Several years ago when my husband was my drug addicted boyfriend, a moment of clarity revealed just how much I allowed my life to revolve around his addiction.
One afternoon he was lying on his side as we talked, and I noticed a lighter hanging half-way out of his pocket. He had just gotten a sponsor in a twelve-step program (which thrilled me) and when I asked if he had relapsed he assured me that he was clean, that he hadn't worn that pair of jeans in a few months . . . the lighter must have already been there. Um. Could you come up with a better lie? I'm tryin' to have some hope here.
"Wendy, I promise I haven't used. I'll take a U.A. and prove it to you."
Ordinarily I would've agreed, but God used that day to reveal on the outside, a small change I'd made (by His grace) on the inside.
"Take a test. Don't take a test. I don't care. A month ago I'd have insisted that you take one. Then I'd have put my life on hold as I waited for the results. Waited to see if I was happy or mad. I realize now that the peace I want can't come from getting to the bottom of whether or not you used drugs today. The very fact that we're having this conversation is what keeps me in turmoil. It's my contribution to this mess we're in. Somewhere out there, there's a guy who doesn't have a lighter hangin' out of his pocket and Visine in the console of his car."
Did I really mean what I said? I did the best I could to keep my eyes on God and my own business. It still took a few years before my baby steps matured into a belief I could walk in with confidence. It's interesting that when I changed, a new path for our relationship was created.
The "management" of another person's recovery process is just one of the many ways we fuel the cycle of insanity. Today, my joy in the Lord does not hinge on my husband's sobriety. However, he and I both agree that the season of living day in and day out around addiction is over. Christ is the center, from which healthy boundaries are received. and to whom trust in the outcome is given.
For years I believed a lie. I believed that if I could find a way to keep my loved one clean and sober, then I could finally live in peace. Will you prayerfully consider that these unhealthy emotional attachments are a hindrance to healing?
He feeds on ashes; A deceived heart has turned him aside, And he cannot deliver his soul, Nor say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?" Isaiah 44: 20
Published on Thursday, July 5, 2012 @ 11:47 AM CDT
Zooming around on facebook, a friends favorite quotation got my attention. Something his father once said to him: When you want to stop hurting yourself, you will.
There was a time in my life when I hurt myself. A lot. I gravitated toward people who hurt me. A lot. I attended a twelve-step program at the time and my sponsor would say, "Wendy, if you go looking for pain, you'll find it every time."
She was right. In the thick of codependency I checked my drug-addicted boyfriends pockets--daily. If snooping was crack, I would have been on skid row. It didn't occur to me that by snooping I was looking for pain. I was resistant to the reality that my willingness to be romantically involved with someone who's entangled in addiction was me choosing to hurt myself. But eventually I grasped it.
If you're willing to consider this reality then you my friend are readier than you know for what it takes to heal. Which is to do something (healthy)--different. "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." --Albert Einstein or Ben Franklin (It's debatable.)
What are you willing to do differently today? Pick ONE thing. Here are a few suggestions:
- Seek counseling.
- Refuse to feed the monster of codependency (no more snooping) You're either willing to live with an addict or not. If you are, then you are not a victim. You're signing up for all the destruction that it brings into your life. If you're not, then DON'T. Separate, then re-visit reuniting when addiction is no longer lord over your loved one (and your addicted loved one is no longer lord over you).
- Exercise. It relieves stress.
- Do something that nurtures You. Eat healthy. Pray. Set aside five minutes each day to just breath deeply in the presence of God.
This may be hard to believe, but big change comes from the small changes we make along the way. As you begin to value yourself more your decision making will become healthier for you and your loved ones.
In John 5:6 Jesus asked a crippled man, "Do you want to be made well?"
Jesus' reply to the mans, "yes," was "Rise, take up your bed and walk."
Walk. Take baby steps if you must, but walk. One day at a time. One step at a time. And when you are made well you'll inspire others with your story.
Question: What behavior or action do you repeat over and over, as you expect different results?
Published on Saturday, June 16, 2012 @ 9:18 AM CDT