No More Letting Go
ADDICTION ISN’T A LIFESTYLE CHOICE
Addiction treatment is the art of intervention. We make families learn professionally how to intervene into the dysfunctional life of the addict. Addicts are like magicians. All the signs and symptoms of addiction are apparent, but the family’s attention is diverted elsewhere. Magicians rely on the art of misdirection to create illusions and so do alcoholics. In magic, misdirection is used to create wonder. In addition, it’s used for deception and breach of trust. You as family have to let the addict experience the pain of his own making. If you clean up his messes for him, he has no reason to get sober. When you detach from his problem, you force him to face the consequences of his addiction.
When we believe that doing nothing is our only option, we give addiction an open invitation to infiltrate the lives of everyone in the family. Untreated alcoholics/drug addicts disrupt the lives of those around them, causing emotional and physical repercussions that persist throughout lifetimes. Every alcoholic, given a pass to continue in his addiction, exacts a costly toll on those asked to wait until he feels ready to accept help. Detachment, applied in this flawed manner, is a dangerous misuse of an otherwise powerful principle.
The advice is primarily about taking care of ourselves, ceasing our attempts to force others to do what they don’t want to do, letting go of our need to control, setting people free to do as they choose, minding our own business, and finding a place of peace for ourselves, is Detachment (physical detachment only). This is very good advice under most circumstances, but when we are faced with the uncompromising and relentless addiction of someone we love, we need a plan that is proactive and gets decisive results.
Detachment is not a synonym for inaction. Rather, it is a spiritual quality that makes action possible. As Kathleen Norris describes in her book Amazing Grace, detachment is “a healthy engagement with the world and other people.” She explains further: “This sort of detachment is neither passive nor remote but paradoxically is fully engaged with the world. It is not resignation, but a vigilance that allows a person to recognize that whatever comes is a gift from God.” Detachment, in this sense, is a willingness to take action while knowing you cannot guarantee the results. When addiction runs in the family, our actions perpetuate the past. Anger, perfectionism, care-taking, procrastination, blaming become two sides of the same coin when addiction hits home. We make families learn family breathing new life into the spirit. Because addiction is a family disease, so it is every one’s business. (This text is quoted from Debra Jay’s book ” No More Letting Go”).
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