“Things do not change; we change.” -Henry David Thoreau
How many times have you heard someone say “people don’t change”? I have heard it all too frequently and I don’t believe it. I never have. I think that it sounds like an excuse for people to just to stay in their bad habits and then declare “this is who I am”. Is it? This is who you are content on being? Someone who never grows or changes or tries to become a better human being? I believe people can change. But I don’t believe it is my function to change them. This is where self-motivation and co-dependency collide. Oil and Vinegar. They don’t mix. With someone who is an addict, you talk about what they are doing to the family, you talk about how hurt your feelings are, you discuss options on getting help, you TRY and TRY and TRY until exhaustion. Nothing. No response. No feeling. No brokenness. You want to shake them. But when they are in the throws of it, they can see nothing else but how to get it.
So What’s ironic? When you have arrived at “ENOUGH” and you make your move away from them…they notice. They need you. They love you. They miss you. For me it was a day late and dollar short. Mentally, physically, spiritually, I was moving on. And that’s when he changed. But why does it take so much of us going around on this merry go round to get noticed? Because of our need to control the situation. At one point, my husband said to me “the more you stand in my way, the more determined I am to get it”. I hid car keys, I hid wallets, I called to check in, I followed him, I threw out everything I could find and here he was telling ME the answer. You can’t stand in there way and the more you do, the more determined they will be to go around you. The craftier you get, the craftier and sneakier they get. You will always lose, until you decide to change.
When you decide not to become “the cleaner” or “the fixer” anymore, it is incredibly freeing. This moment is THEE MOST important moment for both addict and co-dependent. This is when the most strength is required. Where you become a brick wall. Putting up that boundary brick by brick. You cannot cave when they utter the words you have been longing to hear because the motive isn’t pure. At this early stage it is entirely selfish. You move out, you move away, and sometimes (if necessary) you change your number. Why so dramatic? Because they have to figure their own way out of the mess and on on their own terms. The chaos they have created is their own. Not yours to fix anymore. With children it become really tricky but the boundary is necessary. Thankfully my daughter was small enough to not understand what was happening and I pray that she never will know it.
So how did I come around? It was a wait and see type situation. He had the motivation and he knew I was serious. He knew I had taken the necessary steps to move on. Secretely, I was beginning the mourning process of letting it all go, but I never let him see that. I was getting out, running, excercising, meeting up with friends…I was getting a life! Was I trying to show him what he was about to miss? ABSOLUTELY. But I was also preparing for a different outcome. It took months of therapy afterward to get us back together. BUT the truth is, I didn’t save him. God rescued him. When we are ready and willing to change, God shows up. He walked beside me through every dark night and every bleak day. And now I was also ready to change my life. Together we put our lives back together with a stronger bond, a deeper sense of purpose and a beautiful redemption story out of the chaos. I want to encourage those that have a partner/friend/family member/spouse with an addiction to be abnormally strong. If you are fighting the addiction or on your way out of it then keep fighting to get your family back. It might be too late to rescue a marriage but you can win your kids or your family back. You CAN change but it will take time for people to believe it…but don’t give up on it. Besides, you get well for yourself first. Remember that.