Tag: enabling

Alcohol, I’m Aware.

Ribbet collage
Late at night, when all is calm, and our house is taking a rest, I see your face in my mind.

My heart aches for who you might be, or who I know that you are, hidden underneath all of your scars, and beneath the pain that you carry on your shoulders.

You would hate to hear that I am your secret prayer warrior.

Sometimes I cry, warm tears.
I let them stream down my face, saturating my pillow.
I say nothing.
I just let it happen.
I feel it.
I let it go, and I go to sleep.

Other times I immediately switch to a happier mental channel.
I do my best to not wonder where you are, or where you are sleeping.

I try to avoid the flashes of good memories.
The one’s of you running around in pajama’s on Saturday mornings.

Mostly because they are overwhelmed so immediately and change to the you accidentally falling into a fire, or unknowingly walking into highway traffic, or living through totaling cars.

Then, it will change to the you that I used to catch a glimpse of every few months, the you who used to still hold out a tiny bit of hope.

For that one day stretch- that you, he can only make it for so long before he is coughing up blood.

You are completely lost in him.
And then, it all starts all over again.

Realistically, I understand that I deserve to accept love.
I know that I have a right to my own happiness.
I remind myself why It is necessary for me to live my life separate from you, and raise my boys somewhere where you, well…..aren’t.

I still have times where I struggle to allow myself to embrace my new life.
I struggle to humbly celebrate my own victories as an individual.

I feel like I am leaving you behind.

So I put it away.

I tuck you safely into my heart and place you into my prayers.
I continuously push you out of my mind and put you back to a place where you can’t hurt me.

I quiet the worry that tends to creep in by staying very close to my savior, who reminds me of the truth.

You are worthy of love and redemption, but it is up to you to accept God’s gift of grace.
You have to choose to change and one day,
I know that you will.
I believe that you will.

I wish that I could hope you back to life.

I want to hug you without fear for my safety.

I want to look at your face and see life in those eyes.

I want YOU to see who you really are.  

Until then, I will continue to keep my thoughts focused on what could be; what I believe could happen for you, or anyone else’s loved one who is slowly sinking, swallowing gulps of their own poison as each day passes.

Because hope is real.

Recovery is a real place where real people turn their lives around.

People just like you.
One day, I know you will know what I am talking about.

Until then, broski.

12 Ways to Help Kill Your Addicted Loved One AND Lose Your Sanity

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1. Every time you talk to them, be sure to remind them of how they are wasting their life away by making stupid & idiotic decisions that make no logical sense. Remind them that if they were not stupid, they would be able to see that.

2. Be sure to base how much they love you solely on how often they lie, drink, use or relapse.

3. It’s always a good idea to take them at their word.
After all, they do love you and most people don’t lie to people who they actually love, if they really love them.

4. Always take it personal when they don’t tell the truth.

5. If they wreck a car, be sure to buy them a new one.
You don’t want them to have to walk anywhere or endure the extra stress of having to pre-plan, figure things out or have to rely on themselves to get to work, meetings or the grocery store. Haven’t they been through enough?

6. If anyone…..and I mean anyone… tries to help you by giving you pointers or advice when it comes to dealing with your loved one- you should cut them off quickly. Shut it down.
YOU know your loved one best- there is not any way that anyone else could possibly understand them the way that you do, or be able to help them or handle them quite like you can. No.one.

7. Don’t ever educate yourself about addiction or alcoholism.
What literature, study, science, or any other type of research is going to dictate how you handle your life with your sick loved one?
I mean, this is real life and it is absolutely preposterous to think that learning could help you in any way.
Your situation is unique.

8. Always pay them in cash.
After all, they have to live too. If they do an odd job or help out to earn some extra money for ‘living expenses’ never pay them with a check or tangible items. They don’t have a way to cash a check and they don’t always know exactly what they will need – paying in cash just ensures that they have funds available that are most convenient for whatever might come up this week. Why would you want to make their lives so difficult?

9. Always blame yourself.
If you were good enough, smart enough, strong enough and more in control – this would not have happened.

10. Buy them drugs one last time every time.
It might really be the last time they use. If you don’t buy them, they might commit a crime to get them or degrade themselves to obtain them.
Plus, they are just so uncomfortable when they don’t get to use and it is totally ridiculous to allow them to flounder and get angry without their drug of choice.

11. Always avoid boundaries.
If you have to check receipts, pat down pockets, go through drawers, take off work, stay up all night, call hospitals and county jails, put the taxi hat on and completely dismantle your existence, personal goals, hopes, dreams, emotional stability, mental health and sanity—to make them temporarily happy….by God- do it! It is just a small sacrifice for true love, and you’re committed.

