A Simple Tool To Help When You Love Someone With Addiction

A Simple Tool To Help When You Love Someone With Addiction

When I was married to a good man suffering from addiction, I was always looking for tools I could use in every situation. I wanted to manage my tough situation the very best I could. As I worked through my own healing and recovery, I found simple tools that I could use in any and every situation.

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And I still use them to this day. Here’s the deal: Y’all… I am completely overwhelmed.

It’s back to school time – backpacks, school supplies, teacher conferences, ALL of the details kill me. Plus, I moved into a 99-year-old home that hasn’t been updated in well…. 99 years. And our big family uses a house hard. So naturally, the house went into shock one week after we moved in and the plumbing burst, the electricity gave out and oh yeah, we had an ant problem. 

Have you seen the movie The Money Pit? As I was scraping wallpaper off the water-stained walls – I rented it hoping to find someone (even if they are fictional characters) who also feels like they might have made a huge investment mistake because they feel in love with a house. And I do love the home, but renovations + back to school + work = nothing good. 

So… I came up with a plan. It’s a simple tool that I used to use a lot when my ex-husband would go on benders, start the cycle of abuse, or others cause chaos in our home.

And I wanted to share it with you because I know how loving and living with someone suffering from addiction can feel overwhelming, painful, and incredibly traumatic.

And we’re going to start doing this new plan, this one simple tool, together.

It’s called The Just 3 Things Plan

(See, I told you I was tired… when I have more energy I’ll think of a new more creative name).

And here’s our plan. Every day – seven days a week, we are going to do just three things. And they are going to be the same three things.

Consistency is the key here, as with any new habit. This simple tool deserves consistency too. So let me give you an example.  My three things are the following: 

1.  Pick up the house for one hour. This may seem like a lot, but this includes, starting laundry, putting dishes away from the dishwasher I ran the night before, taking the dog on a walk, cooking breakfast for the kids, picking up and making my bed, walking around the house into every room and putting things back in their places. And just this morning I noticed some goggles left by our pool, so I will include picking up outside in that one hour. 

2. Write for one hour. I love to write. I do it for a career and giving myself one hour to write whatever I want feeds my soul. So I light a candle, play some classical music, and open a fresh google doc. 

3. Move my body for one hour. This can mean the elliptical, yoga class or pilates, or maybe a super long walk with the dog. Whatever works – just move my body consistently for one hour per day. 

That’s it. That is my goal for the next school year. Just three things a day.

That’s my one simple tool to carry me through the school year.

They don’t have to be done at the same time (although that would be helpful) and they don’t have to be done perfectly. For all you perfectionists out there like me, giving yourself permission to do tasks 8/10 instead of 10/10 can feel really freeing. I can’t tell you how many things I have blown off because I thought, “well, I can’t do it perfectly, so I’ll just wait until I can.” That awful little habit has delayed me in many areas of my life, and I’m 42 now, so it’s time to ditch that thinking.

The Just 3 Things Plan allows me to feel in control, take care of my mind and my body, and make myself a priority. Plus, they will enable me to free up all the other space in my calendar for only the responsibilities that I can fit in. If I want to do a video, I can. Or if I can fit in a meeting, I will. If I want to volunteer at my child’s school, I can sign up. Three things feel simple and doable.

During this uncertain time in my life routine, three small goals are my consistents. And don’t we all need consistency in our life?

Now it’s your turn to implement this simple tool.

What three things are you going to commit to doing? I know we all have a lot on our plates, but what can we remove? What are you doing that’s unnecessary? Or doesn’t bear any fruit?  Give yourself permission to stop and just focus on three things during this time in your life. 

Oh, and one more thing… did you notice, all my three things are exactly an hour. I set my timer on my phone, and when it rings, I stop immediately and move on. Have you ever set your timer for an hour?  It’s amazing what you can get accomplished when you stay focused for 60 min. 

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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