Isn’t it frustrating when you love somebody who seems so out of control and you don’t know how to help? Your heart hurts for them. They are hurting your heart, and you just need help.
I remember being that woman and loving a very good man who was so full of potential. He was very good looking, super popular, and could do calculus in ninth grade as well as write poetry.
He was the full package. And he was funny. We met in high school, reconnected later on, fell in love, and had three wonderful children together.
I never experienced addiction, so I did not know what it looked like. It took me about two years to figure it out (which is a long time, I know), but love makes you blind, doesn’t it? I remember going through this feeling incredibly alone. And I kept it a secret because I wanted to protect him.
I struggled for years by myself.
I thought, “If I ever figure out the answers, if I can ever be of service to anyone, I will dedicate the rest of my life teaching other women what worked for me.”
So that’s what this is: the blog, the Wife of an Alcoholic Podcast, the Love Over Addiction program, the Love Over Boundaries program, the Love Over Mistakes program, and all of the collective efforts that we have in store for 2018. We have big plans for this community. I’m so glad you joined us today.
We are going to talk about your recovery. And I’m going to warn you. It’s going to be a little in-your-face. I’m sorry, but I just have this burning desire to be super truthful with you.
And I want you to be told the truth from somebody who loves you and gets it. I didn’t read this in a textbook.
I personally experienced this for 10 years—loving somebody with addiction. So every day, all day long, addiction is my world, and I feel like you can trust me.
Also, when I tell you these loving truths, there’s no judgment because I used to do this. I used to make these same mistakes.
I’m about to say something that you might not want to want to hear. Are you ready?
Here’s the deal: you are addicted too.
You’re addicted too.
And it’s not your fault. Addiction is called a family disease for a reason, and it has conditioned you. You have been tricked and fooled into trying too darn hard to fix someone who isn’t ready for recovery.
Did you hear that?
You’ve been tricked and fooled into trying too hard.
You’re trying too hard to fix somebody. Too much of your effort and too much of your thought, too much of your time, anxiety, and emotions are going towards trying to help somebody who is not ready to be helped.
So, what do you do? Are you hopeless? Do you give up? Well, if you know anything about this community and my belief system, it is absolutely not hopeless.
You are in no way, shape, or form helpless.
It is not fundamentally healthy for you to just sit back and go, “You know what, I’m surrendering everything. I’m going to wait until they decide to get sober to start feeling better.”
We are in charge of our own recovery, and we are not powerless.
So just like the one you love needs to decide that they have hit rock bottom, you need to decide you’ve hit your own rock bottom.
And that day is today. It’s going to be the day you are willing to change your old patterns and start a new beginning. You’re going to rely on your courage, and yes, you have it. It’s deep inside your bones. I promise you.
But courage does not show up when you’re folding laundry.
It does not happen until you draw upon it and you step out in faith and try to do something courageous. And you need courage. You need it to break the dangerous and deadly cycle of addiction.
You might be saying, “Michelle, I’m not the one with the problem. I’m not the one drinking or doing drugs. I am not the one surfing porn at 2 am.
It’s not me who’s leaving my family and not coming back for hours at a time. I’m the one who’s responsible and takes care of everything. I’m the one who’s reliable and honest.” And I get it. You’re thinking your loved one is the one whose life is out of control.
I’m going to spend the first part of our time together today teaching you what you could possibly be addicted to. Are you with me? I promise this will have a happy ending, and this will help you.
You’re addicted to helping them.
I’m almost certain most of you found me because you were looking for help for them. I hear it all the time. You’re researching ways for them to get sober, and I show up on your phone, desktop, or tablet.
Here’s the deal: if you’re currently reading anything about addiction, I want you to put it back on the shelf or close out of the browser. No more researching about addiction. That’s one way you are addicted to helping them.
You’re addicted to the drama.
I know that hurt to hear. I remember when someone told me that, and it stung so bad. But when I gave it some thought, and I took a break and really thought about that, I realized they might have a point.
Addiction has conditioned you to expect drama. You ride the highs of hope when they tell you they will get sober, and then you experience the despair and disappointment when you find out they were lying.
I live in Florida. So it’s like a ride at Disney World called Addiction, and we’re all in line for it. We’re all taking this ride together. And it is going up and down, and if we were to get to a point in the ride where it’s slow and steady, it almost becomes uncomfortable for us.
We don’t know what to do with ourselves. So we get antsy, and we get untrusting. Sometimes in those slow and steady moments, we create the drama because we’ve been conditioned to do so.
You’re addicted to the rejection.
There is a part of you that deep down inside believes you are not worthy of the love that you crave. You’re sitting here asking your loved one to become this person you need.
