In Loved Ones of Alcoholics, Relationships

Courage to Change (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon II) is one of my very favorites pieces of Al-Anon literature provided by the Al-Anon Family Groups. It is a wonderful daily reader that provides insightful and educational ideas that I believe can be useful for anyone, not just those affected by a loved one’s alcoholism. A few days ago, I read a page that I found so powerful that I decided I had to share it:

     “In Al-Anon we talk a lot about the need to let others experience the consequences of their actions. We know that most alcoholics have to hit “bottom” and become uncomfortable with their own behavior before they can effectively do something about it. Those of us who love alcoholics often have to learn to get out of the way of this bottom. We learn to detach with love.

      Another reason for detachment with love may be equally important in building healthy, loving, respectful relationships. Many of us have interfered not only with a loved one’s problems but also with their achievements. I may have the best of intentions, but if I take over other people’s responsibilities, I may rob them of the chance to accomplish something and to feel good about what they’ve done. Although I am trying to help, my actions may be communicating a lack of respect for my loved one’s abilities. When I detach with love, I offer support by freeing those I care about to experience both their own satisfactions and disappointments”.

Often times, detachment is the best way to communicate love and respect for someone. By detaching, you are treating them with dignity and acknowledging that they are their own person who has the right to make their own choices.