How to Detach From the Problem Rather Than Abandon Your Loved One
Dear Dr. Steve:
I seem to be having a harder
time with Recovery than my daughter. She has been addicted to cocaine for seven years. She
has short periods of abstinence followed by long periods of using. I can tell when
shes using because the signs are all there. Her weight drops dramatically. Her
health deteriorates. Things turn up missing from my house. The only time I hear from her
is when she needs a bill paid. Okay, so I know whats going on and yet the thought of
turning my back on her breaks my heart. I go to my Al-Anon meetings and they repeatedly
talk to me about detaching with love. I know what the phrase means. I know why
its important to do. But I just cant turn my back on my daughter. Am I
Youre not the least bit hopeless. You just need to do some work for yourself about
yourself. You see thats the key to detaching with love. Keeping the focus on
yourself rather than the chemically dependent family member. So just keep in mind, the
key to detaching with love is maintaining a proper focus on yourself.
develop the discipline of keeping the focus on yourself rather than your daughter and her
drug problem youll discover that the key to serenity is finding the wisdom to know
the difference between what you can and cannot change. By keeping the focus on you,
youll no longer be tempted to:
Suffer because of the actions and reaction of others.
2.) Allow yourself to be used or abused by others.
3.) Do for others what they could do for themselves.
4.) Manipulate situations so others will eat, sleep, get up, pay bills and not drink.
5.) Cover up for anyone's mistakes or misbehaviors.
6.) Create a crisis.
7.) Prevent a crisis if the crisis is the natural course of events.
start with the business of detaching with love? First and foremost, you have to learn how
to detach only from the situation, not the person. Your Recovery is not about
abandoning your daughter, its about not getting sucked in to the drama that your
daughter creates. You can be there for your daughter without having to pay her bills,
letting her rob you blind, and/or sucking you dry financially and legally.
Lets start with the word responsibility. You are responsible for how you
feel, not your daughters choices. You are responsible for how you react to the
situations that your daughter creates. As you change your reaction to your daughters
behavior, youll begin to notice a change in the choices that you make as well.
important aspect of detaching is acceptance. Acceptance does not mean that you
endorse your daughters drug use. Accepting your daughters drug use does
mean that youve acknowledged to yourself that youre unable to influence her
alcohol and other drug use.
aspect of detachment is remembering that chemical dependency is a disease that you did not
cause, you cannot control, and for which there is no cure. In
remembering what Ive just said, you should realize that theres nothing you can
do to get your daughter to stop her drugging.
of you who may first be learning about the idea of detaching with love, let me
recommend the following to you!
from chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to
choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D.
Recovery book seriesFrom Insanity to Serenity.
1.) Get honest with your feelings.
2.) Talk to people who understand chemical dependency
3.) Get in touch with your Higher Power.
4.) Work through your feelings of anger and resentment.
5.) Join an Al-Anon group.