“Mother, quit drinking! You are killing yourself. And me. Just stop!”
I’m a fixer. I see something that isn’t working correctly or someone who is struggling and I automatically have this need to fix it or fix them. But I’ve learned – you can’t fix people. They have to fix their own broken self. We can help, support and love them but they have to do the hard stuff themselves. Showering an addict with all of the love in the world won’t stop them. They have to get to a place where the desire to change is greater than the desire to use. That’s hard. We can’t drag, yell, push or pull them to that place. They have to be willing to work hard and make many changes. Difficult changes. Ones we really don’t even think about. It’s not just about stopping. It’s really more about starting…starting to do things differently. They have to learn to deal with feelings of guilt, embarrassment, shame, depression, anxiety, coping and so much more. They may have physical painful withdrawals. Depending on the substance, sometimes the withdrawals can be life threatening. They usually have to seek out a different group of “friends.” It’s not as easy as what we non-addicts make it out to be.
Just remember – they don’t drink or use because of you. It’s not personal. It is something within them. Not you. Love them. Who they are when they are using…isn’t who they really are. Remember who they really are and love that person. Take care of yourself. Gather knowledge about addiction and great treatment options so when they are ready for a change – you are ready to help. Our society is much more reactive than proactive. Healthcare treatment for addiction stinks! Seriously. Do your research and have a plan because when the moment arrives when your addict says “I need help,” you want to be prepared. Seize the opportunity as soon as they say they need help because the window of opportunity is very small so you’ll need to act quickly. Have a plan.
Remember it is long term recovery. Recovery is a good thing. Recovery is something to be proud of not embarrassed of. Celebrate the small things. They may relapse. Love them anyway. Unconditionally. Set limits and healthy boundaries. Take care of yourself. Be kind and loving to yourself. Forgive. It does the heart good. Cry when you need to cry. Talk to your trusted people. Refill your love cup so you aren’t running on empty.
Fix yourself. You can’t fix others but you can do love.
Finding the sweet side of crazy!