Saturday, December 22, 2007

Take off the cuffs.

The loved one in my family who is an addict has been a lot on my mind lately. Perhaps a lot over the past few years. My spouse suggested that maybe it's time I let this person go. Allow this person the freedom to live their own life, however they please. Without me having to chase them, finding out if they are going to meetings, talking with their sponsor, hanging out with the right people.

I know that I cannot feel comfortable (not afraid) unless the individual is living their life the exact way that I want them to live. (And I just read somewhere about the difference between God and me? God doesn't want to be me). The truth is that no matter what I suggest, no matter how much coaching and talking I do, no matter how expansive I feel when I share my ultimate truths with this person, I can't fix them. My words are not brilliant enough. I can't change the way they think. I am powerless over their addictions. (I am powerless over my own. Why would I think I had power over someone else's?)

To simply let go. Release. Set free. Unbind.

I know that I will be left with my fears. Afraid. Scared. I will grow through that as well. I will gather more faith and trust in my Higher Power. That over time, working the program of AA, praying, seeking God's will for my life, I get to change. There is only one person that I can change and that is me. Yet those changes affect many others.

The loved one whom I let go of? This one gets responsibility and control. Gets to feel the full affects of the decisions made. Gets to find their own higher power. Gets to be on their own journey. Like me, gets to learn to be a human. And my hopes and prayers are that the individual will have a spiritual awakening. Being able to surrender to God and then find true freedom.

My prayer for myself is that I will have the courage to keep on letting go. One day at a time.

On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives. Page 86 of the Big Book

Practice these principles in all our affairs. Such a short sentence.

Thanks for letting me share.


YamadogGirl said...

it is so incredible that you posted this! Yesterday morning I was at a lead and heard some terrific stuff. I thought this story she shared was right on the nose.

"A friend of hers, (school teacher) was raising catepillars for the classroom. She had them all in a net above the class, the little buggers ate their fill, than made their cocoons/pupaes. The class waited and waited for them to emerge. Finally on the last day of school, 20 minutes before the bell rang, one of the butterfly pupae cracked open. Well, the teacher really wanted the kids to see the butterfly, so she brought the net down and pulled the pupae out. She took scissors and carefully cut the butterfly out of it's pupae. Needless to say the butterfly had no wings, and eventually died."

The point being that when a butterfly emerges from it's pupae, it needs to struggle to get out. It forces the blood from their huge abdomen into their wings, so they'll grow. When she tried to force the issue, the butterfly died.

We have many loved ones who battle their diseases of alcoholism and addiction, but they have to struggle and find their way, just as we did. Otherwise we may kill them by trying to force their path or choices. We all had to struggle, we all paid a huge price for the seats we have today. I wouldn't have been where I am, had I not gone through what I did to get here.

I won't lie and say that all make it. A lot of us don't, but chances are better when they know we love them, and that they know when they are ready, we will help. I'm sure you've said your piece to this loved one. Now let them go, and take care of you. We are the only ones who can do anything about our own sobriety. If I'm not well, how can I be of service to others?

Thank you so much!

indistinct said...

Thank you Kimberly, for your response. Awesome analogy.

Just what I needed to hear!

Hope said...

My mom's drinking is killing her. She has congestive heart failure and drinking will only hasten her death. Some family members think that shaming her about it will somehow make a difference.

Yes, her drinking bothers me. I feel a sadness. I wish more than anything that she could break free from the shame and guilt of her past that plays into the drinking she still does. I wouldn't want to be at the end of my life carrying such a burden. Life has so much more to offer.

More than anything I feel compassion for her. And I let her go. To do her own thing. Even if that thing is dying of drink.

I am open with her about my life. I don't hide my recovery.
I live far away from her. That probably makes it easier. If I lived close by it would be harder. I don't phone her in the evenings if I can help it because her booze voice still pushes my buttons.
But I love her. Have forgiven her the best I can for where I am at today.

I read a really good twist on the serenity prayer the other day.

God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change. Courage to change the one I can. And the wisdom to know it's me.

I need constant reminding of that reality.