Being a family member of a person with addiction to drugs or alcohol can feel overwhelming as an adult. The survival skills needed to come through the highs and lows of this type of experience can weigh very heavy on the emotional and physical well being. Letting go of this kind of pain takes not only great strength but also a focus on gratitude and grace to release some of the weight and be able to move forward towards a healthy future.
The first step towards letting go of a painful experience is to create room for healing. When a person grows up around addiction, scars form in the mind and heart but the damage can become worse with time when a person is unable, or unwilling, to release it for something better. Laying down the burden of pain from the past can release suffering and build compassion towards oneself and others.
When a child grows up around addiction, life can feel unbalanced, even scary. To live a healthy life, there are tools to guide a person towards the practice of compassion. Take a moment to try the following steps to see how this can help ease the pain of the past.
- Physically hold a pebble in a tightly closed fist for as long as possible for up to a minute.
- Drop the pebble after a minute and look at the hand. How deep is the indentation? Notice any redness? What was the level of discomfort or pain?
- List three things which currently cause pain today related to alcoholism, addiction or the individual who suffers from addiction.
- Ask oneself how to ‘put down the pebble,’ metaphorically speaking. Is this a relationship causing pain? What boundaries can be created to reduce exposure? What can be done to improve one’s own behavior? Is help needed?
- Note three things to do daily to keep from picking up the ‘pebble’ and causing pain.
- Start a journaling practice (online, on paper, etc).
- Take action everyday and celebrate victories, no matter how small.
A person learns to be compassionate by first practicing self care. It is about learning to take care of injuries, wounds and trauma a person experienced, to acknowledge the hurt and take action to heal. To build a self care plan is to develop a positive outlook towards a better future away from the agony of the past towards a healing journey of self discovery. To take this first step is small but significant in recognizing the need for support along the way. Seeking others who are on a similar journey can help the healing happen in far greater ways than one can hope to imagine. It all starts with the pebble and hope for better things to come.
Hired Power is a resource for families and loved ones who struggle with addiction. Call us at 800-910-9299 for more information on how we can support your journey towards recovery and healing.