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Post Info TOPIC: Detach with Love?


Senior Member

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Posts: 105
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Detach with Love?


Ok, another question... what the heck is detach with love??  Detaching to me means silent treatment for fear of losing my temper.  It means ignoring him while he's drunk... which results in more aggressive, hateful words from him.  It means taking the dog out for a walk to get away from him and the madness.  None of that sounds like love to me.

?



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Veteran Member

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I'm wondering the same thing!
Thanks for asking, NovSun.

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~*Service Worker*~

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Hugs NS,

Detaching to me is someone else's behavior does not define me. Just because my AH has a bad day (pretty much fill in my AH's name with my kids, my mother, my friends, whomever) I can still have a very good day or I can continue having a bad day it's all my choice. The difference is I can continue on with my day without giving away my power. If he were actively drinking, just because he drinks I can choose what kind of moment i am going to have, before, during and after. Detaching with love for me means I have choices in how I"m going to react to a situation. I own my own power, I do not give it all away and fly around at loose ends. It is not angry, brooding silence. Yes, I can be angry, sad, mad, glad, happy, .. lol .. you get my drift, they are only feelings and feelings do not define me or continuing on with whatever my plans are or the continuance or conclusion of my whole personal day.

Hugs P :)

I meant to add, it's treating my AH with kindness and compassion without taking on his issues (personal responsibility), again can be applied in so many areas of my own life. 



-- Edited by Pushka on Thursday 29th of September 2011 09:26:56 PM

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Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.- Maya Angelo



Senior Member

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I read here or somewhere (wish I could give credit to where I saw it) an explanation that makes sense.

Detaching is stepping over your alcoholic passed out in hall and going to bed. Detaching with love is covering the alcoholic with a blanket, stepping over him/her and going to bed.

For me detaching with love is doing the things I need to do to keep my precious serenity and creating my life for me. I still love my AH, but I am working to no longer allow his good days or his bad days to change the path I am on.

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~*Service Worker*~

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Hello Novsun, I thought about you the other day, I went into a Dollar Store and they had these waving plastic sunflowers - you came to mind!

My friend got a DUI - a good friend, I am there for them, I can ask questions, talk about it, commiserate over the plight they are in, agree that maybe they did have it coming considering all the times they have driven home after drinking. I love this person, consider them one of the best friends I have ever had, but I'm not emotionally attached to them. I can unemotionally discuss the effects of the DUI on their life; I am not emotionally invested in this friend the way I was personally and emotionally invested in my ex-AH. I know they did not drink and drive despite my caring for them, I have no control over what they do with their life. Its easy to be detached emotionally from my friend. I can discuss the problem without feeling my heart convulse with pain over it.

I consider that pretty detached. While I care about this person, I have no trouble not letting my emotions rule.

My ex-AH sent me a text the other day, "he will never forgive himself for what he did to our marriage". I asked him what he had to lose by going to AA? no response, didn't expect one - a year ago I was emotionally destroyed by the turmoil in my marriage; now I can pick him up because he's drank too much and take him home without being dragged into his bs. I can listen to him and even feel sorry for his pain, but his pain doesn't become my pain, and maybe that's what detached is, listening and understanding someones pain without making it your own.

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All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another! ~ Anatole France


~*Service Worker*~

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There are some great posts about this a month or so ago when I was asking the same question

I still don't fully have it but I think I try to separate the addict from my husband.  I love my husband very deeply and he is the most wonderful and kind caring man in the world.  His addict that comes to visit is a bit of a (insert your own negative verb here)

I can love my husband, when the addict comes, I dont engage with the addict, I look at him and think, my husband is in there and I will give my husband a kiss and walk away and allow him to deal with the addict that he has in there.

On this board, I do not say 'my AH', I always call him 'my husband', because for me, I am here on these boards for me and for my marriage to my husband.  The addict comes with that at times.  I have to remind myself that and when I forget, and put them both together, then I am being mean to a wonderful man that I married.  That is just my opinion and I note I am the only one that does it so maybe I am wrong in that thought.

Others on here have said, say what you mean, mean what you say, but don't say it mean

I too used to do the silent treatment because that is what he deserved for smoking pot.  He deserved that I don't talk to him to teach him a lesson.  I don't think I was detaching, I think I was getting embroiled into  making my moods about what he is doing.  I am allowed to be in a bad mood if I want to be in one.  But not to show him a lesson.  It never worked, it never did any positive change.  So I am trying this approach for a while to see if this works.  So far there is no change, but I am feeling much more happier and I actually smile a bit more now.

