Why was “live and let live” such a hard concept to wrap my mind around? By educating myself, I can now see that when I am dealing with the disease of alcoholism, I feel an urgency to fix everything that goes wrong in my addicted love ones life, and to help him with his daily struggles. I realize that when I try to control and manage the alcoholics life, it is based on my own fears and a lack of respect for him. I appear to be saying that I think the addict is clearly not capable of doing things for himself and he will be harmed.
What I am really doing is enabling as I am trying to make myself feel better. I want to fix things to relieve my fear and anxiety, while lifting some of the guilt, shame and responsibility I feel for the alcoholic. This is my illness and it can be overwhelming. I ache so badly for him. I want him to get better and to live a healthy, prosperous life. All the while, I may be slowly killing him with kindness! I am not helping. In fact, I may be standing in the way of his recovery.
The alcoholic can find his own way and learn to function and take responsibility for himself. He must be allowed to deal with his own mistakes and be accountable for his actions as we all are. I learned that enabling is teaching the alcoholic dependency instead of responsibility. I was enabling him to stay sick in order to feel better myself.
Thought for today: I can help my alcoholic loved one best by allowing him the freedom to live his own life and make his own choices. In turn, I must remind myself daily to live and let live!
“ We might be tempted to help release the butterfly from her cocoon. It is human nature to want to assist, but if we do, she will fall to the ground and die; the struggle to free herself strengthens her wings enough to survive and fly.” – Eunice Brown, The Compassionate friends magazine.