When a family suffers from addiction, it’s only natural to focus on the person who has an apparent addiction. Addiction is a family illness that causes pain to all loved ones. To watch a person needlessly suffer is excruciating.
Many people want their lives to be different, but they don’t make the needed changes to bring forth a better life. Instead, there is an expectation that when people, places, and things make the desired adjustments, then everything will be alright. This means that everyone else should do the heavy lifting while I remain the same. This type of magical thinking produces nothing but pain.
It’s only natural to think that if the addiction stops, everything will be okay. The best chance of family recovery is for each loved one to focus on healing themselves.
3 Steps to Gaining Control
Step 1 — Change Your Command Center
The first step is to take charge of where you want to go. Otherwise, you can spend your entire life in frustration as your ship aimlessly sails to nowhere. If you turn the helm over to someone who doesn’t want to go to the same place as you or anywhere at all, you can’t expect that person to follow your insistent guidance.
Even if everyone succumbed to our wishes, we would not be happy. The ante keeps going up, and the bottomless pit of desires only expands.
When we work on ourselves, we can then achieve the satisfaction for which we long. This doesn’t mean that someone else doesn’t need to change, but your focus is now on what you can do differently. Then rather than put someone else at the helm who doesn’t want to go the same direction, you can guide your ship to your own destination. The other person may come along or not, but you will have given yourself the gift of personal growth and master of your own destiny.
Step 2 — Replace Resistance with Persistence
Resistance is the cause of most failed personal growth efforts. Often, people who seek help don’t realize that getting better means getting to work. Ignoring assignments, devaluing recommendations, erratic attendance, and forgetting are ways to resist change.
Most of us don’t realize how our minds work. We think that if someone else’s behavior improves, we’ll be happy. This places the responsibility for change on everyone else. This accomplishes a great deal of finger-pointing, very little movement, and a bundle of frustration and anger. This mindset is the same as any other addiction — repeating the same behavior despite negative consequences.
We are creatures of habit, and regardless of our successes, we underperform when it comes to doing uncomfortable things. We put our energy into what we feel like doing rather than what is best for us. This is the big trap that our unhealthy ego lays for us and why we continue to stay in the maze.
If you want things to change, you must turn your resistance into persistence. This means you ignore all excuses that run through your mind and take action. Every time you focus on someone or something else, bring the focus back to you. What can I change about myself? How can I help myself?
Step 3 — Replace Fear with Love
Resistance is rooted in fear, and the fear must be faced if we are to regain personal power. If your ship is spinning in circles, ask yourself, are you afraid to get what you want? An honest look at the reason can help you gain control.
There is a loss for every gain, and if the change is made, what will be lost? As long as my ship is going nowhere, I don’t have to take responsibility for ever reaching shore. Maybe I won’t like the change that I want. Perhaps we won’t love each other anymore. Maybe people will think poorly of me.
A full commitment to change requires facing your fears. Write them down so that you don’t forget the silent forces that govern your choices.
Once you face the fear, it’s easier to take action. The more you work on your inner self, the more you will manifest true peace of mind.
Love is the freedom to choose. Personal change is an ongoing process. Honestly examining your thoughts, actions, and motives can lead to freedom from bondage. This offers self-respect as well as allowing everyone else the dignity to conduct their own lives. Then you can get your ship to port, and surprisingly, having let go, other people must just come aboard also.
Join the Movement
Donna Marks is an educator and licensed psychotherapist and addictions counselor in Palm Beach, Florida. Since 1989, she has worked with over 6,000 clients. Donna’s struggle with addiction brought her to a worldwide search for healing. She became licensed as a Mental Health Counselor in 1987. In 1989, she earned a Doctorate Degree in Adult Education, then became Certified in Addictions, Gestalt Therapy, Psychoanalysis, Hypnosis, and Sex Therapy. Donna developed an award-winning addiction training program at Palm Beach Community College. She co-owned an outpatient treatment program and is a consultant to treatment centers. Donna is the author of two books; Learn, Grow, Forgive, and the multi-award-winning, Exit the Maze-One Addiction, One Cause, One Cure, and created an online course for people who want to be cured of addiction.
To find out more about Dr. Marks’ unique approach to draining the value out of any addiction visit https://drdonnamarks.com/etm/ and receive a FREE copy of her award-winning book “Exit the Maze: One Addiction, One Cause, One Cure.” (You just cover shipping and handling).
Donna is a public speaker and has shared her methods with hundreds of thousands of listeners on podcasts and radio shows.
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