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Post Info TOPIC: 'detachment with love'


Member

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'detachment with love'


I went to my first meeting last night and I am so glad I went. We were talking about detachment with love and I was wondering if you had some examples of what works for you and/or examples of things that you have done.

 

I'm currently in this detachment state, but with anger and/or numbness and I would like to be able to feel love again. I feel terrible because he's in this mega crisis and I can't even stand to speak to him. I just have to protect myself. 



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~*Service Worker*~

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Hi bzz-Self-preservation is key. I have worked very hard not to go down with the ship. It took me about two years of self talk, meetings, and use of all the Alanon tools I know, to reach detachment without the anger and resentment. It's taken these second two years, to accomplish detachment with love, which I can't do all of the time, but with daily practice of Alanon, most of the time the anger and resentment are gone. It seems to be the sum total of program that allowed me to reach a better state of mind with my A. I had to learn that I cannot rush my progress, and sometimes that was frustrating. So with patience and practice, I have reached a much better place. That's why one of our very important tools is One Day at a Time. Let me get through this day, or this morning, or this hour, and eventually the rest will come. Be gentle with yourself, that's important too, Lyne

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Lyne



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Hi bzz welcome to the board. Detachment with love was a process for me. I had to detach first and the love part came later. Because I had spent so much time obsessing over my AH I found detachment with love a very difficult process. I brought the Al Anon program into my life little by little day by day it became a bigger part of my daily routine. I developed skills that helped me focus on myself and that naturally helped me detach from my AH. Once I had enough time in the program the love part came for me. I was able to let go of resentments slowly and as those resentments fell away I could feel the love part. Take care.

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Bzz, I also started out in the state of anger and numbness. Self-protection was my first step.

My experience has been the same as those above me ... it took time, working the program conscientiously, and realizing that I deserved my own recovery. Learning the facts about alcoholism also helped.

I received two pieces of advice that helped me: (1) My sponsor reminded me to be gentle with myself, and (2) my lovely daughter -- who also attended Al-Anon and heard me complaining that I couldn't seem to "get" detaching with love ... reminded me that it's Progress, Not Perfection. Now, about three years past the crisis that brought me here, I am able to remember the good times with love.

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~*Service Worker*~

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Bzz - yay for going to the first meeting! It really takes courage so - hat's off to you....

I came to recovery as a perfectionist and had very black/white thinking. When they discussed detachment with love, I really thought it was hogwash. Yet - I could see that each person in the room was calmer, happier and saner than I so I did a ton of listening. I was blessed to already have a sponsor, so spent some time with her to 'test' how to do this for my situation.

My habits and patterns of control, care-taker, secretary, head cook, etc. were entrenched and deeply seated. In an effort to have peace, I 'consulted' everyone about what to fix for dinner and when to have it. So - imagine how quickly I was flustered when I asked 3 people (with different needs/wants/schedules) this question each day! So - easy 'test' - I instead began saying that I was cooking xxxxxx, and dinner would be at xx:xx. Not one of them argued, freaked out, reacted.

So - I then learned to just 'stop talking' - WAIT - Why Am I Talking. We had 4 strong personalities in my house, and everything was a debate, negotiation and/or battle. I just began to answer with way less words - Yes, No, Let me think about that - and then often got to avoid the drama and chaos. When they were doing something that was annoying, instead of saying, "Why are you doing that again? You know it annoys me!" - I would just leave it be and say the Serenity Prayer.

As I continued in recovery, I found my sanity and now can say what I mean, mean what I say and not say it mean. The PAUSE helps me collect my words and thoughts keeping my focus on protecting me and not punishing another. We have way less chaos, drama, fighting, etc. because I stopped trying to conform my people to my will. I am so not perfect though - there are countless times where I take off for a walk and call my sponsor as the disease is ever-present even if/when the substances are removed.

I had to become willing to change me and literally walk away with my mouth shut unless it directly affected me. It was hard, hard, hard - I was also told that I had permission to detach with indifference until I could learn to detach with love....that felt 'better' for me as I was very angry and sad and crazy when I arrived.

