Addiction breeds isolation, misery, fear and low self-esteem on the part of those with addictions and those who love them. I knew I needed support but did not know where to find it.
I tried talking to people I trusted but they did not know how to help me and often would say things that hurt instead of relieving my pain. I began to feel that I must keep everything to myself and this increased my isolation. I feared that others would think badly of my loved one, of me and my family. When I found someone I could talk to I often would overwhelm them with all the negative emotions and happenings in my life.
When I found support groups I felt a great relief and weight off my shoulders. Finally I heard other people’s stories that I could relate to. It seemed that everything others said they were feeling and experiencing were my feelings and experiences. I cried all the way through my first meeting. In time I was also able to share my feelings and what was going on in my home. I slowly began to heal, to find peace and hope.
What have I learned during my journey? I have learned to love and trust support groups. They are confidential and have taught me about the atonement. A good therapist can really help. They will keep your conversations confidential and can help you heal. My bishop has been an invaluable source of support. He has given me wonderful blessings that have helped me to see God’s love for me and to see His tender mercies in my life. I have learned that it is best not to talk to others about my loved ones addictions and my pain unless I am prompted to do so.
All of us need love, support and help. Having a good support system can make the difference between misery, despair and isolation or a healthy thriving life.
I am changing my behavior.
I used to feel the tension rising in my home and I would pretend it wasn’t happening. I thought that this time something different would occur but always the same things would happen.
In support groups I learned that it is crazy to do the same old things and expect a different result. If I practice the same behavior over and over and expect a different outcome I am the insane one. Ignoring behavior, worrying, being anxious or fearful never helped. I learned that I cannot control anyone else but I can change my own behavior, my own attitude, and my own thoughts. I can be happy and learning and growing no matter what is going on around me.
When I feel tension growing in my home I can choose to do something new instead of ignoring it or getting fearful, anxious or worried. I can make plans with a friend or go for a walk. I can go get a message or work on a new hobby.
When I do things differently my loved one’s behavior may or may not change. But when I take care of me and am creative I feel better, my self-esteem rises and that makes all the difference!
I used to believe everything that my loved ones with addictions told me. I had very low self-esteem and was often in despair. I am learning to be a more spiritual person and to depend upon God for peace, guidance, love, and support. Best friends tell you the truth and stand up for you. They walk with you during the hard times and rejoice with you during the good times. God is my best friend.
- When my loved one tells me I’m a liar and cannot be trusted, God says to me “Ouch! I love you and trust you”.
- When my loved one doesn’t speak to me for days, God gives me peace and talks with me and says “It’s so nice outside! Let’s go out and take a walk.”.
- When my loved one misses my choir performance, God says “The music was so wonderful! Thank you!”.
- When my loved one smashes the bathroom door open or pours water on me, God tells me “That is unacceptable behavior, you need to get help.”.
- With my loved one says that I am fat and never tells me that I look nice, God tells me “You are beautiful!”.
- When my loved one embarrasses me in public by knocking things off the shelf at the store and says “That’s just too bad.”, God reminds me “This is not about you.”.
- When my loved one throws something on the floor and makes a mess and I want to clean it up, God says “Don’t do what they can do for themselves.”.
- When my loved one cheats on me, God says “Remember that you have choices.”.
- With my loved one quits his job and I don’t make enough money to pay the bills, God tells me “I’ll help you pay the mortgage. Everything is going to be OK.”.
- When my loved one refuses to get help for his addiction, God says “You’ve done what you can, it’s time to step back.”.
When something happens that hurts me and destroys my peace, my best friend is always nearby. He waits for me to turn to Him and ask for help, direction and guidance. When I turn to God peace returns to me.
Support groups have saved my life from chaos and misery.
When I first started attending support meetings I thought I would quickly learn how to manage my loved ones with addictions and how to heal myself and then I wouldn’t need to attend any longer. I was very busy and thought that I had no time for meetings every week.
After 2 years someone asked me why I still attended meetings. I told them that I tried to stop attending meetings and found that I slip too easily back into my old ways of coping with things and being miserable. Support meetings have taught me how to use the atonement to find peace. I need that peace and happiness in my life.
After four years my daughter asked me why I still attend meetings. I told her that they help me to mind my own business and help me to stay out of her business. Minding my own business is still a full-time job.
I have now passed my six year mark of attending support meetings. I still love attending meetings. They always buoy me up and leave me feeling better than when I came. I believe that support meetings have saved my life from chaos and misery. I don’t know what I would have done without the support of longtime members when I first came to support groups. I hope that I can pass the message along.