Melody Beattie writes:
Detachment doesn’t come naturally for many of us. But once we realize
the value of this recovery principle, we understand how vital detachment
is. The following story illustrates how a woman came to understand
“The first time I practiced detachment was when I let go of my alcoholic
husband. He had been drinking for seven years, since I had married him.
For that long, I had been denying his alcoholism and trying to make him
“I did outrageous things to make him stop drinking, to make him see the
light, to make him realize how much he was hurting me. I really thought
I was doing things right by trying to control him.
“One night, I saw things clearly. I realized that my attempts to control
him would never solve the problem. I also saw that my life was
unmanageable. I couldn’t make him do anything he didn’t want to do. His
alcoholism was controlling me, even though I wasn’t drinking.
“I set him free, to do as he chose. The truth is, he did as he pleased
anyway. Things changed the night I detached. He could feel it, and so
could I. When I set him free, I set myself free to live my own life.
“I’ve had to practice the principle of detachment many times since then.
I’ve had to detach from unhealthy people and healthy people. It’s never
failed. Detachment works.”
Detachment is a gift. It will be given to us when we’re ready for it.
When we set the other person free, we are set free….
Learning healthy detachment has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I knew how to be attached in an unhealthy way; it’s called codependency. I knew how to be detached in an unhealthy way; it’s called “Eff you — I’m leaving!”. Healthy detachment for me looks a lot like interdependence without giving over control or response-ability to my partner but I can’t say that I’ve mastered it yet or that I will in this lifetime. It may come naturally to some people but it does not come naturally to me — I have to work hard at it every day. I don’t claim perfection — only progress — but I know that learning healthy detachment is one of the best investments I can make in myself…
- Codepedence is not just an issue for partners of addicts (toddlohenry.com)
- Choices (toddlohenry.com)
- Sadness (toddlohenry.com)
- Recognizing Choices (toddlohenry.com)
- Directness (toddlohenry.com)
- …on Control (toddlohenry.com)