FH000022Jeff spoke at a recovery presentation and said, It’s imperative that addicts “play the tape through.” We tend to remember only the good times when using – those times when we were high and having a blast – but we conveniently overlook the fact that the good times usually ended in car crashes, arrests, lost jobs and broken relationships. We need to remember the consequences of our addiction and not just the exciting times in the middle.

My reaction: Addicts tend to overlook the bad times and not play the tape through, but I, too, was guilty of this. When Jeff was sick and faced with the results of his addiction (legal problems, fines, job losses), I wanted to believe that this time was the magic time when my help would make the difference. If I had played the tape through and remembered that my help (usually money) wasn’t the answer, I would have learned sooner to stay close, but out of the chaos.

Today’s Promise to consider: Life is filled with tough decisions, especially when dealing addiction. When I’m faced with them, I’ll play the tape through. I’ll remember the whole story – the good times and also the consequences. The replay button will help me remember where my actions took me in the first place and where they are likely to take me again.   

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Leslie Ferris
10 years ago

Thank you Libby, for this great reminder to play the tape through – unedited. I love the phrase, and it applies to any lesson learned really. I am going to remember this one!

Pat Nichols
10 years ago

My memory tape always ran out of “power” before I could play it all the way through! 🙂 So, what I did was create a written journal of all the dates and events concerning my sons addiction. In addition, I would add pictures of the results of my personal actions. For example, I wrote how I intervened (enabled), why & the end result which was usually a jail mug shot of my son. I always listed all the money I spent during each episode also.

Once, he wrecked his car while high. So, I bought him another one. Then he used his car to barter for drugs from his dealer. I got the car back without tires, radio etc. and with body damage. I took a picture of it and placed in my journal. A great visual for this codependant father!

The facts don’t lie so when I reviewed my journal notes it was clear what my expectation would be. It made it much easier to learn to say no, with love and eventually to “let go, let God.”

10 years ago

What a powerful post Pat. Thank you for sharing.. Thank you for the topic Libby and Jeff

10 years ago

Thank you Pat. and Libby. Yes, to playing the tape through. I wish I’d done what Pat did -kept a clearer record — so I would have a clear -er mirror of my past actions- or reactions.

It is a very good idea. And very brave.

There is no avoiding the tape when it can never be erased. Just yesterday my husband and I got caught in one of those conversations/heated discussions saying if we’d have done this or this or this …at this time and so on and so forth … but we stopped, realizing what we were doing.
Acting as if something we might have done could have changed the outcome -where we are now.

At least we were saying “we” not “you” -there was no blame but certainly a sense of: had we known then what we know now. But we didn’t. And we couldn’t look it up! And we cannot go back.

All the more reason for staying present, in the moment,even if it is painful.

The addict’s tape is very different than the tape the loved ones have. We have learned so much through this journey. Every addict is a very good teacher to those who love them. A hard truth, but for us, very true.

Isn’t this all about learning to deeply love and keep faith. And healing. all of us.

Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

What a great strategy for reminding ourselves of the consequences of our actions, Pat. I kept written journals of my emotions and conflicts, but not a record of money, photos or ‘tangible evidence.’ Yours is a great idea.

We want to believe in our children. We want to believe that the tape, this one last time, will end well. We want with all our hearts to believe, but it takes our addicted loved ones to fight the good fight. It’s all so complicated.

My love to you all. We’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other and as work toward doing ‘the next right thing.’

10 years ago

I love all your posts and can relate to each and every one of them. I kept a journal and some pictures – pictures of the good times, of course. Every so often, I dig them out and look at them. They always bring a smile to my face. I miss him terribly. I let go and let God. So, he’s in the arms of our Lord, now. That’s how I keep going.

Joy, when you said that you need to stay in the present, even if it’s painful. I feel your pain in my heart and I pray each day that just a little bit of the pain, will begin to heal. I pray that one day the pain will be gone.

Libby is so right. It’s so very complicated. I play and play and play the tape over and over. And, I have yet to find the answers to some of my questions. So, I let go and let God.

I love all of you. You are all so very special to me.

My love and prayers for all our addicted children.

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