Loving an addict means sacrifice. It means finding resources, researching theories, setting up appointments, calling therapists, looking for rehabs, maintaining the home and finances, and paying medical bills (at least trying to). It means sacrifice often without the intended result of recovery, leading to disappointment and stress. Loving an addict means always putting my husband and his recovery and relapse first. As mentioned in an earlier blog post, in order to break free from the chains of co-dependency I must detach. At first, this sounded like such a cold and empty word, bringing feelings of disconnectedness and loss. But as I embark on this journey of reinvention I realize that detaching from my addict husband will actually allow me to reconnect with someone I lost in my battle with addiction: me. And that someone, I remind myself, is worth saving too. I will do that by learning and then practicing self-love. Here’s my self-love game plan:
- Meditation and inward focus: I will take time to be mindful, reflect, and experience my feelings and emotions.
- Get help: I will go to therapy and Al-anon meetings.
- Forgive myself: I will try to let go of the mistakes I made. I will try to let go of the failures. I will stop worrying about what I should have done and think of what I can do.
- Believe in myself: I will take time to focus on personal development at work. I will write in my blog. I will celebrate my accomplishments.
- Enjoy healthy life activities: I will exercise regularly, practice yoga, and eat delicious and healthy food. I will try to get enough sleep.
- Find happiness: I will do things I enjoy like cooking, listening to music, spending time at the beach, eating seafood, having a glass of red wine, swimming, and reading.
- Celebrate the small victories: I will acknowledge my everyday successes, no matter how small.
- Try new things: I will try to explore new places, travel as much as personally and financially possible, eat at new restaurants, go to museums, take a cooking class, take a barre class, and explore new parks and outdoor places.
- Help others: I will help others in need that are ready to receive. I will volunteer my time.
- Connect with others and practice honesty: I will try to rebuild my friendships that have been lost, treat others with love and respect, communicate with my family, receive help from others, and be truthful about the good and the bad in my life.
- End toxic relationships: I will try to detach from my current codependent marriage.
- Think of myself: I will stop putting myself last. I will set boundaries that keep me safe, I will think of my needs and take care of myself.
- Take responsibility: I will take ownership for my actions and circumstances and make the changes needed to experience happiness and self-love.
Loving an addict is painful. Loving an addict is devastating. It can deplete you and leave you feeling empty. But we can let go of fear and fill that void. Love is not something that somebody gives you; it is something you find for yourself. This is my journey to find it, please join me as I share my acts of self-love and share my victories and defeats.