Chapter 7: Peace and Serentiy—Control only that which you have control over


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Detachment is NOT isolation and loneliness of solitary living, rejection of the ones we love, aloof, self-contained and self-satisfied

Detachment is a way to let go of the tiger’s tail without being chewed up.


Stage 1: Building a Self

   Ruts: Decisions based on actions and wants of how many others?

             reaction, withdrawal, getting even when you can’t please them all, all of the     time?

             None of them know what you’re going to do next because like a bee you buzz -   

             erratically -- from one to the other, trying to please them?


There is Nothing you can do

- - to please everyone

- - to be perfect enough

- - to make everything all right

- - no matter how strong you are.


You can make one person stronger, more serene, more peaceful - - YOURSELF! At least there will be one.

1. Make plans to meet your needs. Enjoy yourself. Leave your troubles for a while.

2. Take a night course. Learn something. Do it whether or not home is wonderful tonight.

3. Every time the someone is not doing what you think they should be doing, give yourself a gift of that time. Jog, read, go fishing, go to a movie, visit a friend.

4. Be grateful for the gift of free time. Tough? Would you really rather worry and blow up when they don’t do what you want or expect them to do? Gratitude is relaxing. Relax, people are 

5. Someone else at home too and not practicing? Make some special, healthy fun and share it. No problems, no philosophy, no planning on how to avoid trouble. make it beautiful, take a walk, share an ice cream, laugh. Make an island of beauty and peace.

6. Ready to split? Plan positively for it. Forget it. make up your mind. You can change it later if you wish. Indecision is a spiked fence: You can sit on it, but it won’t tickle and you won’t get used to it.

Make plans and carry them out. Make sure these plans don’t punish anyone. Plan for yourself - - either alone or with another person - - then carry out the plan, no matter how anyone else behaves.

Stage 2: Look Things Over

Get something to write in - - a notebook, a journal. This is yours alone, so make a place to keep it when you’re not writing in it. observe. Step back and watch what happens around you. Leave out all opinions, excuses, charges, or thoughts. no comments about anyone’s behavior, including your own.  (Yes, that goes in too).

For thirty full days record what happens, and leave it. don’t go back and re-read what happened before. If the days don’t hang together, or make sense, or flow, so what? Maybe that’s the way it is.

Observe yourself and others with no attempt to praise, blame or control anyone else.

This is a month for new things:

Find a new friend

Try a brand new project

Change your routine.

Try a new way of coping. If it doesn’t work, go back to the old way. 

Enjoy something new every day.

This month, every day is an only day.

Acknowledge your talents

List your strengths and talents

List your weaknesses - - make the lists the same length

Every time you belittle yourself, write out the list of strengths and talents.


Listen --really listen. Give your attention fully and that’s all. No opinions, no defenses, no advice. This month you don’t have to give a piece of yourself to everyone or anyone.


Before, you were drowning in self-will and rigidity. Before, you were living for others and depleting yourself. Before, you were trying as hard as you could to keep peace, to pay the bills, to prevent problems, to handle problems, and feeling like a zombie.


Who are you?

What are you all about?

What is right for you?

How can you live with yourself?

How are you becoming your own person? Open your mind. Think for yourself.

Go to groups and meetings where others are also learning to live with and think for themselves.

Stage 3:

When you give pieces of yourself away to others, others are responsible for those pieces. That is what selfishness is about -- doing what you are able to do, trying as hard as you can, and then expecting others to respond in pure gratitude. Stop drinking, get better grades, keep their rooms clean, pay the bills on time, work - - all that? That’s a real power play. 

Detachment is self-preservation. It is becoming responsible for your own actions and obligations. It is not a gift. It is a learning (Living) skill that becomes an art.

How is it learned? By trying and failing and trying again.

Unjust anger? Refuse to accept it. It’s not about you anyway. 

Unjustified anger need not be validated by an angry reply. Smile inside and think,

“This is not about the real me. I do not deserve this, so I will not respond angrily.”


Silent treatment? It is meant to upset you - - to make you yell or scream or be abusive or cry or react. Take a deep breath. Go to another room. Repeat in your mind, “I appreciate me. “ Take care of yourself. Think positive thoughts and plan positive things for yourself to show your appreciation.

Violence? Leave. Take all who are in danger. Violence quickly becomes life-threatening. Don’t try to understand it or get used to it. It is easy to wait too long. Living people can charge and rebuild. So what if the house burns down? You can start over only if you are alive. Leave. Go to safety. Who is going to call the fire department if you are unconscious - - or dead - - or trying to save the life o one of the children - - or the dog - - or the cat-- or the parakeet? You can always go back later.

