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Old 01-15-2013, 07:18 AM
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Contradictions

One of the things that I have struggled with are the things that appeared to be contradictions in the 12 step materials. It has taken me a long time (and still working on it) to come to terms with these contradictions.

How does one support their addicted loved one...... while not enabling?

How does one let go.....with love?

How does one find serenity.....whether the addict is still using or not?


I would like to invite some of those who have been working a strong program of recovery to share their experiences with these contradictions. Pick one of the topics and share your thoughts on it. Perhaps this can help some of the newcomers reconcile these issues in their own minds.

I don't know about the rest of you but I need a nice uplifting positive thread this morning.

gentle hugs
ke
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:46 AM
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Thanks Kind eyes. These are definitely questions I am struggling with. Really looking forward to the responses. Hug to you this morning...
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:10 AM
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Although my recovery is not very strong especially lately, I still know the answer is always God: surrendering my will, trusting HIM, and His plan. Also, I just wanted to post a few great daily reminders from The Language of Letting Go. I hope you don't mind and they help!


Loved this one!!


Friday, November 30, 2012

You are reading from the book The Language of Letting Go

Detachment

One day, my son brought a gerbil home to live with us. We put it in a cage. Some time later, the gerbil escaped. For the next six months, the animal ran frightened and wild through the house. So did we - chasing it.

"There it is. Get it!" we'd scream, each time someone spotted the gerbil. I, or my son, would throw down whatever we were working on, race across the house, and lunge at the animal hoping to catch it.

I worried about it, even when we didn't see it. "This isn't right," I'd think. "I can't have a gerbil running loose in the house. We've got to catch it. We've got to do something."

A small animal, the size of a mouse had the entire household in a tizzy.

One day, while sitting in the living room, I watched the animal scurry across the hallway. In frenzy, I started to lunge at it, as I usually did, then I stopped myself.

No, I said, I'm all done. If that animal wants to live in the nooks and crannies of this house, I'm going to let it. I'm done worrying about it. I'm done chasing it. It's an irregular circumstance, but that's just the way it's going to have to be.

I let the gerbil run past without reacting. I felt slightly uncomfortable with my new reaction - not reacting - but I stuck to it anyway.

I got more comfortable with my new reaction - not reacting. Before long, I became downright peaceful with the situation. I had stopped fighting the gerbil. One afternoon, only weeks after I started practicing my new attitude, the gerbil ran by me, as it had so many times, and I barely glanced at it. The animal stopped in its tracks, turned around, and looked at me. I started to lunge at it. It started to run away. I relaxed.

"Fine," I said. "Do what you want." And I meant it.

One hour later, the gerbil came and stood by me, and waited. I gently picked it up and placed it in its cage, where it has lived happily ever since. The moral of the story? Don't lunge at the gerbil. He's already frightened, and chasing him just scares him more and makes us crazy.

Detachment works.

Today, I will be comfortable with my new reaction - not reacting. I will feel at peace.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:49 AM
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This one helped me with support vs. enabling!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

You are reading from the book The Language of Letting Go

Responsibility for Ourselves

We have been doing the wrong things for the right reasons.
—CODEPENDENT NO MORE

Caretaking: the act of taking responsibility for other people while neglecting responsibility for ourselves. When we instinctively feel responsible for the feelings, thoughts, choices, problems, comfort, and destiny of others, we are caretakers. We may believe, at an unconscious level, that others are responsible for our happiness, just as we're responsible for theirs.

It's a worthy goal to be a considerate, loving, nurturing person. But caretaking is neglecting us to the point of feeling victimized. Caretaking involves caring for others in ways that hamper them in learning to take responsibility for themselves.

Caretaking doesn't work. It hurts other people; it hurts us. People get angry. They feel hurt, used, and victimized. So do we.

The kindest and most generous behavior we can choose is taking responsibility for ourselves - for what we think, feel, want, and need. The most beneficial act we can perform is to be true to ourselves, and let others take responsibility for themselves.

Today, I will pay attention to my actual responsibilities to myself. I will let others do the same. If I am in doubt about what my actual responsibilities are, I will take an inventory.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:55 AM
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((KE))

These are very tough things to do my friend ~ and for me it required constant communication with my HP and my sponsor ~

If you read in the other F & F forum - my daughter Ash just made 1 yr sober ~ well she is 35 yrs old and has been on this road for almost 20 yrs ~
During this time I have had to show her love, but watch her be homeless, lose custody and visitation rights of all 3 of her children.

I have given her emotional support but tell her that I loved her enough to allow her to find her own path and not allow her to move back home.

And then I had to decide if I wanted to allow the fact that I was clueless to whether she was ok or not affect my serenity when she disappeared . . .

I was reminded that my HP has no grandchildren - that she was HIS child first before she was mine ~ that my HP was grieving over her choices too ~
That I could love, pray and let go
To take care of myself and enjoy the life I had been given would be the best gift I could give her ~ for then she would know how wonderful recovery truly worked in someone's life ~

So I just kept trying, faking til I made it ~ ODAT ~
I journaled, prayed, attended meetings, talked with other "moms" and many days barely managed to just "do the next right thing"

for me that's how you do those things ~ one little step at a time ~

whew this got a little long ~ hope it helps ~ keep up the faith sweetie - your program is growing in you and that's the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones.

pink hugs (hope, unity, gratitude and serenity)
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Kindeyes View Post
How does one find serenity.....whether the addict is still using or not?
I'm not sure I I'm eligible to respond, as I wouldn't say I have a "strong program of recovery", but I'll take a stab at this one.