HTH - keep coming back - great topic and question!!

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Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 



~*Service Worker*~

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In the beginning for me I just had to detach .. it wasn't done with a lot of love .. however just being able to stop taking it personally was a HUGE step in the right direction. With my XAH .. honestly .. there is no love and I'm addressing current resentments at the moment over a multitude of things .. college costs being one of the many.

I am learning a LOT about detaching with love dealing with my kids at this point .. my daughter being a young adult specifically. I am so grateful we have the relationship we do .. I know at some point I won't get daily texts (sometimes they are hourly .. LOL .. sometimes more I love those moments) it's more about the fact that I am able to step back and say ok these are things that until she invites me in I have to stay out of, IF she asks me for my opinion that's one thing.

For me detaching with love means .. I am not taking her choices as a personal attack. We have house rules to which she understands she lives in our home for free so that's "rent" and I'm not unreasonable in that regard .. it's common courtesy stuff. Message if you are out past 12am, I do want to know who she's with when she leaves the house (for me that's safety), no drugs or drinking in the house this means .. she leaves the house sober (her and an under 18 "friend" apparently decided to drink in the house one night the friend spent the night, THAT was a big lesson for me), she comes home sober. No boys or girls spending the night romantically (that's not her style). We have house chores she's to participate in when she's home from college. Basic home rules and part of that is because she has a younger brother and I'm not inviting chaos into my house. She is free to come and go as she wants to though.

As she gets older those can change so detaching/boundaries are about my sanity and her growth it is all flexible. I'm not angry about it where with my XAH I was always angry about things he did and it was all very personal.

Keep coming back :)

Hugs S :)

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"I cannot learn other people's lessons for them.  They must do the work for themselves, and they will do it when they are ready." - Louise Hay



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bzzz__I'm currently in this detachment state, but with anger and/or numbness and I would like to be able to feel love again. I feel terrible because he's in this mega crisis and I can't even stand to speak to him. I just have to protect myself. 

 

********************************************

HI!!!! I so relate to this post...when I was with my 1st. Alcoholic husband, I had to escape at 1am with just my underwear on and a long, (thank goodness) T-shirt, like dress and the cops picked me up walking down the street to my friend's house...they took me to a shelter....they were alanon oriented...this was in the 80s and I was FAR from surrendering to the program...didn't have a clue, but one of the DV ladies  (later a male rep came to our house to council us and I wanted help...the A did not want help)  anyway, i heard this "detach with love" and i thought  "whaaaat???? detach?? no problem...with love??? are you KIDDING?? I hate the SOB..he is nearly as bad as my sire was"  and so i held onto this bitterness, i could not stand the sight of him and even before my income tax refund check came in , I packed my stuff, loaded my car and drove around, looking for a place to stay...I was DONE....I found a little cottage and the lady who owned these 3 houses on a lot, let me trade, handy gal work for 3 months free rent...I jumped on it....fixed her fence, painted it, cleaned up the garden and yard...did a bunch of stuff for her......but this "detach with love" I kept thinking about it and I just could not do the "love" thing....the best I EVER got because he was a cruel, terrible human being, I CAN and DID detach with giving up the bitterness and the hate....If I saw him on the street today, I woudl just keep walking but I would not curse his soul like I used to do...he did and said horrid things to me with never any remorse, so the forgiveness and love??? let him go to his maker for it.....i had to forgive ME for getting myself into a marriage with such a creature....I had to , for my OWN sake, give up the bitterness and hate which took a LOT of work to do...LOTS of anger work...Lots of grieving over my gross injustice that I did to me, marrying that......human regular BS stuff that is not really devestating, I can forgive IN TIME....some stuff??? no!!!  i had to forgive ME and that took time........

I so relate to what you are saying....it takes TIME to reconcile with the crap that was done to me....and I honored my feelings..all of them...the anger, hate, bitterness...I FELT it and said "yea, you have a right to feel this way----BUT, set a boundary on it because in the end, it only hurts me"  so I did the work...went through all the crappy memories, cried, took a stick and beat the hell out of my stuffed chair, imagining his and my sires faces and I finally got to the point of where I can manage my anger...it still comes up, but NOTHING like it used to.....i'm married to step 4 for life....got lots, still to work trhough so i can toss it into the trash.......



