How to Detach with Love and Compassion
Dear Dr. Steve:
No matter how many times
detaching is explained to me, no matter how many times Im told that detaching is for
everybodys own good, I cant bring myself to turn my back on my brother. I am
the only one he has. Everyone else has washed their hands of him. Hes 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 himhis wife and kids, my parents and sister. Nobody wants him
around anymore. Its not in my nature to kick somebody when their down. Its
when theyre down, that they need you the most. Can you help me sort out this
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.
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 alcoholics drinking.
to most comfortably detach, its helpful to embrace the following truisms:
1.) You did not cause your brother to drink.
2.) You cant control your brothers drinking.
3.) You cant cure your brothers disease.
4.) You can care about your brother without taking care of him.
5.) You have the power to change what you cant accept and the serenity to accept
what you cannot change.
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
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.
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.) Develop a spiritual practice.
4.) Work through your feelings of anger and resentment.
5.) Join an Al-Anon group.