Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Myself I Can Change. Others I Can Only Love"

When the Naranon reading On Helping (Little Blue Naranon Book, p. 13) says that we can change only ourselves, it is not saying anything new. Those who are related to addicts and alcoholics know intimately that they cannot change others, because nothing they do to make others change, works. Instead, they are left with anger, fear, sadness, and helplessness...

But then, the quote goes on to say, "Others I can only love..."

For many of us, loving others is what we thought we were doing all along. After all, isn't it loving to sit and watch the addict endlessly, to flush pills down the toilet, pour bottles of alcohol down the sink, beg them to get help, and cry until there's nothing left inside of us to cry with?

According to this quote, "myself I can change, others I can only love..." the answer to this question of whether these desparate behaviors are loving is a resounding NO.

Such behaviors are in fact, the antithesis of being loving. They are in fact, harmful, as they take the addict's attention off of him or herself, and put that attention on what they would call 'your insane, intrusive' behavior.

When the person we are talking about is an adult (and this post is about relating to adults), our only obligation to them is to be a loving person. So, what is loving behavior when it comes to living, loving, and/or working with any person who is addicted to a substance or behavior that is harming them?

Here are a few ideas about what it means to be loving to a person we love we feel is living their life in a way that concerns us.
  • Being loving to another person, means accepting them as they are, not because we agree with what they are doing or how they are living, but because we value them as human beings.
  • Being loving to another person, means we respect their right to live life as they see fit.
  • Being loving to another person, means we focus on living full lives ourselves so that we don't have time to waste closely observing the way they live their lives.
  • Being loving to another person, means taking care of ourselves very well in all aspects of our lives so that we can act from a sense of fulfillment and inner happiness , rather than from a sense of neediness and discontent. (LIVE and let live)
  • Being loving to another person means noticing their strengths, their successes and the ways in which they are growing and changing and trying to be better people, rather than always looking at what they need to change in themselves.
  • Being loving to another person means NOT doing for them what they can do for themselves.
  • Being loving to another person means thinking before we speak, rather than speaking first and then regretting having said mean or spiteful things out of upset or fear.

Visit this blog again over the next few days and fill out the survey I'll have posted. It'll let you see how you are doing in the category of being a loving person in a healthy way. At the end of the survey, fill in your name and contact information and I'll send you a free information report called "LIVE and LET LIVE! A Guide for Family Members of Addicts."

Do you love or work with an addict or alcoholic? Check out my E-book "How Can I Get Them Sober?" at

1 comment:

Kat Magnoli said...

this is so awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! definitely something I NEEDED to read at this exact moment!