Tears, suicide threats? Your sympathy or forgiveness will not reverse the process of a sore throat. It won’t work with the disease of alcoholism either. Say over and over “detach, detach, detach.” You will survive and be stronger.


Getting help is the responsibility of the person who needs it. If you need help, get it. People who ask others to be saviors or external givers or forgivers, need help. Those in your life cannot get it from you, even if you are a psychiatrist or psychologist or a doctor, or an alcoholism treatment professional. They need real help, not home remedies. Do you set broken bones in your relationships?

Stage 4: The Courage to Change The things I can

Now, re-read the whole journal you wrote in Stage 2. Do the problems seem tied to alcohol use? sure there are people problems. Did concentrating on the people help?

If a cold is treated, people generally get better in a week. If a cold is untreated, it may take as long as seven days.  That’s because the cause of a cold is unknown, so only the symptoms can be treated. The cold will usually run it’s course and the cold-sufferer just tries to be as comfortable as possible.

It doesn’t work that way with alcoholism. Untreated, it gets worse. If symptoms are treated, it gets worse. If others try harder or throw fits or lose sleep, it just gets worse. The problem is alcohol.

Now is the time for a special project called an Intervention. This is a learned skill- a team effort - a process. No one is making you suffer. you are suffering because a change is necessary and it has not been made.

Intervention requires training. Get help from people who know how to do it. The time for home remedies is past. A good, trained intervention is a loving act. It can fail if you try to control the outcome - if you demand that certain things happen. It is a process that may have to be done more than once. This is the official end of your role as a victim - a martyr - a suffering saint. That you can change. It takes courage and a lot of love in action. Sentiment is feeling love. Intervention in a terminal disease is doing love.

Stage 5: Own Your own feelings

Sympathy and empathy are two different things. Sympathy is feeling for someone - living their feelings - waiting until they come through the door so you’ll know what to feel. Sympathy is having other people’s feelings for them - like having someone else’s baby. Sympathy is asking “Why do you feel that way?” A “why” question is an invitation to lie or justify.

Empathy is feeling your own feelings while someone else feels theirs. This is detachment - remember? You’re right. They’re not easy to separate.

A myth is wrong information passed on by someone who really believes it. A myth is not a lie. It is simply mistaken information. Like this:

If you love me, you think just like I do

People who love each other always agree

Others can tell me what I’m really like

Each of us can tell what the other is thinking

I Know what is going to happen next

Find out whose fault it is.

It is important to know why.

A good parent is consistent, patient and giving

A good wife, husband, daughter, son, mother should.......

Those are just a few.

There are a lot of myths in an alcoholic family. many of them revolve around what people should, out to, are suppose to do re be like. Write down in a journal all the “should” messages you get for thirty days. Coming right after the Intervention, there may be a quite space. Then the “shoulds” messages you get for thirty days. Coming right after the Intervention, there may be a quiet space. Then the “shoulds” return in full strength. Observe them and record them. Record your real feelings about them. nobody else gets to read this - remember? Don’t re-read until the end of the thirty days.

How many time did you “should” on yourself?

Are you Hysterical Henry to one - -

Stoic Sarah to another - -

Silly Sean to someone else - -

Flaky Fran to yet another?

None of the roles and myths and “shoulds” can work without your cooperation. A pastor, accused of always being so understanding replied, “I’m not like that and I don’t want others to expect that of me.” You can say that, too. Or simply detach from - stop reacting to - the messages that you are hysterical, silly, stoic, flaky, dumb, strong, weak, calm, or anything else. Get out of the roles. You are allowed to make mistakes, just like everyone else does. 

This is try it, change it, experiment with it time. If you fell into an old role, it’s all right. Just step out of it again.

Stage 6: Launching

Detachment is a new way of living. It applies to everyone - not just alcoholics. In this stage you concentrate on the process of letting go of others in your life.

You’ve passed the time when the rocks in your head match the holes in theirs. The Higher power is not on vacation. The sun will both rise and set without your supervision. The judges are at their benches. The fix-it people are fixing things. Let go!

An infant raised in a sterile environment has a hard time developing an immunity to anything. An immunity is when a body learns to conquer germs by itself.

A person, protected from the consequences of behavior, has a hard time learning to conquer self, life or anything else.

