I never really realized that as I was heaping criticism and punishment upon the alcoholic, I was actually punishing myself as well. With every cruel or harsh word I would let fly out of my mouth, my spirit would ache for hours afterward as my mind would replay the confrontational event over and over again.
I’d become so accustomed to living this way that I’d lost touch with what life used to be like when I wasn’t dealing with constant turmoil.
I would find myself adding more fuel to my irritations as I would complain to family members and friends about the awful things the alcoholic was doing to ruin “our” life. I would replay months or even years worth of frustrating times when the substance abuser’s choices had caused me some sort of mental, spiritual or physical pain. As I continued to magnify all of the frustrations within the relationship, I would become even more frustrated.
I was constantly pointing my big fat finger at them, blaming the alcoholic for all of life’s problems. It seemed that at least seventy percent of my time was filled with obsessing over the alcoholic’s choices to ruin their lives.
The harder I tried to control them-the worse I felt. There was no amount of hollering or complaining that did any good. All of my efforts to convince them they were screwing everything up had no affect on them.
The more focused on the alcoholic we become-the more we punish ourselves. This is why we must learn the process of detaching from a substance abuser. The longer we stay attached to the insanity-the more insane we will become.
When we can separate ourselves from the alcoholic/addict and all the negativity that surrounds them, we give ourselves the opportunity to experience more good things in life that will bring positive emotions that make us feel good about ourselves. If we stay stuck in the negatives we will continue to punish ourselves through cultivating negativity.
- Let go or be dragged by the alcoholic
- Get out of the way of the locomotive or be crushed
- Dance with the 500 lb. gorilla and you’re going to get stomped on
If we punish the alcoholic with verbal lashes, we will come away from the encounter feeling guilty about our own “bad” behavior.
If we punish the substance abuser by giving them mean looks, giving them the silent treatment and expressing utter disgust through every gesture of our body language, those things won’t cause them to change. We will only be wasting our time wallowing around in the pigs slop of negativity.
Wouldn’t it be nicer to be happy, joyous, serene and lighthearted? Breaking away from our old behavior patterns takes time. You cannot just begin doing things differently without someone teaching you how to do things differently.
Here are a few things that will help you learn how to have a happier life: