I used to think that life was based on luck.
Got good grades even when you didn’t study? Maybe you were just lucky.
Got a boyfriend in high school? You were just lucky.
Had a lot of friends? You’re lucky I guess.
You’re engaged and planning a wedding? Lucky you.
Your partner got sober and has been in recovery for years? You’re both lucky.
And all that thinking just made me feel very unlucky in return. And resentful, also resentful.
I would think I was somehow undeserving of such good fortune, and that maybe there was something wrong with me. I would also have questions in my mind like this:
Why does my partner have such bad addiction issues? Why is our relationship so difficult and nothing is working out like I want it to? Why isn’t our life better?
And as the years came and went with not much change, I just felt even more like I just wasn’t meant for the good things that came to everyone else. Maybe it was just supposed to be difficult, and I just wasn’t lucky enough.
That’s really sad, huh?
And the thing is, I’m sure a lot of us feel that way, regardless of if you have a partner who has addiction issues or not. Maybe your relationship has other issues, or your life in general just feels like it lacks the magic.
But, the cool thing is, it really has nothing to do with luck in the way you’re thinking. I mean, it sounds cool to think that way, but you’re not missing out on anything like that and you didn’t lose some kind of addiction lottery. You didn’t miss out on anything that everyone else seems to have, and there’s nothing unlucky about your partner either.
It’s not even hard work, per se. You don’t have to spend years toiling in the fields of your emotions, hoping that one day you’ll strike it rich with success in order to attain what others have. There’s no person judging you and deciding that maybe one day you’ve been tortured enough and now deserve to have the good things everyone else does. Even if other people say it took years of hard work and dedication, it certainly doesn’t have to be that way for everyone. Maybe, like past me, they just needed extra time to really get it right and fully understand it. I can certainly say I didn’t spend those years just working on myself; it was mostly trying every option except the one I knew I should have done a long time ago. I mean, that's why I'm here writing this in the first place: I'm trying to save you the years of suffering.
There’s no scorecard or check list of things you have to endure before you get your shot at happiness. There’s no mystery amount of time or events that has to occur before you can get the addiction-free relationship or life you want, and there’s no magic golden ticket you have to find to be happy, regardless of circumstances.
Like me for instance, I didn’t just wake up one day to my partner telling me he was going to get sober and never do drugs ever again, and I didn’t have anyone tell me I’ve suffered enough so I’m getting a free pass out. No one showed up to where I lived with balloons and a guarantee at a happy life.
Instead, I realized that I was done living in misery. Nothing I was doing was making things better, so why was I doing them? I mean, I had tried like every option in the book and still had a pretty depressing relationship with a partner who seemed like they were on the brink of death 24/7. I didn’t want to be sad anymore, and no matter what I tried, my partner was still sick and unchanging, and I was no closer to winning over the addiction. His addiction didn’t even see me as a threat.
So, I slowly started making changes. I stopped answering the phone, I stopped giving out enabling help, I started making boundaries, and basically started doing all of the things I knew I should have done a long time ago but never did (at least not for very long). And I started focusing on myself without feeling guilty and wrong for doing it.
And slowly but surely, my life started getting better. I started feeling hopeful, I started smiling and laughing again, and I started to feel alive. And the funny thing was, it didn't even take that long. I was the one setting the pace by how comfortable I felt during the changes, and it was then that I realized that I was the one in charge.
And my partner wasn’t even in recovery yet. In fact, he was far, far from it.
And then, slowly but surely, he started making the decisions to get him there. And there he stayed.
And while I didn’t do these things to influence him to change, it was a nice little bonus to feeling good already. And I’m happy to say that things are still ok right now.
But wait! I think sometimes. Did I just get lucky? Was it really that easy?
And the answer is, no, and yes. No, I (nor we) didn’t just get lucky. Yes, it really was that easy. A shift in perspective is all it takes.
Focus on the present, don’t worry about the future, don’t get angry or upset if things don’t go your way, and do what you can to stay in the moment and appreciate what’s happening right now.
The basic idea of this can apply to anyone, too, as long as they are ready to start a new way of living with a fresh new mindset. And that’s the cool thing: again, it requires no amount of luck at all.
There’s a Japanese proverb that goes: “The day you decide to do it is your lucky day”, and I really do believe that. Addiction doesn’t have to be a death sentence, or a surety to a stressful, difficult life for you or your partner. It all depends on what you do with it, and how much you believe you deserve a good life, regardless of what others say or how your partner is doing. Your mindset is handled by you, and you can decide to change it and maintain it anytime you want to.
It really is possible to smile and laugh every day, and be thankful for what you have in your life, even if your partner hasn’t met you there yet, or may never will.
And soon, like me, maybe you’ll look back and even be thankful to the addiction itself, for showing you new ways of looking at life and causing you to grow in ways you never knew you could.
Because remember, it's not up to chance.
It's up to you if you want it.