 



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Linda - a work in progress



~*Service Worker*~

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The way I see it, detachment means I don't let the A's emotions become my emotions, the A's anger make me angry, or the A's dysfuction make me dysfunctional.  If he's having a bad day, my own serenity isn't damaged. If I'm detached, I don't take his behavior personally. I don't try fruitlessly to control it, and it doesn't get me bent out of shape.  At first we can detach this way with indifference. When we really get good at the tools, we can keep in mind that they're in the grip of the disease and the insanity, and that nobody in their right mind would choose to end up this way.  So we can feel sad about the situation, but not so sad that we're not in touch with the joy in our own lives.  We can feel our caring for them as well as our knowledge that they're in the grip of their insanity.  That's detaching with love as I understand it.

Some people are able to detach with love while staying close to their alcoholic/addict -- by close I mean while living in the same house.  In my observation, it does involve a diminishment of intimacy, because they can't be available the way a sober person can.  Their first priority is always their drug of choice. So detachment means giving up on the unrealistic expectation that they can be there for us in a reliable way. We detach from expectations and find other ways to get our needs met, with family, friends, hobbies, etc. I myself was not able to achieve detachment while still living with my A.  I had too much anger about being the only "adult" in the house.  Now that we've split up, he's still avoiding adulthood, but since it doesn't impact me directly, I'm usually able to look on it with a mild sadness and even sometimes amusement rather than disappointment and anger. 



-- Edited by Mattie on Thursday 29th of September 2011 11:09:06 PM

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Senior Member

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Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on this. I realize that I still have a long way to go in this process. I want to trust in myself that I can make these good choices and not get sucked into his drama, his emotions when he is drinking.

Likemyheart - thank you!! It's so wonderful to know that somewhere out there in the world, someone else is thinking about me. Someone who knows exactly what I am going through.

It's an awesome feeling to be connected to this group. I am so thankful for you all!

Just for today....
November Sunflower

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Senior Member

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it means withdrawing from their insanity- for your own sanity but to do it without anger r judgement...as they are powerless with the disease- they dont deliberately set out to be like it.

i do think though- anger is a healthy emtotion and justifiable...but understanding...as far as you are able.....really helps all parties. we struggle with their behaviour..well in fact they struggle with it 10 times worse its bad to be near them...imagine then what its like to be them

i do think if someone is still drinking...its hard to do the love and understanding .....and maybe this is rightly so. i think this detachment with love thing...is a long term recovery tool- to develop over many years....especially when the A is in AA and doing their level best but is still agro.

i think to b fair....if a persons drinking is very active and the agro and devestation they cause through it is quite major....then that love and compassion is going to feel in short supply and I completely understand this....all you can do is remember that the A didnt set out to be sick...wuld rather not be sick and does not deliberately set out to ruin their own lives and those around them

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rosie


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November, these are all really good replies. Yes detaching with love is one of the harder things to deal with. Especially when one is used to express love by trying to help, rescue, and convince the A not to do what they're doing (which inevitably ends up an exercise if futility and frustration). You can love someone, but hate the disease and decide you won't be sucked into it. For me, the only way I could really do it was separating from my A. I just couldn't be loving towards him when I saw his self-destructive patterns. And most importantly, I couldn't be kind to myself, or give my child the care he needs, when I was living with him. I still love my A, but I would lose my own sanity and any sense of peace by living with him, and I wasn't doing him any good either by trying to change him. No matter if you live with your A or not, the purpose of detachment is allowing yourself peace of mind and knowing that you can be happy regardless of what the A does. You can love the A, but not lose yourself in the process.

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~*Service Worker*~

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There is a reading in One Day at a time in Alanon for July 14. It basically says that there is nothing we CAN do to make them stop. No amount of discussions, silent treatments, yelling, screaming, coersion, forcing solutions, telling them how to recover etc. can make them stop. My fiance is still active too, and for me, things go so much better when I detach with love. What this means for me is: Allowing him to be himself. I accept him for who he is right now. I love him right where he is at. If I love the thought of who he might be, thats not love.