-- Edited by mamalioness on Friday 14th of July 2017 03:30:51 PM

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Rose:

*** KEEP IT SIMPLE***



Member

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I have so much fear that he's out of time and that we are out of time relationship wise and he will die while I am mad at him and ignoring him. He has texted me I love you like 4x today. I hate how I feel inside.

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~*Service Worker*~

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Hey bzz - not sure if it helps or not but I used to repeat in my head over and over and over again that I love my (person), but I hate this disease. This helped me to set aside the person from the disease in my thoughts.

In recovery, we often say that fear = False Expectations Appearing Real....for me, more often than not, I am full of fear because I am projecting. Literature is one way I can bring myself and my thinking back to the right here and the right now. My sponsor has gone so far as to say to me, "It is 7:44pm on a Friday night and you are talking to me on the phone from your couch." It does help me to see that all truly is OK in the here and now.

Lean into anything that calms you - prayer, yoga, a walk, a bubble bath, etc. Be gentle with you!

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Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 



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Great post with great responses and the repeat of great memories of what it was like, what I found out and how it is like now.  

I've learned to do Magic!! by sitting down and learning to listen and asking for help and practicing what I have learned by watching others do it themselves and asking for more help as necessary.

Detachment didn't mean abandonment which I could/would never do as a professional enabler...I would just add more anger and resentment to what was already there and add to the "they owe me list".  Detachment was kinda sorta a conditional divorce always conditioned upon how I came to feel by whatever means at a later date..the insertion of conditional forgiveness and pity and such. 

Love I didn't learn until years in the program and had another member put the exclamation point on after sharing her ESH about learning how to love her alcoholic husband.  I chased her down after the meeting wanting to know her definition of love like I often did when I was needy and she told me "Love is the complete and total     acceptance    of every other human being for exactly who they are".  She didn't even mention "her alcoholic" and left me holding on to a new stronger character asset I never imagined could exist yet one I was and am sure my HP had.  Unconditional Acceptance.  That has stronger affect in my life even as I mention it now...I can and will use it.  

I can and will do what my HP wills to do with me.

Gotta detach for now and go do some responsibilities and then I'll continue to love my MIP family....((((hugs)))) aww



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Senior Member

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Jerry, I so appreciate your sharing the message that "Love is the complete and total acceptance of every other human being for exactly who they are."

I know you've shared it before, and I just want to let you know that I value it so much, I have it on my computer screen, and it has really helped my serenity and acceptance of whatever I encounter.



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~*Service Worker*~

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Freetime that verifies the philosophy of and value and power of the 12th step.  By sharing our ESH we help others recover who help others recover...I cannot remember the name of the member who gave that to me and do remember her face of course I remember what she shared and my heart opens up in gratitude to my HP for the whole experience.   (((((hugs))))) aww



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i'm glad you went and it was good for you. when i first started going - in crisis, confusion, despair - it was a great comfort. just to be around people who have experienced similar things, and spoke sincerely about their lives and their struggles and their striving for healthiness... it's always powerful and uplifting to be around such openness, honesty, and wisdom! even though i was a mess, when i left a meeting i felt comforted and uplifted.

another very powerful thing i found is that the people in my meetings do not speak with hatred or contempt for the drinker/addict. this is a collection of people who love or have loved addicts. and this is something, as they say, that "civilians" often do not understand.

to me it all seems like a delicate dance of compassion - for yourself, and for the drinker - along with figuring out what you need and what you can do to control the only thing you really can control, which is yourself. (sounds simple, but never feels that way!)

detach with love... i remind myself often that my qualifier did not hurt me because he is bad or malicious. his actions that hurt me were done thanks to the "spell" of a disease, and the effect of that disease on his development. his hurting me hurt himself as well, but he couldn't help himself. so... i still struggle with the issue of personal responsibility in the context of the disease of addiction - but my feeling/ understanding is that it's like he's under some spell when he's not healthy - and this makes it easier for me to detach and not take his actions too personally. it's not about me, it's about him. i can detach with love because well, i do love him, and because i see the self-destructive maze he's created for himself and i know that's the result of illness. it's like i have to step out of myself and my own self-interest (i'm hurt, disappointed, horrified, furious, this is unfair!)... to see that he's stuck in his behavior for complicated reasons that really are beyond my full understanding, and beyond my reach....

i also really appreciate "love the person, hate the disease."

hopefully that all makes sense. keep on keeping on, and keep coming back.

