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Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at
(847) 498-5611.

Recover 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. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series.


How to Detach with Love and Compassion


D
ear Dr. Steve:

No matter how many times detaching is explained to me, no matter how many times I’m told that detaching is for everybody’s own good, I can’t bring myself to turn my back on my brother. I am the only one he has. Everyone else has washed their hands of him. He’s sick, I know that much. Underneath all that the drugs has made him too, is a human being. But everybody else has given up on him—his wife and kids, my parents and sister. Nobody wants him around anymore. It’s not in my nature to kick somebody when their down. It’s when they’re down, that they need you the most. Can you help me sort out this dilemma?

Detachment is initially difficult to embrace because it goes against the grain of human decency. Detachment seemingly is in contradiction with such valued human qualities such as seeing the goodness in others, selflessness, empathy, compassion, and wisdom of the heart.

But in fact detachment is the embodiment of these human qualities. Detachment is not an act of judging an alcoholic. Detachment is not an act of condemning an alcoholic. Detachment is not an act of abandoning an alcoholic. Detachment is simply the means by which you can distance yourself from the adverse effects of an alcoholic’s drinking.

In order to most comfortably detach, it’s helpful to embrace the following truisms:
1.) You did not cause your brother to drink.
2.) You can’t control your brother’s drinking.
3.) You can’t cure your brother’s disease.
4.) You can care about your brother without taking care of him.
5.) You have the power to change what you can’t accept and the serenity to accept what you cannot change.

It would also be helpful to you to accept the following:
1.) To detach is not to stop loving an alcoholic. To detach is to stop rescuing an alcoholic. 2.) To detach is not to stop caring about an alcoholic. To detach is to stop rescuing an alcoholic.
3.) To detach is not to abandon an alcoholic. To detach is to stop making excuses for an alcoholic.
4.) To detach is not to ignore an alcoholic. To detach is to stop being sucked into the drama created by an alcoholic.
5.) To detach is not to attempt to control the behavior of an alcoholic. To detach is to live your life in spite of the negativity caused by the alcoholic.
6.) To detach is not to be apathetic about an alcoholic. To detach is to acknowledge your powerlessness over the alcoholic.


Recover 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. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series—From Insanity to Serenity.

Pathfinder’s Checklist

1.) Get honest with your feelings.
2.) Talk to people who understand chemical dependency.
3.) Develop a spiritual practice.
4.) Work through your feelings of anger and resentment.
5.) Join an Al-Anon group.

G.B.U.

Steve



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