A Small Reminder Of Calm Amidst The Chaos Of Loving Someone Suffering From Addiction

A Small Reminder Of Calm Amidst The Chaos Of Loving Someone Suffering From Addiction

Cleaning, organizing, and decluttering are three words that helped me while loving someone suffering from addiction. Around midnight, when he promised to come home after work, but the front door had not opened, I peeked into my children’s rooms to see them sleeping peacefully.

I took a few more steps down the hallway to the linen closet, and instead of worrying about where he was for the last four hours, I decided to do something that I had been putting off for months.

Organizing my linen closet.

I had purchased a new mattress and the old sheets no longer fit. So, slowly opening the creaky door, I let out a big sigh and admired my hard work. Order. Everything in its correct place. It was organized to perfection.

When life felt so out of control I knew I could always open my linen closet and see pretty baskets and bins carefully labeled, crisp white towels folded and stacked, and sheets organized according to mattress size.

Martha Stewart would be very proud.

This little closet was bringing me joy.

It was a small cozy space that was thoughtful and intentional. I had spent my energy organizing this small space.

My linen closet represented what I was capable of. The final result of my project meant that I could successfully remove every item, judge whether I needed it, and only keep what I wanted. And get rid of anything that no longer belonged in my life.

It was a small victory. Yes, it was. But I knew that this exercise had greater meaning.

If I could do this for a linen closet, where else could I use this simple system in my life?

Where else was I storing or holding onto unnecessary items? Or even more convicting, who else was I holding onto, but really needed to remove from my life?

What else, and who else did I need to let go of? When I was done with this project I was left with two full garbage bags of linens to donate.

And even though I was tired, I knew if I walked away and left the bags in the hallway, or shoved them in a closet they would linger for months.

The project would go incomplete. I wouldn’t get the full credit I deserved.

I needed to finish the work. Complete the steps. Follow through.

I hurled them down the stairs, opened the front door, and loaded them into the trunk of my car. The next morning after dropping off the kids to school I headed to Goodwill.

When I handed my donation of sheets to the attendant sitting outside the building waiting to receive them, I wasn’t aware of what happened to my items after I dropped them off. I don’t know what this man will do with them.

Will he wash them before putting them on display? Will they be transported to another store? I’m not sure.

And here’s the truth.

When we give something away, it’s no longer ours.

When we let go of something or someone we are no longer tracking them.

I’m not driving back everyday to Goodwill to see what they have done with my bedding, because it’s no longer mine. I gave it away. This is what it feels like to truly let go.

We surrender the need to find out what happens next. Our story with that possession has ended. Our emotional attachment might linger for a while, but if we have truly given it away the sting will fade soon after.

I’m not interested in where my bedding went. I trust that it found a good place.

Maybe it will be used for a ghost costume for Halloween. Maybe it will be placed on the mattress of a newlywed couple. But maybe not. Maybe it ended up in a landfill.

And if so, that’s not my responsibility. I did the responsible thing. I used it for years, I cared for it by washing it, and folding it, and keeping it clean, but our time together has ended. And it no longer fit my life. It couldn’t work. No matter how, it couldn’t work. No matter how hard I tried to make it fit.

My needs changed.

And so, I donated it. I didn’t throw it out my car window; it’s not laying on some highway on the side of the road. But if it ends up in the wrong hands or if no one else chooses to purchase it, well, that’s no longer my responsibility. I gave it away.

And the same goes for you when you surrender your loved one. You’ve done your best with them, you’ve loved them, you’ve cared, you’ve tried to make it work, and you’ve done everything you can to make it fit. But your needs have changed.

Lovingly giving them back to God and surrendering the idea that you are in control of their final destination is one of the most thoughtful things you can do.

Where they end up on the spectrum of sobriety is no longer your job to track. Holding onto them just in case, is cluttering your life.

Since my donation I have replaced that old sheet with a crisp, white, organic cotton sheet that feels so soft and cozy. And it fits perfectly. But, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy my new closet and all my hard work if I wasn’t able to let go.

So, now it’s my turn to ask you some questions.

What are you storing, or holding onto? Who are you holding onto, but really need to remove from your life? What else, and who else do you need to let go of? You can be honest. It’s just you and me. And I don’t do judgment. I hope you take a few moments to answer. And I hope that you enjoyed this. I’ll talk to you next week.

Michelle Anderson

Michelle Anderson

Michelle Anderson has over 10 years of personal experience with loving someone who suffers from addiction. She was married to a good man who suffered from addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, and pornography. She's used her experience to create powerful resources for women in the same circumstance. Using her own personal experience, combined with years of research and studying, she presents ideas, tips, and tools on how to handle this disease, and take care of yourself, and your family.

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