 



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Member

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I'm really struggling because he is so mad at me for "detaching" and basically stopping speaking to him, but he doesn't have the words to say "this hurt me" so he's throwing every horrible thing at me that he possibly can.

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~*Service Worker*~

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There was huge resistance when I began changing here @ my home bzz.....we (and they) are creatures of habit so when things shift/change, there's an adjustment period - so I heard and experienced. It took some time for all to settle down, but it was worth it for my sanity to change how I reacted to the disease....I am a better person for learning to pause, consider the tools and then respond.

Sending you positive thoughts and prayers! You are not alone!

__________________

Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 



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yes, it's so difficult when you make a change or draw a line where you haven't before... it will often cause some reaction. 

you have enough detachment to stand outside of it and see why this behavior is happening (he's hurt). so he can throw, but it takes strength for us not to react and "throw back."

one day at a time. it's not easy. but nothing changes if nothing changes, right? and you have begun the changing process. that is a big deal.

you are not alone... all the best to you.

 

 

 



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Member

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Funny bc I really have been patting myself on the back for not saying all this horrible stuff that I could say.

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Thank you for this topic everyone. I wanted to add one tidbit to this conversation which I think really gets at the crux of how to help ourselves & our qualifiers.

I have a psychology background, and one lesson I remember well from my studies is that the simple act of seeing someone as _____ will make them more _____.

For example, in one study, teachers were given a list of students in their class who had been labeled "gifted". Those students had much larger gains in test scores between the beginning of the school year and the end; however, it was revealed that the names of the "gifted" students were randomly selected. The only difference was how the teacher treated them throughout the year after being told they were "gifted".

Now, we know that we have no control over the disease, and our motivations cannot be manipulative.

But I do believe that it is helpful for the qualifiers (for those of us who are still in relationship with them), to see themselves as what they could be through our eyes. Not have the negative reinforcement (down deep they probably also see themselves very negatively) from us, but instead encouragement and love.

It takes strength of personhood to be able to do this for someone. We are not perfect, but we are getting better every day.

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Member

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While I wish that was true for us, it wasn't. I tried so hard. I kept telling him that he was amazing, that he could do anything, that he would be ok, etc. Nothing ever really helped. It has been so sad.

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Member

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Bzz123 - I am so sorry that you are experiencing all this loss after having poured so much love and energy in :( It feels so unfair, doesn't it.

At the end of the day, we cannot change them; they must decide to change. I am so glad you hear that you are reaching out to folks who will understand & I know you will heal and find things to pour your energy into that will be rewarding & bring you joy.

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Bo


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Congratulations bzz on going to your first meeting. That is a wonderful, healthy, first step FOR YOU. Detaching with love, for me, and from my experience, for many, can be very difficult. The two -- detach and love -- don't seem to fit together, at least not in a normal, healthy world, LOL. But what is normal and healty. Not to digress, but I've seen a great deal of detach with love, simply not with an alcoholic or addict.

Regardless, like many, when I first heard about detach with love -- it was completely foreign to me because I was so caught up in being angry and resenting my wife for what she was doing, all the things that were going on, and for what she was doing to me. I stress that last part because that is the way I felt, but it turned out that was not what was going on in reality (more on that later). I wasn't feeling love, there wasn't a lot of love going on between us, in our household, relationship, etc. I could not detach with love because I didn't feel any. I was angry. I felt cheated and taken advantage of. I felt a lot more, but no love.ble to 