12. Always place blame and direct your hatred & rage toward the other people in the addicts life, who have broken away and set boundaries.
They do not care enough about them and it is clear that they never did.
If they cared, they would stick around and sit next to you in the front row of the ‘I am killing myself show’- right there with you. But where are they? They aren’t there. They say they’re tired and exhausted and cannot do any more for them. Ha, right. But you’ll show them. You are going to stick around much longer than anyone else has. Because, well….that’s true love.

Disclaimer:

This list is clearly not formulated for public use or serious guidance.

It is a parody of  *some (only a few!) of the colossal mistakes that i have made loving family members to death. (or quite close)

As a former co-dependent of a 25 year crack-addict/mentally ill parent and a younger brother (who I would love to love to death),

These traits, thoughts, habits and beliefs (and many more) are some that I have experienced first hand. These are ALL THINGS THAT I HAVE DONE OR THOUGHT.

10 Tips: For Friends & Family of Someone Struggling with an Addiction

These are just things that would have helped me when I was struggling.

Here are 10 randomly concocted tips that I have come up with: 

1. Express empathy for them, directly to them. 

2. Avoid arguments with them whether they are sober or not. (this creates a high-emotion situation and doesn’t do anything besides creating an urgency to use for the addict)

3. Be honest and direct -in a loving way.
(Don’t use their past mistakes to berate them and beat them to death emotionally. They’re already bankrupt in this area, and you cannot kill em’ twice.
Instead, use truth- encouraging and positive statements about how valuable and worthy they are of so much more.)

4. If you set a rules or boundaries, clearly state them during a sober time, and stick to them.

5. Help them create relapse trigger lists, (environments, people, places, etc) and help them understand how it connects.

6. Make them a list of meetings in your area. Have them choose at least one to attend regularly. Go with them if you can. (Show support)

7. Treat them like they are human beings. They may be making poor decisions and may not be trusted, but still deserve to have thorough explanations for rules, demands and expectations and respect.

8. Help them make the connection between their goals for changing their lives, and what they are doing to make that happen. (going to meetings is a good step in the right direction toward a goal, completing book work or step work is another example, changing their phone number, avoiding triggers etc.)

9. Sporadically hug them. (:-) ) They might hate it, but they will love it at the same time.

10. If you are more interested in their recovery than they are, something needs to change. If you are working harder and are more dedicated to what should be their work- reevaluate your approach. (Never ever give up on them. Offer support and kindness. Hugs, tear wiping, etc….but you are not to do work FOR them.)

Bending The Boundaries

 

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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.

 

Why Did You Change?

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For family members or friends of people who are addicted, we often wonder if they will ever change.
We worry.
We lose sleep.
We wish we had answers or effective words or more powerful love.
What it will take for them to finally be ready?
How much more will they have to lose?
How many more injuries can they sustain? Hasn’t it been enough yet?
What if it is never enough?

But I know better. Endless worrying won’t make any difference.

That pressure to change can be crippling. To hear the desires and concerns of people who have pure intentions, who are not motivated by anything other than the bond of love. While their expectations are heard, (and it would be perfect if they inspired people to change), most of the time it only stirs up anger toward self, and toxic shame. I can remember scrutinizing myself relentlessly after a plea from a family member. For fuck’s sake, the way I viewed myself was about all of the criticism that I could handle, and when I was hounded with inquisitions concerning my life choices, I just wanted to evaporate. I didn’t want to think about how many people I had hurt or let down.

I hit my personal bottom a few different times just to be safe. But I was tired and as motivated as I would ever be, to take the jump.

But having the motivation or feeling inspired to change varies with every single person. Everyone has a place that might look like a bottom to everyone else, but it doesn’t feel like it’s deep enough for the person who is using. Then on the other hand, not everyone has to hit a bottom. The hard and unfortunate truth is, some of us make it and some of us don’t. I am not sure we can pinpoint a definitive answer for why this happens.

Maybe it is just a combination of things. My personal opinion is that it is a mixture of a person’s psychological and biological make-up & development, whether or not there is a consistent and solid support system in place,and also whether or not the system in some cases (doctors, insurance etc) drops the ball during any phase of recovery attempt.

Yet, sometimes all of those things are happening, and moving and turning and the wheels are spinning and things are working and it still doesn’t change the outcome. It is baffling to me. Why is it that some of us hit bottom and change.  We feel motivated or inspired, we take the  jump, and somehow we accumulate time and we make it to tell the story. And then, some people who are motivated and inspired who have hit bottom and want change so badly, they don’t make it.

In life I have learned that there are simply some answers we don’t get the privilege of knowing. Sometimes there just aren’t clear-cut answers. It can be frustrating and it feels like we should know more and do more and be more for other people. But we can only do so much.

I am just going to focus on asking myself how I can best help people to stay motivated.
How can I help another person to keep progressing as time passes after they get to the point where they are willing and open to making changes?
How can I be of service to them as long as they are wiling and active participants in their recovery?

Maybe the best answer for me right now is to stay motivated. To keep doing my tiny part in this huge thing.

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