I’m grateful I learned not to take other people’s addictions personally. This was an excruciatingly painful lesson for me, but one of my greatest soul expanding experiences that has led me to the life I lead now. I lived for years taking addicts’ behaviors personally, and that led to a lot of grief, tears, anger, fear, lack, separation, and the list goes on. I felt depleted and victimized all the time. Learning to not take their words and actions personally helped me with all my relationships. It helped me to love myself, set healthy boundaries, and get real with myself about what is healthy and unhealthy for me to be around. When I stopped worrying about their behavior, I was able to work on mine. When they were my focus, my own garden was being left unattended. I was busy trying to pull weeds from their gardens, while the weeds were taking over mine.
I didn’t successfully achieve this mission on my own. I was Divinely guided to a 12-step program called AL-ANON for family and friends of alcoholics. It was in this program that I really learned to stop being a doormat for addicts and to put my energy back into my own mental and physical health. I learned how to stand-up for and change the one person I can change—ME. As I started going within instead of expecting things to be different outside of me, I started to understand the power of my own thinking, perspectives of truth (beliefs), actions, reactions, and responses.
In the program, they talk about the three C’s. I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it. I’m not responsible and accountable for the energy someone else is putting out into the world, but I’m responsible and accountable for mine. Understanding that with a lot of other VERY challenging work, I’ve become VERY grateful for the lesson, because it truly has helped me be a loyal friend and partner to my ultimate lifelong partner—ME. This has helped me be there for others in healthier ways too.
Today, I commit to seeing that someone else’s addiction isn’t a personal attack on me. This is a great opportunity to go within. I waste my energy when I take other people’s stuff personally without going within to work on what I’m REALLY reacting to.
- What feelings is their addiction triggering inside of me?
- What do I feel about myself when spending time with someone lost in active addiction?
- Why do I think I play that important of a role in someone’s life who is prisoner of their own story?
- Why am I focusing on their story?
- What is my story?
- What energy do I want to put into my relationships with others, love, abundance, and peace or fear, lack, and separation?
- What am I doing to take care of my mental, spiritual, and physical health daily?
- What healthy boundaries do I feel good about setting with the person struggling with addiction?
- What do I want my own story to look like?
- Does this person have a role in my current story?
- Do they fit into the story I am writing for myself now?
One of my anthropology professors once told the class a story about Native American who explained to him that their addiction was a gift, because it had many lessons to teach. I believe that the addicts in my life had many lessons to teach me about the person I was settling to be and the person I was born to be. I’m no longer prisoner of other people’s words and actions. I’m free to use words and take actions that best align me with the energy of love, abundance, and peace. What someone else does with that is none of my business. I found these perspectives of truth by first learning not to take someone else’s addiction as a personal attack on me. People who are suffering from addictions are lost in the energy of fear, lack, and separation. They aren’t capable of taking in how much their choices are affecting others, because they are numbing, running, and avoiding themselves.
We project out and attract back what is going on inside of us. They are looking at each person in their life through a lens of fear, lack, and separation, which means they can easily spin stories to align with the way they are feeling inside, just like you and I do. This is why it is so important to focus our attention on the energy we are projecting out. When we take something like addiction personally, there is something deeper going on, and it doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with the person standing in front of us. For me, it tapped into feelings of unworthiness, shame, guilt, and feeling unlovable. When I could bring the focus back on me, I was no longer victim of someone else’s addiction.
Their addictions are a part of their journey. They are not mine to judge. They can choose to take whatever paths their thoughts, beliefs, and actions lead them down. All I can ever do for someone else is be an example of living. I have seeds to give, but I can’t plant them in anyone else’s garden but my own. Others have to choose what is best suited for their gardens. I just try to make sure my garden is filled with as much love, abundance, and peace as possible. That is my job.
I hope you’ve been following along with the “Daily Aligning with Love, Abundance, and Peace” posts, because they are all just pieces to the much bigger puzzle. There is purposeful repetition building on concepts that offer lots of seeds to pick and choose from. You will know if this work is meant to be a part of your journey by tapping into how you feel when you read it. This journey is not going to resonate with everyone. I will be talking more about all that soon.
With Love, Abundance, and Peace,
©Rachael Wolff 2021
Author of Letters from a Better Me: How Becoming an Empowered Woman Transforms the World (Learn more by clicking the title)