Getting Back Your Life
Many times as a family member of the addict, we want so badly to have a normal life as measured against societal standards we will go to extremes to fool ourselves into thinking life is normal at all costs. We make excuses for the addict. We say our loved one is tired, it is a phase they are going through, they are going through problems with friends and or significant others, hormonal issues…the list goes on. .. and on…and on… We have a bunch of excuses we have all told ourselves over the years in the hopes that our addict was really clean. We lie to ourselves, our loved ones, friends and other family members hiding the embarrassment, guilt and shame.
All of our untruths/Lies, fears and excuses start filling up a small bag that we carry with us everywhere we go. We carry it with us 24/7. We even hold this bag up at night in fear of dropping the bag. The weight of this bag wakes us up countless times every night! As we stuff more untruths, fears and family issues into our bag it grows over time. Nothing ever seems to lighten the bag. The bag grows and grows and it becomes heavier and heavier as all of our problems go into the bag. There are times when the bag is too big and heavy for us to carry around with the ever growing weight that we keep adding to it …yet.. we manage to keep holding it up at all costs.
As the bag gets too heavy we start to drag it behind us. It weighs us down, it slows us down. Eventually we end up dragging it around with us holding on to it ever tighter for fear of not having the bag. The bag starts to take over our lives, slowly at first and then one day …it becomes a very big part of our lives. we concentrate on all of the problems and frustrations in the bag. As an example, what can I do to stop my addict from using, what else can I do? We continue drag this heavy back breaking bag with us everywhere…. We go to work with the bag, we go to friend’s homes with the bag, we even sleep holding the bag up. We all become very tired from carrying what is no longer a bag but has now become a very heavy “steamer trunk”.
We all know that carrying this bag is not solving the problem of our addicted family member. Holding it up at night doesn’t let us sleep better. Holding it up isn’t helping us live our normal lives. It isn’t helping us at work, or dealing with other family and friends etc. Carrying and dragging this heavy bag isn’t helping us enjoy life, in fact, it makes life more difficult and much more tiring. Carrying the bag doesn’t have any exercise benefits either (we all wish it did!).
So… If carrying the bag isn’t making your life better and it isn’t helping you solve problems, and dragging it around is sucking up all of your available resources and energy. Then… why do we continue to carry the bag and hold on to it so tightly when it is killing us to carry it? Is it because nobody else will carry our bags? They can’t lift the bag? Do we feel we are the only ones who can and will carry the bag? We are responsible for the bag?
What would happen if you just put the bag down for a minute and stopped carrying it. Would the problems go away? Would the issues change? The answer is no.
So… why are we carrying this bag if it solves no purpose except burdening us, breaking our backs and killing us? Because we don’t know what else to do with the bag.
How about simply putting it down…for a minute and letting go. Let your arms relax, let the stress in your neck relax.
Stop thinking about everything in the bag… for a minute. Distract yourself with something fun.
What would change is that you lighten your load. You are better able to deal with life and its issues and better able to deal with the people in your life. You have less worry and fear, more energy, time and the ability to focus on the important things in your life: yourself, your entire family, and the joy of life!
I did that. At first I put the bag down and took a few simple steps away from it, clearing my mind and allowing myself to think. I felt the load lighten for a minute. i was able to look at the bigger picture of life around me! I wasn’t carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders anymore, albeit for a minute. I felt myself straighten up and relax. I then felt free to think. I had made room in my life to act and to take on the necessary tasks I could deal with. The problems, issues, lies and unsolved mysteries in the bag i couldn’t deal with they were piling up..
I then knew I had to take my BAG and send it packing. I had to get rid of it for the benefit of everyone. That useless bag I was carrying around needed to go! So I took a stick of dynamite to the bag. I blew up everything that had piled up in it and the bag disappeared. The lies, the problems and the issues that I couldn’t fix disappeared and I felt free to go on with my life and fix what I could.