Listen, do others explain themselves to you? Are they concerned about what you will say - how you will feel - what you might do? Remember what that was like for you? Let go. Detach.

Do it over and over again. And then again. When you make a mistake, let go again. forgive them when they do, and forgive yourself when you do.

Stage 7: Support

If the format is practiced faithfully for 200 years, you will be close to finished with it. Until that time comes, you need support. support comes in groups - in systems - of people who are working on their own individual plan. for detachment and recovery. 

~Author unknown (I wish I knew the author because this is really good)


What is Detachment?

"Being detached does not mean that we cannot enjoy anything or enjoy being with anyone. Rather, it refers to the fact that clinging very strongly to anything or anyone causes us problems. We become dependent on that object or person becoming enmeshed and co-dependent. 

Detachment is the determination to be free. Just as Melody Beattie states in her book 'The Language of Letting Go'; "We learn to let go of people we love, people we like, and those we don't particularly care for. We separate ourselves, and our process, from others and their process. We relinquish our tight hold and our need to control in our relationships. We take responsibility for ourselves; we allow others to do the same. We detach with the understanding that life is unfolding exactly as it needs to, for others and ourselves. The way life unfolds is good, even when it hurts. And ultimately, we can benefit from even the most difficult situations. We do this with the understanding that a Power greater than ourselves is in charge, and all is well." (Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.) 

Recognize Your Own Co-Dependent Behaviors

Recognize that it is "sick" and "unhealthy" to believe that you have the power or control enough to fix, correct, change, heal or rescue another person, place or thing if they do not want to get better nor see a need to change. Remember, another person can only change and get help on their own. You can not *make* a person do anything they do not want to or are ready to do on their own.

Accept personal responsibility for your own unhealthy actions, feelings and thinking and cease looking for the persons, places or things you can blame for your unhealthiness and unhappiness

Detachment with love is a very difficult but very necessary step in regaining emotional health. It is a life long commitment to one's recovery and is something that needs to be practiced daily. You can still love the person, but need to recognize when it has become too enmeshed, dependent and unhealthy. Detaching with love is one of the most loving steps you can do for yourself as well as the other person.  (all three paragraphs from same article)


“Detachment is self-preservation. It is becoming responsible for your own actions and obligations.” ~unknown


If I could live my life again

If I could live my life again, I'd laugh at my misfortunes more and other people's predicaments less. Spend more time counting my blessings, less time scrutinizing my blemishes.

I'd spend more time playing with my children and grandchildren, less time watching professional athletes perform. More time enjoying what I have, less time thinking about the things I don't have.

If I could live my life again, I'd walk in the rain more without an umbrella and listen less to weather reports. I'd spend much more time outdoors in small towns and much less time in tall buildings and big cities. I'd eat more of everything healthy and delicious, less of everything each meal, saving enough on the bill to feed a starving child.

If I could live my life again, I'd get more beach sand between my toes and less friction between myself and others. I'd take more long baths and fewer showers (I can't explain why I've always been in such a hurry to spend my time). I'd spend more time with old people and animals, less time with strangers at clubs and parties.

I'd act the age of my children and grandchildren more and act my own age less. I'd visit libraries, bookstores, and computer networks more and malls and movie theaters less. I'd play the piano more and play fewer mindless games like solitaire. I'd give my spouse and children more tender touches and much less advice.

If I could live my life again, I'd spend more time fully involved in the present moment, less time remembering and anticipating. I'd be more aware of my core values and life mission, and less concerned with the reasons why I might not measure up.

I'd smile more, frown less. I'd express my feelings more, try less to impress my friends and neighbors. I'd forgive and ask forgiveness more, and curse my adversaries less - but most of all I'd be more spontaneous and active, less hesitant and subdued.

When a great idea or spur-of-the-moment adventure popped up - an Easter egg hunt, an open house at school, a game of hide-and-seek, an opportunity to solve a problem at work or to satisfy a disgruntled customer, a hay ride, a chance to build a snowman or paint over graffiti, an invitation to watch a lunar eclipse or a shuttle launch. I'd be less likely to stay in my chair objecting, "It's not in our plan" and more inclined to jump up and say, "Yes, let's".

Source: Brother Jeremiah's free-verse style from "I'd Pick more Daisies.

 

~All of the above copied articles are copies handed out at 12-step meetings or recovery programs. I wish I could give credit where credit is due, but I dont have the names of the authors of these fliers.