One of the many dysfunctions that can arise in our experiences with our addicted loved one is the tendency to organize our life around the addict, much the same way that the addict organizes his or her life around their drug of choice. The addict, if allowed, will eventually dominate the landscape of our life; their wellbeing becomes our sole focus and primary mission.
We increasingly reroute our time, energy, and resources from our self-care to the task of fixing the problem; convinced that if the addict gets well everything will be okay. This continual neglect of ourselves and those around us has profoundly negative effects. A few examples are:
- Deteriorating physical health
- Loss of emotional wellbeing (i.e. joy, peace, confidence)
- Isolation and alienation from friends and coworkers
- Jobs jeopardized through excessive time off and declining performance
- Marriage and family upheaval
Just like the addict we must begin to reclaim our life and learn how to live healthy again; emotionally, physically, spiritually, and relationally. We must choose “us.” We must choose health. This act is not selfish. This act is necessary. The act of choosing “us” everyday will not only result in a transformation of our life, but free us from the codependent cycle that traps us and our loved one. We can begin growing and thriving again; setting a new pattern for the addict to follow should they choose.
So start today. Make a commitment to put your welfare first. Set a boundary. Take a walk. Talk to a friend. Pray. Attend a PAL Group meeting. Take a modest step and begin caring for yourself. It will be one of the most unselfish things you can do.