So, at first, I had to just detach -- and I did so out of sheer survival. I was going crazy and getting very sick, literally and figuratively, doing what I was doing. For me, I learned that there was physical detachment and emotional detachment. I started working with my sponsor on how to do both. One way I did them by setting boundaries. This is just what my sponsor and I came up with for me. One of my boundaries is that I would not engage or talk to her when she was drinking and not present. This had nothing to do with love, but simply for me and my well-being. This was physical detachment. I would leave the room, leave the house if need be, and I would simply say I am not getting into this with you right now or I am not going to engage or have a conversation with you right now and/or I will talk to you about this at another time. I was polite, kind and respectful...but I honored my boundary and held myself accountable to doing it. No matter how much I wanted to point out she was drinking, incoherent, not able to communicate clearly, not present, whatever -- I didn't! I just let it go. I let go of trying to prove my point, pointing out that she was drunk, etc. I quit that job so to speak. This helped me tremendously! I no longer got angry and frustrated at failing to prove my point and pointing out that she was drinking, drunk, under the influence, unable to communicate clearly, etc. I did so whether she started out or when she got angry, agitated, confrontational, accusatory, etc. I wasn't going to try and have a meaningful discussion with someone who wasn't rational. You can't apply logic to an illogical person or situation.

I also had to learn to detach from the drama, chaos and turmoil, and not be a partner in the consequences of her drinking. If she was falling down, passed out, couldn't get into bed, and so forth...and again, this is just me...either she did it on her own, or she didn't. I stopped helping her. If she passed out on the floor, that's where she slept. I wasn't going to "enable" her and pick her up, get her into bed, etc. Yes, I made sure she was breathing, and was safe, given the circumstances, but that's where she slept. When she got into legal troubles, I started to try and be there for her in a healthy and supportive way -- a way that was healthy for me, and potentially supportive for her. However, most times, it was not enough for her -- because I wasn't a full-partner in the problem. She once got caught forging a prescription -- and said to me "What are we going to do about this now" -- and I bravely, courageously, and as confident as I could be said "I don't know what "we" are going to do about this, but you should think about and figure out what "you" are going to do about this. She was angry. She wanted me to fix  it -- like every other time I did before. But I had told her my boundary, I had already started letting her feel and bear the consequences of her own actions. There had to be a first time, and each subsequent time she pretended as if this were the first time and I was abandoning her. I did not try to explain to her and remind her about the other times. I simply was there for her in a way that was safe and healthy for me. This was never enough for her. Things got a little worse, for her, and she accused me of not being there for her, withdrawing from the marriage, abandoning her, leaving her, and so on. All of that was due to the disease and her not getting what she wanted, and me not doing what she wanted.

Simultaneous to this, I was doing a lot of work on the anger and resentment. This took time and a lot of work. I started to learn that she wasn't doing this to me -- she was just doing this. This is what alcoholics and addicts do -- in my situation -- she would drink, get drunk, lie, steal, cheat, get into trouble (legal and otherwise), and more. I heard a woman in the rooms once say "Infant's cry, dogs bark, and alcoholics drink" -- and that was her acceptance. I got it. So I started to get past and let go of the anger and resentment. I realized my wife wasn't a bad person. She was an unhealthy person, with a disease...and she decided that she didn't want to get better.

When I was able to start to get past the anger and resentment -- I started to have much more compassion for my wife. I realized that in certain respects, I still felt some love -- but it was simply different than in the past -- for the person she once was, for who she really was at her core, and for the fact that she had a disease. I wished good things for her. I hoped she -- for herself, not for me -- would eventually want to get better, and want to get healthy. I lived with knowing that she would not quit and would not get better and would not get healthy UNLESS and UNTIL SHE WANTED TO. Period. So I tried to be there for her when I could and I also stayed out of her way when I had to. My sponsor once said that if the alcoholic/addict is angry at you...then you are probably doing something right. 

I felt that she had to feel and experience what was going to happen as a result of her drinking -- the consequences -- or if I kept stepping in and making it better, she would have no reason to change. She would have no reason to quit. She would have no reason to get clean, sober, healthy and so on.

