Sunday, 20 October 2013

Letting Go Of Those Not in Recovery

I have a beautiful friend going through a really hard time with her addicted son. I am dedicating this posting to her. I hope this poem gives her some peace, as it did for me almost two years ago.

From the book “The Language of Letting Go” by Melody Beattie

Letting Go of Those Not in Recovery

We can go forward with our life and recoveries, even though someone we love is not yet recovering.

Picture a bridge. On one side of the bridge it is cold and dark. We stood there with others in the cold and darkness, doubled over in pain. Some of us developed an eating disorder to cope with the pain. Some drank; some used other drugs. Some of us lost control of our sexual behavior. Some of us obsessively focused on addicted people's pain to distract us from our own pain. Many of us did both: we developed an addictive behavior, and distracted ourselves by focusing on other addicted people. We did not know there was a bridge. We thought we were trapped on a cliff.

Then, some of us got lucky. Our eyes opened, by the Grace of God, because it was time. We saw the bridge. People told us what was on the other side: warmth, light, and healing from our pain. We could barely glimpse or imagine this, but we decided to start the trek across the bridge anyway.

We tried to convince the people around us on the cliff that there was a bridge to a better place, but they wouldn't listen. They couldn't see it; they couldn't believe. They were not ready for the journey. We decided to go alone, because we believed, and because people on the other side were cheering us onward. The closer we got to the other side, the more we could see, and feel, that what we had been promised was real. There was light, warmth, healing, and love. The other side was a better place.

But now, there is a bridge between those on the other side and us. Sometimes, we may be tempted to go back and drag them over with us, but it cannot be done. No one can be dragged or forced across this bridge. Each person must go at his or her own choice, when the time is right. Some will come; some will stay on the other side. The choice is not ours.

We can love them. We can wave to them. We can holler back and forth. We can cheer them on, as others have cheered and encouraged us. But we cannot make them come over with us.

If our time has come to cross the bridge, or if we have already crossed and are standing in the light and warmth, we do not have to feel guilty. It is where we are meant to be. We do not have to go back to the dark cliff because another's time has not yet come.

The best thing we can do is stay in the light, because it reassures others that there is a better place. And if others ever do decide to cross the bridge, we will be there to cheer them on.

Today, I will move forward with my life, despite what others are doing or not doing. I will know it is my right to cross the bridge to a better life, even if I must leave others behind to do that. I will not feel guilty. I will not feel ashamed. I know that where I am now is a better place and where I'm meant to be.

Take care, my friend. Stay strong.


  1. This made me cry...Not only for your compassion for your beautiful friend but because your friend cannot cross that bridge...No matter how hard she tough she talks...she cannot get to the otherside..maybe she is so caught up in her son's struggles for treatment she cannot leave him behind knowing he will die if he doesn't get the help he needs soon...Perhaps once she knows he is getting the treatment he so badly wants...needs..she can cross..but until then..As his can she leave him die...xoxoxox

    1. I worried about my son so much that I got sick. Really sick. I knew if I continued on that path, my family would suffer the consequences because I would be too sick to participate in life. I also wouldn't be much good to my sick child. I had to let go of the worry, pain, and trying to control. That was what was making me sick. I had to acknowledge and accept that it was his life and his journey. What I did instead was work toward the greater good so that when he wanted help it would be there. I channeled my energy into that. I was always there when he wanted to get help. We spoke regularly and I always told him how much I love him. He came over for family meals on Sundays. We loved him all through this and he knew it. I just had to let go of the things I couldn't change and focus on the things that I could change - me! Your son needs you to be strong for him when he is weak. That doesn't mean that you can't fight for treatment to be available for him. You can keep encouraging him to seek treatment and try new things but you don't have to carry his burdens on your shoulders. Doing so will just make you sick. Trust me on that one. There is nothing easy about this. Addiction is a cold, cruel disease. xo


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