Detaching with Love – How do I achieve detachment with love?
The question of detaching with love from an addict in the throws of a chaotic, confusing and damaging active addiction is always a tricky one for me, particularly when giving advice to others who are dealing with the fallout. Just how can you go about Detaching with Love, letting go in a caring manner? The idea of withdrawing emotional support may feel contradictory to the idea of loving someone unconditionally but it is a not. Accepting that you have no control over a persons actions or decisions is the first step to detachment. Often the hurt has become too much and the only way to move forward is to take a step back. This is ok, your loved one will be in a safe place, surrounded by people who can truly empathize when they are at their lowest or ‘rock bottom’ as it is often referred to. It’s this idea that outwardly being unsupportive and appearing uncaring is ultimately the most nurturing thing anyone can do that people struggle with. I did for a long time.
The more I’ve experienced myself, from being an addict and being in relationships of one kind or another with non-addicts, is that however tolerant or understanding a person may be, they cannot understand the addict brain. This is not to say that these people are in any way ignorant or unwilling to learn, it’s just that at the root of it all they have a completely different way of doing and seeing the world. It’s not even a criticism because where the brain’s involved they cannot simply bypass their own core beliefs and personal situation because that’s not how we work as human beings. They can be sympathetic yes, but can they truly every empathize with the addict, I believe the answer is no. The selfish and damaging and often highly abusive nature of addiction is such that we alienate everyone and everything around us in order to continue in our using way of life. Aside from the people who don’t want to understand and will always see addiction as a choice and a weakness there are some wonderful and supportive people who will do absolutely anything to enable a loved one. Both in my eyes are equally damaging and will yield the same result, continued addictive behaviour and eventual meltdown leading to the inevitable institutionalization or death.
This of course paints a very bleak picture but of course it doesn’t always have to be that way. A well managed plan of detachment plus intervention can be the only chance for the addict to move forward and this is ultimately what reaps rewards for all parties. As the addict becomes aware of the damage they have caused they can work toward making some kind of amends. This doesn’t have to be dramatic or overwhelming, it can simply mean trying to remain clean and sober for a period of time. I believe, despite the massive relapse rates in treatment, every period of sobriety and every intervention from someone who is not a family member or direct carer of the individual builds momentum and confidence not only in the addict but in their families. This is the first stage of course and with support for the families going on parallel to the support for the addict, a way forward can be found and relationships can begin to be rebuilt.
The problem is, it can often be a slow process and that can become frustrating. For those who are ready and serious about getting and staying clean, recovery rates with quality intervention can be incredible so it’s not all doom and gloom! My advice these days is to detach with love. Don’t enable, let the person find their way, let the professionals handle it and sit back, have hope and practice grace, pray if it’s what you do. Addiction is a disease and treated as such can be managed. And trust me, there is no greater reward to the addict than realizing they can lead a ‘normal’ life and once again do things that make their loved ones proud. It’s rewarding for both parties and when you detach with love, life doesn’t have to be harder, in fact it gets a lot easier and the mutual respect and love comes back stronger than ever.
The best and most effective long term way to gain this detachment is for the addict to go to rehab where they will be supported and the family can get space and their own support whilst being kept informed of the persons progress every step of the way so Contact Us today for any support you require detaching with love.