The topic of detachment has come up time and time again in meetings. It's one of those topics that is hard for newcomers to understand and sometimes it's hard for anyone, regardless of years in the program to put into action. I know that it took me a while before the light turned on and I grasped the concept.
In Al-Anon we say that we love the person but hate the disease. To detach means that we don't follow someone to the bottom, or allow a person to make us feel rotten because of their actions. It means that we can listen and not become emotionally involved in what others are saying. In essence, we stay focused on ourselves.
I know that I never detached before bottoming out emotionally and coming to Al-Alon. If my alcoholic was drunk and being irrational, I would try to reason with her. I would coax her to go to bed and get some sleep. And what I would end up doing is staying awake most of the night wondering if she would fall when she got out of bed or go the wrong way and fall down the stairs. I didn't have a clue about how to detach in that situation.So here's some things that I've written down from meetings. These are things that I need to remember about detachment:
Don't let someone make you feel a certain way because of things they do or say.
Don't take abuse.
Know that the things an alcoholic says is really more about the things they hate about themselves rather than me.
Know my own truth and not doubt it when someone says something that is negative about me.
Don't do for them what they can do for themselves.
Live your life and make your own decisions whether they drink or not.
If you have plans and drinking messes them up, do them anyway without the alcoholic.
Do something nice for yourself.
Don't allow yourself to be caught up in the drama of others.