You love someone more than they love themselves. You worry more than they do. You find yourself more invested in their recovery than they are. To top it all off… you can see the future. You know that if this person that you love continues doing what they’re doing… they will end up losing everything.
So we find ourselves being held hostage by the addict. This constant state of emotional hostage is the fuel for co-dependence and enabling. Even if we know intellectually what the “right” thing to do is, we still allow ourselves to be guided by guilt, fear, and the unknown.
So after years of being on both the giving and receiving end of this torturous dynamic, here is what I have learned: When trying to help someone you love first ask yourself: Did they ask for help? Is this their agenda or mine? What do they want? What will make them feel happy and successful?
Often times we push our own agenda and expectations onto the addict we love. But our happiness may not be their happiness. Our success may not look like their success. So sometimes learning to let go, breathe, be in the moment, be mindful, listen, and just being present is the healthiest and most rewarding thing we can do, not only for ourselves, but our loved ones as well.
Tom Buckley, CADC II Director of Outreach and Marketing