I learned that detaching didn't mean ignoring. I learned that it didn't mean abandoning. I learned that it didn't mean I was punishing her. It meant that whatever was going on at that moment -- I wasn't going to contribute or be a part of it. She got tremendously mad at me for detaching -- but I had to stand my ground and learn that's OK. It's all part of the process and part of the disease. It was part of my process of detaching and getting better, and that was part of her disease and what I had to do for me to get better from it. She threatened divorce, suicide, she threatened to tell everyone that I was "checked out" and abandoned her and the marriage and was leaving her destitute, broke, homeless, and at her lowest. She called me a liar and said I was not a man for what I was doing. I told her I would still talk to her, and still communicate with her, but I would not be involved with her situations that were a result of her drinking. I also told her, reminded her, that I would not talk to her or engage with her when she was drinking, drunk, etc. Yes, if it works for you -- love the person, but hate the disease. I may have loved my wife...but I didn't like and would not be a part of how she decided to live her life. 

In closing, keep coming back and keep going to face to face meetings. Find a sponsor and start focusing and working on YOU. For me, detaching with love also meant that I was going to focus on myself. The emotional detachment -- of not thinking about her, every text, every word, what she was doing, where she was going, and allowing my life to be ruled and consumed by fear of what might happen to her. That was my disease. That is a topic for another post/thread, but focusing on YOU is part of detachment. 

Hang in there. Focus on you. You can do it.



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Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



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bzz123 wrote:

Funny bc I really have been patting myself on the back for not saying all this horrible stuff that I could say.


 I love your statement here. I too will think of the whiplash comments I could drop on my qualifier. What I've found pre-al anon is that it didn't have much effect. Maybe I might be able to hurt her feelings or piss her off but it never changed anything. While I could get a moment of vindication out of it that didn't last. Now that I'm in Al Anon I'm understanding more why this was so unhelpful and dissatisfying. Our beloved alcoholics often perceive things in a wildly different way and to try to "hit 'em with the truth" is like spitting into the wind. Also, the more time I've spent working on this program the more I realize how wrong my own perceptions have been as well. 

Also like you Bzz, I was detached but not with love. I heard someone call it "middle-finger detachment." I felt that was accurate for my situation. I'm still not there yet but making progress I suppose. I've been able to drop a lot of the anger and resentment. I have setbacks for sure but have been able to move forward. 

 



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a4l


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For me, detachment came lovelessly at first as a means of self preservation. I was literally insane over another's drinking. The love part came when I understood and accepted alcoholism as a disease. In terms of recovery journeying, I reckon we never actually arrive, but are rather always in a state of arriving (sounds weird in English). All of its a process. That's my experience.

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"When one door is closed, don't you know,another is open?" Bob Marley.



~*Service Worker*~

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I am not able to gain recovery and do this program without the presence of my HP and most of the time I find that is my HP's decision.  Yes my HP is real.  I don't know if it is a He or a She and at times I have felt HP's presence as both.  I don't get to decide when HP "shows up"  that is HP's choice however each and every time it is a gift and benefit for me.  One evening I was reviewing an internet story about a small elderly woman in Cambodia or Viet Nam or such who raised a Tiger from cub to adult and when it was an adult she could no longer take care of it.  She took it to the zoo and gave it to them and left for a long period of time.  One day she went into the town and decided to visit the adult cat.  She came to it's cage while it was dozing and standing at the iron bars said, "Hey Tiger" and the cat jumped to it's feet and pushed its paws thru the bars and encircled her body.  There were pictures that went with this story and the cat towered over her and it's paws were bigger than her head and when it encircled her body it could have easily crushed her but what happened was it drew her to the bars and lovingly rubbed and nuzzled it's cheeks against her face.  I was amazed and while I did understand that there was a relationship between them I saw a complete absence of fear.  My HP was standing behind me and asked, "What are you watching"? to which I replied "No fear" (in amazement) which my HP replied "Yes...Love".  What I got from that until this time was another apparent demonstration of love...the absence of fear.

For me it goes hand in hand with Love is the complete and total acceptance of every other human being for exactly who they are.  HP wants me like that.   Love you family.  (((((hugs))))) aww



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