Detaching with Love

Old 08-20-2008, 12:10 PM
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Detaching with Love

Sharing Experience Strength & Hope in Nar-Anon

Detaching with Love August 20

I think I am finally beginning to realize an important goal of the Nar-Anon message, to accept I have no control over the drugs or over the addict, and to accept the fact that my life is spinning out of control. My question is: “What do I do next?”

By using the tools of the program, I have learned new ways to deal with these problems. One of them is detachment. Just let go! It sounds so simple. I have come to realize that addiction makes the addict a very manipulative person, full of empty promises with no goals in life. The thought of this sends chills down my spine. Today I know there is absolutely nothing I can do or say to change that. It was a relief to have this burden taken off my back.

With the message of the program, my group and the Nar-Anon tools, I have learned to detach with love from the addict by allowing her to control her own life. She needs to make her own decisions and suffer her own consequences. I can detach with love by setting boundaries that are good for me. I can love the addict, but detach from her addiction. I can keep coming back and work the steps until they work for me.

Thought for Today: Now I allow other people to accept their own responsibilities, valuing the importance of detaching with love.

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” ~ Helen Keller
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:35 AM
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Thank you. This detaching with love is a concept I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around. I understand consequences and I understand about boundaries. Is detaching going about your own business when the addict is using and acting like nothing is different (even if the substance is illegal) or stepping over them when they are passed out on the floor? I don't understand. My AH falls asleep with cigarrettes all the time and is burning up the carpet around the bed and the chairs. When I take them out from his fingers or point out the burns on the floor, all I get is anger.

I don't understand.
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:28 AM
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Here are a couple readings about detachment that I have found helpful:

Courage to Change ODAT in Al-Anon II 1/12

Early one morning I stopped to watch a colony of bees. A little intimidated by the frenzied motion and intense buzzing, I reminded myself that if I didn’t poke my nose into their hive, I wouldn’t get stung. If I chose to maintain a safe distance from a dangerous situation, I would be fine.

To me, that is exactly the lesson that detachment teaches. The choice is mine. When I sense that a situation is dangerous to my physical, mental, or spiritual well-being, I can put extra distance between myself and the situation. Sometimes this means that I don’t get too emotionally involved in a problem; sometimes I may physically leave the room or end a conversation. And sometimes I try to put spiritual space between myself and another person’s alcoholism or behavior. This doesn’t mean I stop loving the person, only that I acknowledge the risks to my own well-being and make choices to take care of myself.

Today’s Reminder

Now I know how to end an argument by simply refusing to participate, to turn to my Higher Power for help with whatever I’m powerless to change, to say, “No,” when I mean no, and to step back from insanity rather than diving into it. Detachment is a loving gift, I continue to give to myself and to others.

“If a man carries his own lantern, he need not fear darkness.”

Hasidic saying


Courage to Change ~ January 22

I tried so hard to learn detachment. Living with active alcoholism was confusing, and the idea of detachment seemed vague. The alcoholic in my life was restless sleeper who fell out of bed almost every night. Feeling it was my duty, I would always help him back into bed. One night, after attending Al Anon meetings for awhile, I stepped over his body and got into bed, leaving him on the floor.

Triumphantly, I went to my next Al Anon meeting and told them, “I finally learned detachment!” “Well,” they said, “that’s not exactly what we meant. We meant detachment with love.”

I left that meeting with a new understanding that I put into practice the very next time my loved one fell out of bed. When I found him on the floor, I still didn’t help him into bed. But I did put a blanket over him before stepping over his body and going to bed myself. This, to me, was detachment with love.

Today’s Reminder:

With my Higher Power’s help, I will keep a loving blanket of detachment with me. I will cover my loved ones with it, whether or not they struggle with a disease, keeping in mind that when I am dealing with other human beings, I am dealing with children of God.

“Detachment is not isolation, nor should it remain focused on not enabling the sick behavior of the past. Detachment is not a wall; it is a bridge across which the Al Anon may begin a new approach to life and relationships generally.”

-- Al Anon: Family Treatment Tool in Alcoholism
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