If you have loved someone with a drug or alcohol addiction, then you know how difficult the situation can become.
Addiction is often called a family disease because it not only affects the addicted person but also those around and close to them. Loved ones spend countless nights pacing and pondering, panicking, and attempting to fix and control the individual who is using. The fact is, no one can truly control either the person or the outcome, and most often family members realize that they need to find help for themselves. It is possible for loved ones to recover, even if the addicted person does not. This recovery process involves setting boundaries and learning new ways of thinking and living. The most well-known recovery group is Al-Anon, which developed out of Alcoholics Anonymous and uses the same basic text and twelve steps to help families and friends of addicted people recover.
Some people may be familiar with the term “tough love,” but what about the concept of “detaching with love”?
What is the difference? Tough love is an older idea that is being replaced with the concept of detaching with love. The tough love concept relied on a lot of ultimatums, and those can be difficult for both parties in the situation. When someone is sick over their loved one’s drinking or using, it is common for them to go back and forth on the demands they have made, such as, “If you use again, I am leaving you for good.” They may mean it and want to stick with it, but so often things change. It is hard when you love someone and want them to get better, but don’t know how to help them or yourself. Programs like Al-Anon can help.
So what is detaching with love?
This concept is gaining momentum in the recovery world. Instead of giving ultimatums, detaching with love means removing yourself from the epicenter of your loved one’s life. This cannot be done in one swift move, but over time you can learn to stop trying to control them as well as letting them control you. You get to become your own person again. You make your own choices for yourself, and you let your addicted loved one make their own decisions and deal with the outcomes themselves. Detaching with love means that you still love your addicted family member, but you are learning how to use your energy to start loving yourself.
If you are interested in finding out more about concepts like detaching with love, please reach out and speak to someone in the recovery community. Recovery is available for all, not just the person struggling with addiction. The one person you can save is yourself!