How to Cope: Family Member with Addiction Problems
You Can Only Deal With The Present
- What can I do?
- How can I help?
- What can I say to them?
- What if they need me?
- Why do they do this?
- Why can’t they stop
- What will happen to them?
- What will happen to me?
…and on and on and on.
Suddenly class is over, you didn’t learn anything and you didn’t solve any of the problems you were busy thinking about. But through all of that, ‘Where were your feet?’ It is a practical question and it is also a little bit of a trick question. The trick is that your mind should be wherever you feet are (now with an addicted family member), because that is where you are and that moment that you find yourself in is all you can deal with in that moment.
You Can Make A Choice
When you start to feel out of control, when you notice that you aren’t noticing the things going on around you because of everything go on in your head, pausing to just check your feet reminds you that you can make a choice about your time, your day and your life. If you are sitting in class not paying attention when you check your feet you can decide if where you really want to be is with your loved one who is suffering, or if you really want to be where you currently are. That pause lets you reconnect to what you are doing as an affirmative action, not a reaction, it reminds you that you have a choice about whether or not you are going to be present in your own life.
Know Where You Are To Get Where You’re Going
Knowing where we are as individuals doesn’t eliminate all of the problems of co-dependence or the complexity of caring about someone with a substance abuse problem. It doesn’t magically bring us to acceptance or serenity. Substance abuse in all of its forms is enormously damaging and painful, nothing can just “fix” that. But within that complexity, just asking, “Where are my feet?” you remind yourself that only you are connected to your feet, only you can control where they go, and wherever you are, whatever situation you find yourself in is always, all you can deal with in that moment of time.
The rest will simply have to wait until you can move your feet somewhere else!