This you must understand: until we have a profound and total psychic change whereby our minds, attitudes and characters have been fundamentally altered, trust me, we WILL continue to hurt you, use you, disappoint you.
There is an old Native American proverb, “what you resist will persist“, and boy how true it is.
Fighting against what is will often just prolong it. Consider this as you exert your will and try to make war with someone’s addiction. Resistance is often fuel for its object, so when we let go, the problem may actually dissolve much faster than by continuing to interfere. It may seem counter-intuitive, especially with something as deadly as addiction, but we must apply the same universal wisdom that holds true in other aspects of life. Besides, the truth is that nothing outside of the addict can fix him or her anyway.
Take it from nature. Nature gets it. It doesn’t whine and complain and moan about anything. It doesn’t resist the forces acting upon it or around it. It just let whatever comes, come and whatever goes, go. This is one of the secrets to life. So if you have a spouse or a child who will not get better, listen up.
First of all, it has nothing to do with you. All of us, addicts or not, fail to love when we fail to properly tend to ourselves. Truly, it is all a projection. Nothing outside of the addict is responsible for how he or she feels, for their attitude towards others, for their life and their circumstances. We have nothing to blame but ourselves. Let go and forgive yourself, because nothing about you, nothing you do, and nothing you could do differently makes an addict use, will make an addict better, or will prevent an addict from getting better.
Now that you understand it has nothing to do with you and that nothing you do can change us, if your spouse fails to recover, you should really have enough self-respect to let them go, i.e. to leave them. Do not dishonor yourself as if you are not worth it or something, because that is nonsense. And if it is your child, you should disengage with them. Fine, tell them you love them and they are breaking your heart, but beyond that, why exert your will? It will do absolutely nothing to change the addict or alter his or her current course.
Addicts and alcoholics will only change if they wake up one day and suddenly decide they want to change. We are purely selfish beings, and even when and if we decide to change, it is for purely selfish reasons. Fact. It isn’t to stop hurting you or other people, at least not right off the bat. It is only because we now want to change. It is still all about us. Sure once we begin to get better and our moral compass begins to recover, then we start to figure out that it’s not about us. But trust me, addicts only change when THEY want to.
Perhaps we change because we are sick of the way we are. Perhaps we change simply because we are utterly broke and can’t get high one day. Perhaps we change because our depression and our spiritual destitution is so great that not even the drugs and alcohol can bust through anymore. Perhaps we change because the pros of being a total coward and using like a pig no longer outweigh the cons. Whatever the case, the decision is based on nothing outside of us. We do not stop because of you, for you, or for any other external or other-centered thing. It is not because of our parents, siblings or friends. We do not even stop for our kids and what we are doing to them, which is disgusting.
I know I’ve suggested ultimatums, and while it is the best bullet you may have in your clip, it’s still just a shot in the dark. Addicts and alcoholics will only change when they decide to have a spiritual experience, or when they just randomly have one, which is rare.
So as usual, initially deciding to change, like any other addict decision, is really just an extension of our selfishness. If we then continue to get better year after year, once we have come flying off of our pink clouds and landed back on earth where normal, mundane life occurs and where suffering is just a part of human life, at that point we stay better because we are choosing to do right by not just ourselves, but by others too.
Contrary to popular belief, addicts don’t deserve what they have. We are are not victims of a blameless disease where treatment and all sorts of comfort meds should be subsidized by the already sodomized taxpayer. After ten years, much of the work I do now in recovery is with my family in mind. Sure it benefits me, but much of it is for them, simply because it is the right thing to do. I don’t get a buzz anymore from doing this stuff. I do it because it is my responsibility to be a good father, husband, son, brother, friend, and example for other shithead junkies.
That last part, well, I don’t know. I’m not the best example by any stretch, so even if I know what I’m talking about on paper, you’re probably better off getting help from someone else 😉 As you may know, according to some local parent who is clearly a bit touched, I have my sick ego and my desire to abuse and hurt others to deal with. Lol.
The bottom line is that nothing you do will change your addict. They will either change or they won’t, but fighting with them just inflicts even more pain on yourself and just adds to the spiritual damage within. Making war with your loved one’s addiction means that now you have joined in. Now both of you are guilty of abusing you. So take it from nature and try to stop resisting what is, especially if by doing so, what you are resisting only persists.