Posted in alanon, codependency, generational patterns, NAMI, Recovery Talk Live, Uncategorized

Victim or Volunteer?

Often as the loved ones of those struggling with addiction and/or mental illness, you find yourself in the position of feeling victimized by the brain disorder, the person you love and to their thoughts, feelings, actions, reactions, and lack of actions; that are not congruent with what you want or choose for them.

As a loved one, I spent countless years at various points throughout my life, longing for my various affected loved ones to care about  me enough to take their medication, get sober, and turn the corner in their illness, so I could be peaceful and whole.

I know the flaws in that thinking pattern, however, those thoughts were very real to me for most of my life. So real in fact, I often volunteered my own happiness, peace and serenity as an offering to coerce other people to be okay, seek treatment or whatever else I believe they needed.  As a result, I would often slip into a depression due to my perceived victimization by others. When in fact, I often volunteered for the position.

We often believe if we just do or say something one more time, after thousands of attempts and pleas for our loved one to be okay they will miraculously look us in the face, surrender their will and say,”Thank you for repeating that for the 523rd time because I just didn’t hear it the first 522 times and today is different,” then miraculously turn their life around due to our undying love, efforts, and pleas.

It is just not going to happen. We cannot love someone enough, manage them enough, babysit them enough, or anything else to make them okay!

The truth is, if we had the power to make our loved one okay, it would have happened already. Not only do we not have that power, our attempts will leave us exhausted, depressed, angry, confused and hopeless, with a non stop ticket on the Crazy Town Express to Crazy Town, USA., wallowing in victimized thinking.

We get on that train voluntarily.

You will take back your power and resign your volunteer position by realizing your loved one is making their own choices and living their own life.  It may not be the healthy thriving life you choose for them, but trying to control it makes your life a wreck too and you end up with two unwell people instead one.brain-disorder-verse

So take back your power by:

  • Removing yourself from harmful situations
  • Stop begging your loved one to change
  • Stop preventing another’s natural consequence for behaviors
  • Stop devaluing yourself by letting others plow through your boundaries (assuming you have set some)
  • Stop trying to control outcomes
  • Stop doing for others what they can do for themselves
  • Practice loving detachment by knowing where you stop and someone else begins

This can be particularly difficult for Christians who often fall into martyrdom believing they are called to “unconditional love and sacrifice”.

God clearly explains that every man has free will and choice. God did not ask us to sacrifice our well being trying to make someone else we cannot fix okay, that behavior is about us, and the responsibility is God’s not ours. Even the compromised brain is covered by God’s undying love for the individual and our power is not greater than His. Remember God loves your person even more than you do, and their wellness is covered under His grace.

Today’s Recovery Tip:

I will not give away my power by making my happiness contingent on my loved one’s wellness. I am victim to no one and the CEO of me.

 

 

 

 

 

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Love vs. Enabling a Loved One

“I will not enable the illness, but I will support the path of wellness.” LP

While sitting in my living room this weekend, my friend leaned back on the sofa, looked at me and said “You don’t have to reject to protect.” What? I asked.  She said,  “You don’t have to reject your loved one, in order to protect yourself and your sanity.” At the risk of sounding like a Baptist minister she stood strong on her point. 

After a week of exhaustion my friend was looking forward to a day off alone in her home when her struggling adult child with untreated bipolar, came bursting in with yet another “life” problem. With a lot of recovery and National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) support under her belt, my friend looked up at her daughter with calmness, love, and quiet, and simply stated, “I was looking forward to a day to myself.” In dismay, the adult child gazed at her forlorn, threw her a look a look of guilt, with a good hearty twinge of shock and disappointment and left the house.

My friend immediately started to move into a place of guilt for not enabling yet another depressive state of  her daughter, until finally choosing to enjoy her time alone with a good movie. She didn’t have to reject her daughter in order to protect her from anything, because the reality is this is just another day in the life of someone in which she has no power. My friend finally reached a point where she realized her sanity had worth and value. And in truth, nothing that would have transpired from the exchange would have changed anything in her child’s life. It was just another day in the life of untreated bipolar.

Instead of jumping on the crazy train which leads right to Crazy Town, USA, where family members spin in their heads in attempt to fix a situation. She chose to embrace her time alone to restore herself after a long week realizing:

It’s okay for you to be okay even if your loved one is not okay!

This is a concept that eluded me for most of my life. Afterall, how could I be at peace if someone I love is suffering. If only they would comply to my exhaustive research on how to fix their situation we would all be all right. Yeah, right!