I’m not trying to get super psychological on you, but if the one you love became everything you’re hoping for, do you think you would be fully ready to accept that kind of love?
Like I said, I can raise my hand to every single one of these. When I left my ex-husband with my three kids, and I started dating Brian who is now my husband, I didn’t realize that I wasn’t ready to accept that kind of love.
Brian, my husband, is the type of man who is reliable, trustworthy, and shows up when he says he’s going to. He always does the right thing. I love that about him. He’s the slow and steady one, and he loves me so much. He does things for me that just blow me away.
I’m a runner in my relationships. When things get difficult, I have always been the one to leave. I beat them to the punch when I think there’s a possibility of rejection. I used to tell myself it was because I needed space to think, but that wasn’t quite true.
It was just a very dysfunctional coping mechanism. And I realized how dysfunctional it was with Brian because there was nothing this man was doing that was causing me to grab my keys and my purse and run out the door.
It was out of fear.
And truthfully, it was a knee-jerk reaction from being so wounded and broken in my first marriage. I still had a lot of work to do to reprogram myself, but I couldn’t do it without getting into another relationship.
I had done as much work as I possibly could on myself as an individual when I was a single mom. But there was still work to do that showed up when I got into another relationship with a man. And I worked through that.
Here’s how it happened. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was feeling insecure and afraid, and I grabbed my keys.
Brian came to me, put his hand on top of my hand where I had grabbed the keys, looked me right in the eye, and said, “No more. If you walk out that door right now, you cannot walk back in. I’m done with this; you cannot leave every time things get tough.”
And you know what? I was so stinking grateful that someone called me out on this whole cycle of leaving because I was afraid of being rejected by him.
So I want to challenge you. Let’s say you leave your current relationship and you’re in another one. And you were loved absolutely, unconditionally the way that I craved and the way you crave.
Would you be ready for that kind of love?
Do you feel worthy of that? Do you feel like you genuinely deserve to be cherished? If the answers are “no,” “I’m not sure,” or “I think that would be very hard for me to accept,” then you need recovery.
These are just some of the ways we are addicted. I cover way more of this in the Love Over Addiction program. So now, if you can identify with anything that I just shared, here’s what I want you to do about it:
You need to start your own recovery. Today. Right now.
Have you ever met or heard about someone who works their sobriety into almost every conversation, or they spend the rest of their lives trying to help other people recover?
They are on fire for their recovery. They are the type of people you respect because they are the ones who are always putting their recovery and self-care first.
That’s who I want you to become about your recovery. You need to be that woman who is on fire and puts her recovery first because you are addicted.
And in order to break the addiction that you have, you need to embrace and prioritize your recovery as much as your addict does.
So how do you do this? You need to join the Love Over Addiction program if you have not already done so.
I have the tools that you need, but it’s up to you to choose to save yourself—to choose your recovery and guard it with your life.
And until you do, you are dying a slow death.
If you’ve joined the program already and you are part of our community, this is your loving kick in the butt, sister. Make your healing a priority. If you are not inside that program every day, if you’re not taking out your workbook, it’s not enough. You almost need to memorize that program.
And you need to hear my voice in your head when the next chaotic situation comes up so you are strong in your recovery, and you know exactly how to handle it.
You think, “Okay, here’s my list of tools.” It’s almost like a Rolodex going through your head, and you know what to say, you know what to do, and you’re strong enough to follow through with it.
And if you make your healing a priority, where you are today will not be where you are 30 days from now. You will be in a completely different place.
You will be in an even better place 60 days from now. And where you’ll be a year from now is a whole other world—a whole other vicinity.
You can’t even imagine the amazing, strong, and courageous woman you will become.
But you have to guard your recovery with your life. It’s that difficult and that simple. So, if you’re interested, check us out at LoveOverAddiction.com.
Also, listen to the Wife of an Alcoholic Podcast. I haven’t mentioned this in a while, but we have another podcast which is amazing. It’s called Love Over Addiction, and it’s me interviewing and coaching women in our community.
Their stories will blow your mind. You will listen to them, and you will say, “That is me.” And that’s proof that we are all in this together.
You are not alone. I am here for you.
We are all here for you. You are doing great. It doesn’t matter if you fail today. Tomorrow is a new day. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off.
Remember that addiction wants to fool you into believing that you are powerless, you are not worthy of love, and there’s nothing you can do.
I’m here to be a louder voice in your head saying, “Honey, you’ve got this. You are not helpless. You’re strong. You’re courageous.” It’s okay if you want to fall apart today. Make space for that.
Then dry your tears off, pick yourself back up, listen to the program, and keep working it. I’ve got your back. This is not going to be helpless forever.
I love you, and I am here for you every step of the way.