I never really understood the meaning of co-dependency until I started going to Alanon. I certainly never dreamed that I was co-dependent. Shockingly (sarcasm), I have been co-dependent all of my life, in every single relationship I have had. There is this thing I learned in Alanon called Detachment with Love. It is a tool to utilize in relationships to basically level out the crazy, and keep yourself from getting dragged into someone else’s drama. Of course, Alanon talks a lot about relationships with addicts, but really the theories apply to every relationship.
You see, detachment with love means loving someone enough to allow them to learn lessons. It means taking a step back and minding your own corner of the world. Loving Detachment is a scary concept. I wonder how many significant others have lovingly detached themselves into divorce. I get really scared when I practice this concept, because it’s always a gamble, right? It is a concept that you have to do deliberately. Think about it, it is like loving someone without caring. There is fear that the detachment will become emotional distance. How do you maintain a loving relationship when you are deliberately emotionally distant?
Detaching with love is unnatural, it feels wrong, particularly to a classic co-dependent such as myself. Disengaging from someone you love is a skill, and all skills take practice. In theory, detachment with love should work in any relationship, addict or not. But, the only way that it can work is if we completely embrace the fact that we have no control over others. Control is a dominant theme with addicts (and some non addicts!). They like to control everything, including the tone of the room. Co-dependents get sucked right in without even realizing it.
Being sober and finding alanon has changed my way of thinking. That does not mean that I always practice correctly. Sometimes I royally screw it up, sometimes I only do it half way. Sometimes I think the theories work on paper, but add a human being and there is no way in hell they could work (like Communism!). My alanon sponsor always says, “April, just be kind to yourself”.
Dang, I wish I could carry her around in my pocket.