When families first come to us, their focus is entirely on their loved one struggling with addiction. All they are concerned with is how to get their loved one better.
That’s our priority too, which is why it often catches families off guard when one of the first things we ask them to do is turn their focus on themselves instead.
It’s a key component of our framework, which you can watch me walk through in the Guides section of our online Facebook community, Friends of Tipping Point.
It raises comments like…
“This isn’t about me.”
“She’s the one with the problem.”
“They need help first.”
Or this comment from one of our Stop the Chaos trainings, which pretty well sums it up:
“I just don’t get how me being healthy and not enabling him will help him want to recover.”
You can see what Mike Wilson and I said in response by watching the training video here for free inside the online community, but I want to touch on it here as well, because it’s so important for anyone who loves someone with addiction to understand.
How will you getting healthy help your loved one recover?
The truth is it might not. There are no guarantees when it comes to recovery, just like anything else in life.
What it will do is give your loved one the absolute best chance at recovery, and here’s why:
When you’re caught in the chaos with your loved one, stuck in that loop of confusion, anger, and fear, you’re not in a place to offer effective support. You’re scrambling. You’re in fight or flight, desperate and chaotic, just like they are, which means you aren’t thinking clearly or able to give good advice or make recovery-oriented decisions. You have no life jacket to throw them because you’re drowning right alongside them.
But when you start to take care of yourself, to stop obsessing over the things you don’t have control over, and to walk your own path of recovery—you become a powerful resource for recovery.
Now if your loved one reaches out to you for help, you have knowledge, tools & resources to offer. You have the bandwidth to hold on to a treatment plan that would be beneficial rather than frantically trying anything you can find in the moment.
And maybe most important of all, your well-being matters.
You deserve to be healthy and feel good. You deserve to have moments of peace and to take deep, full breaths every day.
I can tell you right now, and I know for a fact the thousands of other addicts I’ve spoken with will all agree with me, none of us want to torture our loved ones. None of us want for our addiction to cause them pain or make them sick.
When we’re active in our addiction, we can’t take care of our mom or our brother or our partner. But you can give that care to yourself. Your loved one would want you to.
How to get started
We walk through specific ways you can get started caring for yourself again in our Stop the Chaos training, beginning with how to detox from chaos in Video One. If you haven’t taken the training yet, I urge you to give it a try. See what lands for you and start exploring what feels good. Or comment below the ways you are prioritizing your own health.
Because sick can’t heal sick, but recovery is contagious too.