Learning to let go of things out of one’s own control is perhaps the hardest part of struggling with a loved one’s addiction. Putting down other’s weight rather than trying to carry it for the other person is part of learning to cope with addiction in the family. Find some other ways to deal constructively with a loved one’s addiction and move forward without resentment.
Living with Addiction
Life with a loved one who is an alcoholic can keep other loved ones from fully experiencing life. To cope with family members with addiction, resentment lingers and anger builds. Responsibility for another person feels overwhelming but all things that must be let go in order to live fully present which can be learned through creating healthy boundaries. It is not as much about the alcoholism as how people respond to it.
When a loved one is immersed in addiction it can negatively impact that person’s life and behavior. Choices get made to hold onto something which is not that person’s responsibility to carry. There is always a choice of taking care of oneself and learning to live life. If time is spent focused on the individual then time runs out to focus on self care and pursuits which are personally meaningful. Focusing on someone else takes away more than a person may recognize until it is too late and resentment rears its ugly head.
How to Make Room
Making room for oneself in the midst of a loved one’s addiction may feel selfish but it is necessary to keep focused on the bigger picture. Try the following exercises for a week to see how it goes:
- Write down feelings that come up during the day, even if it’s just a word or sentence
- Three times a day, write down what is needed in that moment
- Once a day write down at least one thing over which no control was possible. This may be as simple or complicated as controlling time, clouds, weather or other people’s behavior
At the end of the week, read over everything written down and conduct a self-analysis. Notice what seems to still have a hold on the mind and heart and what actually can be put down. Some of the things may be those over which no control was possible. If a loved one’s behavior or beliefs are creeping into the list, make note of it and try to focus less attention on controlling that person’s conduct and more on practicing self-care by letting go.
The Villa helps families of people with addiction with appropriate resources and information. If your family member needs help, call us to see how we can support your (and their) journey to recovery.