Detachment has always been a concept that I could never quite grasp. When AH would come home and I could tell he had been drinking, my thought was always, “Well, I HAVE to let him know that I disapprove…otherwise, he will think it’s okay for him to do this!” And so, of course, we would get into a big fight and then he would say how sorry he was and how he let me down, etc. I’m sure this would then result in tons of shame, resentment and guilt inside him, which would start the cycle for the next episode of drinking.
Now that I’ve immersed myself in Al-Anon and reading, I think I finally get it. Someone on the Sober Recovery website wrote this about detachment and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it put more plainly or perfectly.
For some the concept of detachment is hard to grasp. Especially if you are the kind of person who is used to having a ‘say’ in most matters. We somehow think we must always “speak up” when our S.O. is doing something wrong and in some cases we do need to speak up in certain situations. Detachment might feel to ‘passive’ for us. But, sometimes it’s not so much a matter of keeping quiet as it is a matter of refusing to engage in something FUTILE. We learn the hard way how to stop wasting our own time, energy, efforts in “reforming” this other person and instead take that effort and put into ourselves and our own fulfillment. We learn that the person in question may never change and become the person we wish they were. We realize that our own happiness is not about *them* and not wrapped up in them.
It’s funny because I went back to an Al-Anon meeting last night that I haven’t been to in ages. I think the last time I was there was in October, just before we were in the process of purchasing a new home, selling our old one, and moving. I shared with what has been going on and especially how I now understand that chastising/nagging my AH is the wrong thing to do and only made things worse. Then I said, “Why didn’t anyone ever tell me this?! Oh wait…they did, I was just in denial.” It’s so interesting how my disease of codependency has paralleled AH’s disease of alcoholism. I would start going to Al-Anon and then stop. I would read the literature, but it really never sunk in…until now. It took me hitting my rock bottom to surrender and start my true path to recovery.
Sidenote: I slept great again last night, although DS5 came in around 2am because he was scared of the wind and rain. For a moment, I thought about how sad it is that when he has a nightmare or is scared at night, I’ll be the only one there. 😦 But my mind is feeling a bit clearer today and I think I’ll be ready to tackle going over our finances tomorrow so we can start to detail how finances are going to work through our divorce.