This is part of a series of monthly posts that reference many conversations with Dr. MacAfee. Thanks, Doc. 

tm_3930-1A friend, who also loved Dr. MacAfee, shares what she learned from him: Losing my voice, silencing my most potent inner instincts left me living in fear, afraid to speak out, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I felt invisible, powerless, angry and unheard. Dr. MacAfee encouraged me to find my voice, speak out and be heard again.

My reflection: I, too, silenced my voice when Jeff was in active addiction. I walked on eggshells and worried about every word that came out of my mouth. Would my words anger him? Would we argue and have an ugly scene? Would he walk out and be lost, once again, to the streets. I shoved my words into my belly until I also got sick.

Today’s Promise to consider: Today, I will speak up. I will stop of the cycle of being worried sick and swallowing my voice. I will change the dynamic of this unhealthy touch-and-go dance between my addicted loved one and me. I will fight to keep myself balanced, respected and heard.

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Pat Nichols
7 years ago

I learned to keep as quite as possible because addiction only responds to communication that provides a path for their continual use of mind altering substances. It is impossible to talk love or logic to the addicted individual, their frontal lobe is completely shut down, void of the ability to reason. What helped me most is understanding my child had a disease, a brain disorder. I could then listen but not react negatively. I could stay calm in my limited responses.

7 years ago

Thank you so much Libby. This is such an important reminder and brave sharing. Of all the things that harmed my family with son in active addiction, this living in fear and silence and waiting, the not knowing what to do can be the most soul destroying and causes sickness in many forms and undermines a person’s faith in themselves, causes such pain in relationships. This is why this forum is a healing place. We can have a voice here. This is why, as much as I love my addicted one , growing to a place where I realize and moreover accept the only life I can save is my own is my only path to sanity. This is a crazy making disease for everyone affected and I can still slip back into old patterns of fear and worry of a relapse but I know that guilt and worry solve nothing and being happy as I can does not mean I love less. For anyone reading this, there is hope there is always hope.Speak your truth from place of love and the dis-ease will not swallow you. Blessings–this can be such an extra hard time of year.