Compartmentalizing

I woke up one morning after a relapse, nothing catastrophic and life altering, just enough to awake all the inner fears. I hoped it was just a small bump, that he isn’t falling backwards. I watched him sleep. I hate that he’s asleep in this moment. I had questions, I needed to hear his voice. My instincts screamed don’t go to work. Lay beside him and let him know he’s okay, that it will be okay. Stay by his side so that he can’t make a bad decision today, it was one night, we are not allowing anymore of these.

Now  I always follow my instincts but in this situation, I learned that I can’t.  When I first started googling online in all of this I  would get so bitter at all the quotes and sayings that refer to the addict’s ability to destroy me and that I should just leave. He’s not just an addict. He is sweet and kind. He’s a loving son, brother and friend. He is the man that I love. So, what do I do? I keep loving him. I am aware that fighting his battle for him won’t help him and could potentially destroy my successful career; I kissed him goodbye. I left him a note reminding him how much he is loved, not to be too hard on himself today and that this journey isn’t perfect and walked out the door to work. It’s not easy and I almost turned around at the first intersection and every one after that. But it is what’s right. I walked in the doors of work, I took a deep breath and focused on my challenges for the day. It doesn’t mean I didn’t think about him all day, send an extra text or two, that he doesn’t cross my mind constantly. It just means that I am going to be the best version of me and my life to be strong for both of us. I am in control of whether “I am saving him, while he’s killing me.” I choose to stay in this relationship and fight through the hard days but I also choose to not be any more of a victim of his disease than I must be. I am constantly working through my thoughts and our journey to determine the things that I can control; my career is one of those.

Compartmentalizing is not a skill that all possess. I do believe, however, it is a survival tool in the world of loving someone with or recovering from an addiction. At times this action feels heartless. How can I act as though all of this isn’t happening and go on with a normal workday or attend a family outing? The how isn’t as easy to answer, that’s a personal approach we must look inward and figure this process out on our own. The why on the other hand is an answer I feel strongly about. In order for any relationship with the potential for co-dependency to work you must be aware of that risk and work diligently to not let it creep in. You must be able to keep your strengths and successes. You may not be able to celebrate them with the same gusto through this struggle but you must do everything you can to keep any normalcy you can. It is important for your own health and well-being and overall for your loved one.

As you seek advice anywhere online remember that each of us are individuals. Our own journey, experiences and choices. I would never convince anyone to stay in a relationship with an addict or recovering addict if it felt wrong to them, I just want to be sure that no one in a tough moment is persuaded to leave because that’s what everything out there seems to encourage. Stay strong, make an extra effort to be self-aware, and talk to someone. There are great groups, therapists and online resources. The act of talking about it allows us to hear our own voice, assess how we are truly feeling and take each day in this fight the way that works for us.

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”
-Steve Maraboli

 

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5 thoughts on “Compartmentalizing

  1. I know this is a new blog but please keep posting. This latest one hit me hard. I am the wife of an active addict (not yet in recovery) and I have been throwing everything I can into him to make sure he doesn’t hit rock bottom. I know everything online says that’s what needs to happen but this is the man I love. It hurts me so much to think I need to allow him to hurt himself more in order for him to get better. But since I am giving him my everything my performance at work has taken a nose dive. I can’t focus on what needs to get done there because I am worrying about him the whole time. I work in a very stressful position so having the strain from that plus the bigger strain of worrying about my husband is breaking me. Knowing that others are able to separate these two lives gives me just a little bit of hope. I have now come to terms that this is not something i can go through alone and will be attending my first nar-anon meeting this week. I hope to find support there and look forward to more posts from you as well. Thank you again for sharing.

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    1. Awareness is the first step for you. It isn’t easy to keep your own life on track during the bad days. Watching someone you love fall is so hard but if you let yourself fall too you’re no good to either of you in this battle. Thank you for the encouraging words it’s all new to me but I feel my voice has a different tone but is shared by others.

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  2. I really loved this and this hit me very hard. As a recovering addict myself, I know that I put my loved ones through hell, but reading this puts things in perspective….which is a reminder I need sometimes an addict. I think you are very strong. God bless you.

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  3. I am in love with an addict. Reading these commentaries helps to know that others understand what I’m going thru and feeling. My man has chosen treatment out of province. I understand the need to go where he received such good help before and away from “friends”. I am so proud of him to recognize that he needed more help than I could ever possibly give him. I have been doing a lot of praying and reading to find ways to support him. I do find myself extremely emotional and overwhelmed. I will find a nar-anon meeting to help understand how to do this. I love him and I am all-in for life with him.

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    1. Good luck on this journey. I’d be lying if I said it was always easy, some days you’ll need more strength than you even know you possess, but he’s making the right steps and seeing this person you love healthy will be worth all the time sacrificed in the end. I pray that you two get to look back and see this a challenge you two were both able to face together. I’m not sure how I missed this comment earlier but please know you are not alone. There are a lot of people finding their way as someone who loves a person fighting addiction. Feel free to reach out anytime!

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