Part 9 Staying Out of the Addicts Recovery
We have all experienced the 35th floor elation which I referred to in an earlier article. This is generated by our belief system that does not recognize how long recovery takes for us and the addict. So when the addict gets cleaned up by rehab for a few weeks or months,we don’t know what to do to show how happy we are. Therefore we fall back into our old behaviors of trying to reward the addict for accomplishing something we see as monumental(the 35th floor) but which is in reality only the VERY BEGINNING of a long process(the first floor). I know I sound facetious but this is what plays out in our heads. That is because we too are in early recovery and don’t understand that for us too this is just a BEGINNING. Recovery is a long arduous process for us and the addict. We start to forget the addict’s recent punishing behaviors which lie buried only skin deep. And we start to romanticize that they are now ok. So everything we didn’t finish doing for them before they went into rehab can now be resumed. WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!
I have often seriously said that the enablers live in a fantasy world. They have heads cluttered with nonsense. I was the same way. I did not understand that one rehab is just a nibble at recovery. It is only the very beginning- maybe. And was I wrong and soooooo disappointed, not just about my addict but at myself for not understanding the any part of the truth about addiction. I must confess it took me about 10 years to really understand how bad things were going to be and what I had to do ultimately. I was an excellent denier of reality. Sadly we all want to believe wonderful things about all of our children. But the truth lies elsewhere when dealing with an addict. The only wonderful thing is honest –to- goodness recovery,which lies a lot further down the road then we want to believe.
Engaging with the addict when no one is ready,ie ,neither side is really in recovery, only leads to more problems. We cannot control or manage the addict’s recovery –not one bit or one moment. We can manage our own recovery 100 %,however, and that is where we need to focus our energy. Bringing the addict home to wonderful dinner and showering him or her with our love(or is it really control) and gifts, only tells the addict that they do not have to do one more thing for their own recovery. They see that we are going to do all the heavy lifting for them. Just like we always thought we were doing before rehab. The truth is we thought we were helping,but we were destroying the addict and ourselves, for good measure. That is the sum and substance of what our actions accompllish when we don’t understand the nature and longevity of addiction. And we do not understand that only the addict can fix his/her disease.
What is the moral? Before you engage your addict ask yourself”Am I in recovery far enough to understand that my old relationship with the addict almost destroyed both of us”? And “am I ready for a totally new and different relationship with my addict”? If the answer is truly ”yes” and you understand how important honesty is,then by all means engage! But if the answer is “no” or” I am unsure”, politely tell your addict the answer is no engagement and no meetings. The addict will fully understand if he/she is in recovery and if not,you would have had a miserable time anyway.