FAMILIES: LEARNING TO LOVE THEMSELVES

photo 6In response to last week’s meditation, a mom wrote to me, I find not only the addicts don’t love themselves, but their family members  – especially a spouse or parent – feel the same about themselves. What a vicious disease – robbing both the addict and someone close to him of self-love.

My reflection: Addiction is a family disease that often leaves us feeling guilty, shamed and devoid of self-love. When Jeff was in active addiction, I spent most days tangled within the illness, blaming myself and wondering what I could have done differently. As a mom, I wanted to fix things and drive addiction out of our home, but it doesn’t work that way. I was powerless and my sense of guilt was counterproductive.

Today’s Promise to consider: I can’t blame anyone for my loved one’s addiction because there is no blame. It just is. Today I will take care of myself by doing the things I know promote health and peace. I will pray, rely on my support group and reach out to the people around me who are suffering.

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Kathy
Kathy
9 years ago

I tried to subscribe and it told me I already am but I have never received this blog in my email. Any suggestions? I have checked spam folder.

Barbara
Barbara
9 years ago

What an important meditation this week. Family members find it so difficult to love themselves because they often blame themselves for the addict’s actions. I was riddled with guilt and shame when my son was alive and in active addiction. The guilt was so overwhelming, I couldn’t get rid of it. And, when my son died, the guilt was even more overwhelming.

How can we love ourselves if we are riddled with guilt? As Libby says, we can reach out to our support groups, pray, and do things for ourselves that promote good health. It’s easier said than done, to take good care of ourselves. It’s so hard for me to do the right thing to promote a “healthy me”. So, for me, I reach out to all of you. Then, I can begin to think about my health, and what I need to become that healthy person.

Thank you Libby, for the good mental health that your blog brings to all of us. It’s such a positive reinforcement that helps me to live each day with faith, love, and peace.

Claire
Claire
9 years ago

We often forget to love ourselves through many hardships we face in life…addiction in the family is one example, years ago a counselor I had been taking my son to told me that I needed to promise her that I would do something nice for myself each day..even if it was sitting for 15 min doing nothing…learn to love yourself she said..you do for so many..but we forget to do for ourselves. I have followed her advice since that time over 25 years ago. Some days it is just sitting on my deck, having a cool drink and knowing I am peaceful.

pat nichols
9 years ago

What amazing insight from Libby, Barbara and Claire. Thank you so much for sharing.

For me, accepting recovery and becoming healthy again required that I fully trust my Higher Power, who I call God. I began doing something I had always resisted in the past. I sat quietly and listened to God. I fully accepted Him; His peace, love and power.

I have a sign in my office that says, “I wish my mouth had a pause button.” That sign has been in my office for years, yet I never applied it to understanding how to ‘pause’ and listen to God. Without that understanding how could I ever hope to, “Let go, Let God?”

I began my journey by thanking God for being with me. I thanked Him for being with my addicted child and for allowing me, through His presence within me, to trust Him fully. That freed me to work hard on myself through the Twelve Steps of Families Anonymous.

I no longer attempt to do things apart from God’s will. God replaced my fear and doubts with His grace and forgiveness.

May it be so for all who suffer from this disease.

Dave Cooke
9 years ago

Guilt, fear, and shame were definitely my first reaction points. Like you I have found peace not looking to assign blame, rather to live in and celebrate the moments for what they are. Good stuff, Libby!

Nanci
Nanci
9 years ago

Libby,
There are no words to express how grateful I am to you for ‘reaching out to the people who are suffering.’ You have been a tremendous support to me (and so many others) throughout these past several years. I am ‘good’ today because of you, the fellowship of Alanon and all the incredible people on your blog who continue to share their experience, strength and hope.
Thank you for helping me see past this ‘vicious’ disease by opening my heart to ‘recovery.’
God Bless!

Laura
9 years ago

At times, in my mind, I would start to blame others for my son’s disease and behaviors-my husband, the law, the halfway house owners, the treatment programs that don’t work, the suboxene doctors, the psychiatrists, myself and my addict son. Then I would stop myself because I realized I was thinking like my son, the addict, and I am supposed to be the healthy one. (Thanks to Families Anonymous, my sponsor, this blog, Stay Close , and the other literature I have read on codependency and addiction!)

At times I still feel guilty while I am enjoying a nice meal with my friends and family, and my son is suffering the consequences of his addiction. Again, I stop myself from going down that path because I know my misery will not heal my son. In fact, it will cause me to enable. At this point I think the only thing that might heal him is his own misery, so I am trying to let him deal with it while I go on with my life.

All of the comments this week are uplifting, and I appreciate that because I know that you have all been through the worst of this disease, and still sound amazingly positive and hopeful!