That was my old faulty thinking system that nearly ran me in the ground. My friend on the other hand, although once exhausted herself, has found the balance and freedom in realizing she can be okay if her daughter is not. It is just the necessary reality of the situation for her survival.

In what area do you need to surrender in order to take care of you?

Remember you are the CEO of you and no one else will cover that position. In fact, if you are willing to give away your peace, it will be taken.

Please comment and share your View from the Curb.

There are over 80 million of us who love and care for those with brain disorders. Your View and your opinion matter. And we need each other to be well.

“Fixing love; hurts people.”

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View from the Curb…support for the friends & families of those with struggling addiction and/or mental illness

For years I have been penning my manuscript on my book the View from the Curb, a perspective of the loved ones of those struggling with addiction, mental health issues, or both.

In fact, I have been interviewed on major radio stations including KWAVE and KABC regarding the ongoing upcoming manuscript twice; and still I sat unable to writeWhy? Because the pain from the past I worked so hard for so many years to overcome, continues to rear its ugly head and cast fears and doubts about my abilities to write, perform, and excel in my purpose, without criticism from those whose opinions I choose to give power to. It is a faulty thinking system I have based on my codependent tendencies.

Now don’t get me wrong, the faulty thinking in my brain that tells me when and if I post and write, social media followers will criticize me and call me a fraud, and all the other lies the enemy plants in my continually growing sea of doubts when I allow it.

The reality is this; my story is mine and mine alone, as is yours. God allowed it to happen in my life to give me a unique perspective of healing and support I can pay forward to another generation. So I will choose to ignore the doubts in my mind and move forward.

So what is the View from the Curb?  It is a book, maybe a film, an  article or whatever God chooses to do with it once it’s done. I am only called to write it. And most importantly it is the perspective that the 80 million of us who have known and loved the over 23 million people who struggle with addictive disorders. And we need one another to heal and move forward.

The View vision came to me when comparing my life long journey of loving folks who struggled with addiction to an accident scene. There are always looky Lou’s and Lucy’s who slow down to see the accident as traffic piles up. Then, before you know it the paramedics, police, ambulance, and other emergency services are on the scene; all focused around this one person.

Yet, it seems that no one ever stops at the accident scene to slow down and look over their shoulder to see who is sitting on the curb,  and there are parents, siblings, children, spouses, and others who are dying, exhausted, sick, stressed, confused and often live without support. That is the View from the Curb! 

So I invite you on the journey with me to share your story of perceived invisibility, loss, exhaustion, and most importantly healing.  Together we are more powerful in sharing ways to support loved ones while experiencing health and healing…a survival guide of hope.

Let’s grow and heal together with God’s grace, we can’t do this alone. Please share your story, I know you have one!

***This is in NO WAY written with disrespect to those who struggle with the horrible afflictions of brain disorders, but as a specific support for the families and friends.***

 

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Yes, Recovery is Suppose to Feel Uncomfortable

clip art blog 2   I was talking to an acquaintance tonight who struggles with food issues and weight loss, “I want to lose weight but I just don’t feel like it,” she shared. She continued, “the food tastes great and I just don’t want to stop, it’s not comfortable.” What? Really?

I gasped to myself wondering if anyone ever promised recovery would feel good, be fun out the gate, or be comfortable. Although the road to wellness may not “feel great” initially, the new behaviors learned on the journey will eventually replace the faulty ones that lead to the pain you experience.

That’s right, discomfort is a good thing in recovery and in truth the momentary discomfort of change, compared to the elongated pain experienced  by  indulgent behaviors and substances, are a small price to pay. In fact, creating discomfort in early recovery can serve as a motivation to get well.

Things such as legal issues, custody problems, money concerns, and relational loclip art blogss, often cause a great deal of discomfort that eventually lead someone to get the help they need to change. These things are often natural consequences and discomforts that serve to motivate changed behaviors.

Back to my acquaintance, she shared having a membership at a weight loss facility she was not using. They had begun to call her and encourage her to come back if only to weigh in…they get it!

In fact, my advice to her was to show up and weigh in Monday morning and every week after that whether she was on the program or not. Eventually, she will either get so sick of having to weigh in or so disgusted by the number she sees, she may choose change, it’s a good motivating discomfort.

What discomfort in your life can you use as a motivation to make positive changes and move toward recovery? After all if nothing changes…nothing changes. And if you are waiting for a situation to resolve itself, it won’t. We have a choice, God always gives us a choice.

If you are still breathing you have not crossed a line you can’t come back from and it is not too late for a change. After all, some people’s bottom is death and you are still with us if you are reading this. You matter to God, He never wastes a hurt, and you have worth and value that can bless others…no matter where you are!

Now get uncomfortable!

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