When did you become so bad?
When did you become something to fear?
Why did I resent you so?
Where did my moments go?
How did you get so close?
Thank you for one more chance.
Don’t you fail me yet.
Let this be our last regret.
The toughest life lesson for me was understanding addiction, addicts and how it all has nothing to do with me – a non-addict. I think people who live with addicts lack this understanding more times than not, and for many years I was not the exception, and it made the journey more painful.
I remember the hurt and pain with every relapse. I remember wondering how could they keep doing this to ME over and over again. I remember Sugarland releasing the song Keep You, and I thought someone had written my story into a song that was easy to understand. I remember feeling broken without making the mistakes. Now, many years later, I understand addicts a bit differently, and what it all means for me and you.
If you have a loved one impacting your life with drug, alcohol, gambling or other debilitating addictions… you need to understand it has NOTHING to do with you. They won’t stop because of you, the won’t keep doing it because of you, and they can’t get better for you. That is a painful thing to accept but it is the truth. YOU should be a reason to get better, but THEY have to get better for them to be successful. Sometimes they have to lose everything before truly wanting to get better. Other times you are there for the success. You have limited control, but you do have some control.
The only thing you can control is YOU. You have to fill your life with positives for YOU. You need to leave and get away from their misery to stay sane. Even if you only go for a walk – you have to take your breaks. Finally, don’t be an enabler. When you hear about stories of addicts they have one thing in common – ENABLERS. I have been one in the past and that was a tough fact to accept.
A drug addict, alcoholic or other addicts can only run a course of their addiction for so long on their own. There is always someone giving them money so “they can eat” or a roof over their head even though they steal from those providing it. Instead let them starve and be homeless for a while. The illness grows as long as people enable its life. Now, I am not saying you should just walk away from someone with problems, but be smart that you are not enabling their addiction to be stronger than it would be otherwise. Tough love is the only love needed sometimes.
It hurts when you feel like a substance is always chosen over you. You have to accept the relapse or action has nothing to do with you even if it should. Its a painful lesson but learning it will save your sanity and protect your heart. An addict in the throws of addiction cannot protect you, so you have to do it instead.
Duhigg’s book discusses how the brain uses the power of habit so that the brain, and you, do not have to work as hard on trivial things. While some habits are good and useful – there are plenty of habits that are bad and debilitating. When we are not careful the bad habits take control, and your power to overcome them is weak. The habits take over without thought and that is what makes them so powerful.
I listened to this book about two years ago, and I found so many instances it has applied to since then. Most notably – I have found how it applies to people with medical conditions. When you have a difficult condition in which you have had surgery or require long-term care for, the doctor will prescribe medication, but recommendations from him or her do not stop at pill popping. Unfortunately people, who are tired from surgery and/or pain, form bad habits, and fail to follow doctor’s orders beyond popping the pills. What happens as a result? The body continues to get weaker because your brain created the habit of not having to work hard. No pain, No gain – right?
- What is the point of getting a knee replaced if you are not willing to work, and keep moving, to make the new knee useful?
- What is the point of eye surgery if all you use your better vision for is watching the television?
- What is the purpose of overcoming a bad accident just to do nothing with the extended life you were awarded?
- What is the purpose of an organ transplant and if you sit around and stop living?
- What is the purpose of the taking anti-depressant medication and then still living a depressing life?
Medicine has given people the ability to live longer and healthier, but our habits are making these advances in medicine worthless. Take the time to follow all orders, and take the time to do your own research so that you are in control of your health. Recognize bad habits and work to make good habits stronger. Our lives depend on our decisions, and your loved ones depend on you helping yourself too.
Read and listen to this book. Find out how it applies to you and those around you, and use it to become a part of the solution. More importantly – start living a better and healthier life!