent me into a tailspin.
I am doing a better job at sticking to my own rules and boundaries.
So, while this week has been markedly more strenuous for me- (compared to a typical week)…..
I have not allowed it to consume me.
I sound insensitive but I have to be rational about it.
And realistically, I know that if it is this hard for me, they are hurting a million times more.
The only difference is,
I can feel it.