Addiction and Relationships: What If The "Bad Guy" Isn't Who You Thought It Was?
It’s easy to blame things.
Even if you’re doing so well on your own journey of inner work and self discovery that you feel like a brand new person, it’s easy to kinda slip back a little and just get mad.
And I’m pretty sure we all do it.
Ok, I'm actually very sure we all do it. You know why? Because we're all human.
For me, I’ll give you a few examples from my own life with, of course, addiction, and a more "normal" topic, and why it’s not actually what it looks like.
Now, I don’t always like working out, but I try to do it because it makes me healthier and also boosts my mood (which is a huge plus). And on the same page, I like to try and eat healthy because I don’t really need all the extra junk. It’s not all self care. (haha)
But, while I can view it as being healthy, doing it for my own well-being, and taking care of myself on another level, it can also be a bad thing that I use against myself.
I can complain about “needing” to work out, or guilting myself for eating something I classify as “junk” or skipping a workout day, or not allowing myself to eat a treat because I should be "better".
And all this does is cause contrasting beliefs in my mind that then work against me and keep me stuck, and emotionally off.
When addiction is involved, it’s the same idea.
We say it’s our partners: they are pretty terrible and lowly people to do this to us aren’t they?! I mean, how can someone do this!?
And then we can also turn around and do it to ourselves: how can I just sit here and put up with this?! I should listen to everyone and leave. I’m just a disappointment, I’m weak, and I’m ruining everything.
But, just like with my health example, it goes beyond what it seems.
You see, when we place blame on anything, whether it’s an inanimate object or a whole other person, we do it to try and alleviate the feelings we have that are uncomfortable to experience. We attempt to take our power back by showing the world who was “really” at fault, because it’s obviously not us, right?
But the truth is, we are actually giving our power away in those scenarios. By not taking
accountability, we are being less strong and powerful than we thought we were. We end up becoming the very qualities we tried to get rid of, while also going against ourselves and preventing the process of healing and acceptance.
It’s not all bad, though. It just takes a little bit of surrender and emotional awareness to change the story and process things in a healthy way.
And it all comes down to you. You are the only person you can truly influence, understand, and change, and that same fact ties in here, too.
In the previous example about the health food and working out, it’s not the issue of there being junk food available, no one needs to stop making it completely so I have no temptation, no one needs to change their actions to make me feel more comfortable in my body or to have higher self esteem, and no one is doing anything specific to influence my life in a negative way or make me feel bad.
The only thing that is happening is that I’m the one making myself feel guilty, or making myself think that working out is too much work or has to be done, or making myself feel that the things I am doing and the way that I am is falling short.
It's all in my beliefs about the situation as a whole, and what I actually believe to be true or justifiable.
To change the situation and make it more empowering and loving towards myself, I can instead think positively and focus on the good things about working out and eating right, which then naturally makes me want to do things that continue to make me feel better and happier. There’s no guilting involved.
The same idea applies to addiction and our partners.
It’s not that they are terrible people to their core. I mean sure, some people are, but for the majority of us, we know who the person is inside. They are good people down in their heart who just have their addictions taking center stage and blocking that from view.
While yes, they have the power to change their lives and enter recovery, and their choices might not be the best at any given time, it’s not they themselves as a person that is “bad”.
For me, I felt sometimes that my partner just had it out for me to be miserable and stuck, and that made me resent him more. But the truth was, and still is, that I am the only one who can make me feel any type of way. He may be struggling or dealing with things in a way he knows how, and what I do with that information is up to me.
Same with how I feel about myself. I’m not the bad guy either. I deal with things in a way I know how, but I’m not destined to be doing it that way forever. I have ways of handling situations and experiences, and I can change that to ones that are more healthy at any time and can continue that for however long I desire to. I am doing as well as I can, and I can continue to improve by focusing on myself and how I really feel.
It's the same idea as the first example, no matter how simple it seems: it's all in our beliefs.
What do you tell yourself every day about both individual situations and life as a whole? Do you push off responsibility by negatively labeling and judging things outside of yourself? Do you feel victimized by outside circumstances?
Try changing your beliefs!
Instead of feeling like you need to blame something outside of yourself for the way you feel, try to instead change your thoughts on the situation. See the positives instead, no matter how general or unrelated to the situation they are, and realize that not everything is going downhill.
Tell yourself how amazing you are, how much you love yourself, how grateful you are for the things you have, see your partner for who they are inside, give outside situations a positive spin, and sprinkle some empathy on everything.
I’ll give you one last example, one that I’m dealing with right now. Because as I’ve said, troubles and situations don’t just end when your partner enters recovery. I mean now we have more “normal” stresses and situations but still, it’s not all perfect for me over here.
Anyways, my partner is going through some things with work, where he needs to spend his personal money on work expenses that should be covered by them, has responsibilities that go far beyond what he should be doing, and things like that.
And I can go on and on about how irritating it is, how unfair it is, and how much I don’t like it. Really, I’m quite good at it.
But the thing is, it’s not what I think it is. It’s not his employer being irresponsible, or his boss being unreasonable. And it’s not my partner’s fault for being too lenient or too forgiving.
It’s just something that is happening for reasons I don’t understand because I don’t work there. It all ends up working out anyways, and it needs to be done, so me worrying or getting worked up about it only upsets me, and my partner who ends up being on the receiving end of my rants and complaints.
Instead of being upset over what I can’t control, I need to focus on taking some time to find the real cause of the issues: me.
If I could just sit back, focus on what’s in my control, and go from there, things would be better for both me and everyone else who comes into contact with me.
So that's what I shift the focus to.
So, take accountability when you should. It’s not as terrible as it seems, and it really can make you feel more in charge of your life. Yes, it might seem a little uncomfortable at first (it did for me), but once you realize that you really are responsible for how you feel and that giving that away isn’t right or comforting either, you will feel even more powerful and strong in yourself.
And really, what’s better than that?