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Addiction and Relationships: There Are Lessons In Everything

Updated: Jan 25

there are lessons in everything

My daughter is 4, and I thought that because of this, we would miss the Frozen mania. Frozen Fever, if you will. But no, she watched the first one on repeat for weeks, and when the second one came out last year, we saw it in the theaters twice (and had that one on repeat at home, and still watch it on occasion).

Now, you might be wondering what this has to do with having a partner with addiction. It’s a children’s movie after all. But believe me, it actually has more to do with it than you think.

Just a heads up though. If you haven’t seen it yet I’m going to give away some main plot points. So be warned.

I’ll give you the details of the story first, and then I’ll break it down for you and how we can relate it to our relationship and addiction.

We know the premise of the Frozen franchise is that there are two sisters, and one has ice powers, yeah?

Well, the second one starts with things in their hometown finally being good, everyone is happy, the citizens are thriving, and all is well.

The trouble starts when the sister with the ice powers, Elsa, starts hearing this voice within her that calls her to an unknown place up north that she has never been to. She is both scared, but also captivated, as she can feel that whoever is calling her is good.

So finally after some inner conflict, she decides to go to a place called the Enchanted Forest with her sister and their friends, where she begins piecing together their ancestry and her past, and also meets a host of people who were trapped inside the forest.

As she continues her quest to find the voice, she finds herself in some trouble, her sister also finds herself in some trouble, and after figuring out that they must free the Enchanted Forest in order to rescue it’s trapped inhabitants, Elsa also finally meets the voice that has been calling her, where she finds out it was herself the whole time. This causes her to fulfill her destiny as the Fifth Spirit, and becomes the caretaker of the Enchanted Forest.

All right, now that we are caught up on how the movie works, let’s relate this to ourselves.

If you are in a relationship with someone with addiction, you know that there are good times and also very bad times. But, at least for me, there was still always a feeling I had that things weren’t supposed to be like this. Things weren’t supposed to be this hard, I wasn’t supposed to be feeling quite like this all the time, etc. Shouldn’t we be getting at least to a place where I’m more ok in myself?

Not knowing entirely what to do, I would just brush it off and hope for the best.

After so many times of relapse and recovery but never having things be quite right, he relapsed again, and I knew that I couldn’t continue on like that. So finally, I did what I knew I had to do: I made boundaries, I started doing the things I knew I needed to do to heal and function better, and I hoped for the best. There was no going back now.

And as time went on, and he was doing his recovery and I was doing mine, I slowly started getting to know myself more and more. Sure I had tried to do this in the past, but now it was much more intense and focused because I had the motivation to do it. Now I was doing it for me. I wasn’t doing it because I thought I should, or because someone told me to do things a certain way, or because I was trying to influence his recovery. I wanted to because I was tired of living how I was. I wanted change for myself.

After doing the work I needed to do, I realized that there wasn’t something else outside of me that I had to find. The someone or something that I was looking for, who had all the answers and the knowledge to help me, was me all along.

I mean of course, I got help from other people and such, but my point is that I was the one who was doing the work for me. I had the secret to my questions and how to apply the answers. I knew what I wanted in life now, and I knew what I had to do to get there.

Just like Elsa thought she was being called by an all-knowing someone who could help her feel comfortable in life and tell her who she was meant to be, I too realized that the person who wanted to be found was me the whole time.

But like I said, there is some caution that comes with statements like that. It doesn't mean that I have come to a place of control, or thinking that it was me that had to do everything for everyone else. It simply means that I put myself first because I know myself better than anyone else, and to love yourself first and most is the greatest thing you can do to help yourself and those around you. It's acknowledging yourself as the love and hope and security that you've been looking for from an outside source.

There’s also tons of quotes in the movie that are so good and so helpful, like a line that goes like this: “When one can see no future, all one can do is the next right thing”.

This works for us when we have a relationship with someone with addiction, too. At times, sometimes all the time, it can be difficult to see where things go. Sometimes, things are so bad that we can’t even see a future at all. In times of stress, the only answer is exactly what the quote says. All we can do is the next right thing. We don’t have to plan for every single step and plan for a long period of time. All we have to do is whatever the best positive thing is in that situation.

And most often, it’s easier than we think. It doesn’t have to be some huge, grand, elaborate plan or anything. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking some time for yourself, or journaling to better know what’s going on inside. The point is, we just have to take that next step in the right direction.

Once you start your journey of self-work and your own recovery, you start seeing how things work, and you start seeing that there is a lesson in everything. There is wisdom and inspiration in a whole lot of places that you never thought to look, and once you start seeing them, you’ll use them for your benefit. They can be anywhere, even in an animated children’s movie.

So tell me, what’s the next right thing you’ll do to meet that voice inside of you that’s been longing to meet you?

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