One of the things that helped me understand this was to realize that serenity does not necessarily mean that I will be happy all the time. For me, serenity is the absence of the craziness that happens when addiction and codependence collide. It's the result of having my mind freed from the obsession of trying to control fix everything about everyone else.

It does not mean that I will never be sad or unhappy, or grieve for what my son is going through.

So, I can be serene, whether the addict is using or not.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:22 PM
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Thanks to everyone who responded. Early in my recovery, these were questions that really hung with me. I have resolved them in my own mind and heart but sometimes walking that razors edge between enabling and supporting had been difficult.

How does one support their addicted loved one...... while not enabling?

Someone here on SR posted a long time ago that support means is BEING something.....not DOING something. So when I'm dealing with anyone (not just the addict) I try to remember that one thing--am I doing something or being something. It helps me distinguish between being supportive and enabling.

How does one let go.....with love?

As a codependent, I often see things in black or white. You either LET GO or you LOVE. Over time, my son has given me ample opportunity to practice how to let go and let him live his life.....even though I may vehemently disagree with his choices......and still love him. As difficult as it has been, I'm truly grateful for the opportunities to practice loving him without complete condemnation. I had that opportunity 30 years ago with my XAH and didn't do it very well. Taking this attitude in other areas of my life has made me a better person and happier (and I'm sure I'll get more practice and I'm sure I'll need it!)

How does one find serenity.....whether the addict is still using or not?

I think my age has helped me with this one. lol. As I've gotten older, I'm able to let go of things easier and perhaps I have trained my mind to pay attention to what is in front of me. Or maybe it's alzheimers.

I loved your responses. Thank you for sharing.

gentle hugs
ke
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:14 PM
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Thank you, KE, for this wonderful idea for a thread, and LMN, for the gerbil story! Perfect analogy. It kind of reminded me of my attempt last summer to save a lame, sick baby hawk...I read this early today and was moved by your request...I just need more time to think about it. So, I am not considering it over, just paused for the meantime.

I have been thinking about this "loving and letting go" thing for quite some time now. I will ponder it more and write back in a few days. Thanks for giving me something to chew on.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Kindeyes View Post
... How does one support their addicted loved one...... while not enabling?...
What I have learned from the many wise folks who have shown me the way to my own recovery is that all these cute slogans are just reminders. They are the "Cliff notes" version of other, deeper concepts in recovery that I would not be able to remember in the "heat of battle" with my disease of codie-itis.

"Support" is the _result_ of actions guided by wisdom. "Enabling" is the result of random actions guided by my fears. The trick is that if I had that "wisdom" on my own I would not have ended up in meetings of al-anon

I find that wisdom by listening to peeps in meetings, by reading posts here on SR, by asking for advice and direction from my sponsor and other folks I respect. I need all this outside input because dealing with addiction in somebody I love is something that I cannot figure out on my own. It is much too emotional and complicated, especially in the midst of the chaos and insanity that comes with the disease.

The first thing I do is look within. If I am feeling fear, or any other such negative emotion, then I know not to take any action at all. In turn, this means I have to do a lot of work on _me_, so that I am aware of these negative emotions and learn how to re-direct them in positive ways.

I support my addicted loved ones by learning how to live without fear, by learning how to be humble enough to ask for help, by working on my own progress thru my own program, and trusthing that after I have done all of that I will still make foolish decisions from time to time but in the end the outcome is really not in my control.

Originally Posted by Kindeyes View Post
... How does one let go.....with love?
The slogan I use is "Let go, or be dragged". If I am being dragged, then there is no question that it is time to let go. If my loved one and I are both moving forward in life and making progress in becoming better people then there is no "dragging" involved. And there is nothing that needs "letting go". To me, the concept of "enabling" is the same as the concept of "holding on". It is only when I am enabling that I am holding on so hard to something that I end up getting dragged, and therefore need to let go.

Originally Posted by Kindeyes View Post
... How does one find serenity.....whether the addict is still using or not?
For me serenity is the result of being in acceptance of reality, instead of having some fantasy of how reality _should_ be, and then trying to force my fantasy upon the world in order to make it _be_ the way I want it to be. When I am fully in acceptance of the world around me, then I can take those actions that are wise and healthy for me and those I love, instead of random actions caused by fear that things won't turn out the way I want them to be. Which goes back to the concept of enabling.

My "disease" of codie-itis manifests as an addiction to fantasy. When I am in relapse I will do whatever it takes to force people, places and things to behave the way my fantasy dictates. All of which is intended to protect me from the "withdrawls" of fear, uncertainty and doubt.

When I am in recovery I see reality as it is, instead of living in fear of how much worse it can get, or of what the future will be ( or not be ), or a million other imagined outcomes that might not happen. Recovery is to be free of my own negative emotions that change my perception and drive me to actions without wisdom.

All these different concepts work together in my recovery. Each one builds on the other. They all circle around the heart of my own problems and issues. If I take care of my "baggage" then all the rest just falls into place. I find serenity because I have nothing to "let go" off because I am not enabling anybody.

Easy to say. Am still working on making it stick all day long, every day. I do pretty good most days, but not good enough to get by without meetings, sponsors, friends, and SR

Mike
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:29 PM
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Thankyou all for this thread. I feel a bit enlightened and excited to put into use some of the tools ascribed here!
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:57 AM
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Mike!!!
Thank you so much for such a beautiful response to these contradictions! I was really hoping that someone would come along with some really good stuff for the newcomers and you really came through!

These were questions that I struggled with for a very long time throughout my own recovery. It took a very long time for me to search and discover how to resolve these program conflicts I had rolling around in my brain. I figured that I wasn't the only one who has struggled (or is struggling) with these things so I thought I'd throw it out there.

Thank you for your beautiful and thoughtful reply!

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ke
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