So if he drinks, I can keep my serenity and smile, chat, go to bed and read and so on. Or I can get cranky, yell, cause arguments and feel so terrible afterwards and in the morning that I have lost my serenity. Some tools I use to keep on my side of the street are calling my sponsor, coming on these boards, getting to meetings, calling alanon friends, texting alanon friends, reading alanon books, listening to alanon pod casts, and so on. I am using boundaries to protect my serenity. If he drinks and is getting cranky, I can leave the room. I don't leave in a huff, so as not to draw attention. I just leave happily and go read. If I do leave in a huff, things can escalate into an arguement, which doesn't turn out great. If he passes out on the couch, I leave him there with a blanket on. If he wakes up after a few hours and asks what happened, I don't have to retell every thing, I can say "you passed out and I went to bed" and not beat a dead horse... The person I love is still there, whether he drinks or not. He is a child of HP too, and I ask my HP to show my fiance HIS love through me... HUGS

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-youfoundme

Let go and let God...Let it be... let it begin with me... 

 



Senior Member

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Posts: 200
Date:

To me, detaching w/love has been a real jedi mind trick, but when I started thinking of detaching as stepping away from the drama and taking care of myself, that was easier to start doing. Maybe the love part comes with more time and practice, or, maybe at first detaching with love also could mean, to me at least, detaching w/love for oneself! One step at a time, I guess...

Someone in a f2f said that they had trouble with detachment w/love, also. But that they were really good at 'detachment with anger'. Lot of laughter on that one!

hugs
rara




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Veteran Member

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Detaching for me means no longer taking responsibility for the alcoholics actions.  I'm an engineer, a large part of my job is identifying problems, and if they fall in my area of expertise than I can control and fix them.  For a very long time (and still now sometimes) I applied this to alcoholism.  Since I wanted to fix it so bad I took the responsibility even though it wasn't mine.  Essentially I tried to be my wife's higher power.  Detaching simply means I can't be my wife's higher power.  The love part is my choice, I can continue to express my love or not.



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~*Service Worker*~

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detaching with love is about self-love.  Rather than be affected by an alcoholic's actions I choose to take care of myself. That doesn't mean being affected by resentment, anxiety and anger.  That means taking care of myself.  If an alcoholic drinks I will not drive with him.  He/she is responsible for getting behind the wheel.  I am responsible for deciding whether to join them.  I no longer join them.

Detaching with love means holding to a higher ideal than reacting which is the norm.

Self love is important in a relationship just as important as the love you give to someoneone else.

 



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orchid lover


Newbie

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Detaching with love to me means you can love the alcoholic as a person, husband or friend yet stop being involved in their destructive actions or emotional baggage and at the same time doing what ever is necessary to live a productive and wholesome life for oneself and one's children.

One of the damaging things I did while my husband was drinking was to punish myself and my children by not living a normal life outside his disease. I thought I had to be unrealistically thrifty and not buy what was needed to sustain our lives. I didn't allow the children to participate in life's activities in fear we'd go broke or he would get angry and I thought I had to monitor the alcoholic day and night while passing up activities with friends or relatives. This was not out of "love" for my alcoholic, it was out of fear. My so called sacrifices only gave him more time and money to indulge in his addiction and destructive behavior at home. I love my husband but love does not mean I had to destroy me or my children's lives so he could continue to drink up our funds and destroy special times the children and I could enjoy. It was a major decision to make the children and myself AS MUCH A PRIORITY as the alcoholic which is something that I learned was a necessity to conduct life as normal as possible on a daily basis and still love the person inside the alcohol he drank. Changing how I conducted my life was a gift to myself, my children and ultimately the alcoholic.

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Newbie

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Thank you so much to everyone for their thoughts on this subject. I'm in the "anger" faze of my greiving process in letting go of the relationship I had with my mother before her alcoholism took over. On the one hand, I was blessed with a wonderful childhood free of this disease (as far as I know) where my mother and I were practically best friends. On the other hand, it makes the whole process of detachment that much more difficult now. I'll have days where I feel at peace and safely detached but then the disease will pop up and all the work I did seems to go out the window -it's a journey like everything else I guess.

It's a hugely important lesson and with every small step I take I know its the right path. I have to admit - I'm super jealous of those of you who seem to have mastered it. Looking forward to that day :)

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