Clearing Out the Clutter and Co-Dependency

Last weekend I did a much overdue task which was cleaning out the clutter that had collected in a couple areas of my house. I realized how therapeutic this activity was for me. I initially created more mess as I pulled things off the shelf and went through the pains taking sorting process: Attic? Donation? Keep Handy? Throw away? As I sifted through books, hats, papers, just to name a few, I started feeling a sense of unburdening. While I do not like to have a messy house, I do have small messy areas! The area I was working on was in the garage where I have shelves and cabinets for various projects and activities stored. I have a tendency to do a big clean-up project and then slowly it gets cluttered as I zoom around in my busy life not paying attention to the little things that add up to bigger messes later on. When I was done and all was neat and tidy I realized how this relates to life in general.

When I am organized and on top of the many responsibilities that I have, I feel peaceful and stress free. And when I am on top of setting boundaries and taking care of myself then I can better care for those I love. In my co-dependency, I can let things get out of hand quite rapidly. Which in turn creates messes that I need to later clean up! These messes are usually around letting a bad habit creep in – like jumping in and paying a bill for my child when they are responsible. I may think, ‘oh, it’s just a small amount and she can really use the help….’ or ‘I’ll help by creating a resume since I’ve done so many…’ Yet, doing these small things can add up to a big message ‘you are not capable, I am’ and ‘why take responsibility when Mom will bail me out.’ I’ve worked hard to undo these types of bad habits and create healthy ones. Just like cleaning out the clutter around my house, I will continue to clean out the clutter of my co-dependency!

Reflecting on the Progress of Personal Growth

Many times it seems that I look at the situation at hand and want more progress or have high expectations. Today I was discussing this journey that I have been on with some friends. I was relaying the trials and tribulations that occurred over the past 4 years. Later I began to think about how bad it had become when my daughter was in the depths of her addiction. I thought about how many times I almost lost her from various harmful situations she had been in. I thought about how she became someone I didn’t recognize and I was so desperate to have my daughter back. It made me realize that even though there is still growth and responsibilities to take on, so much progress has taken place. I had to pause and take stock of all the blessings that have occurred through this journey.
There are many blessings but the one that is the most prevalent for me is the fact that traveling this journey with my daughter has led me to experience tremendous growth myself. When I was desperate to help my daughter I was led to discover that the best thing I could personally do for her was to get help myself. I realized that the most loving thing I could do was to become knowledgeable about addiction and what I could do to stop enabling her. Learning that I did not and could not control everything taught me how to let go and be free of the stress that consumed me. This has been one of the blessings and today I took the time to reflect on this and be grateful for these discoveries.

Uncluttering my life, including my co-dependency

closetLast weekend, I completed a much-overdue task: cleaning out the clutter that had collected in a couple areas of my house.  I realized how therapeutic this activity was for me.  I initially created more mess as I pulled things off the shelf and went through the pains taking sorting process:  Attic? Donation? Keep Handy?  Throw away?  As I sifted through clothes, books, knick-knacks, just to name a few, I started feeling a sense of unburdening.  While I do not like to have a messy house, I have to confess that I do have small, tuck away messy areas.  I have a tendency to do a big clean-up project and then slowly it gets cluttered time moves forward in my busy life.  As I was going through this process I realized this relates to life in general.

When I am organized and on top of the many responsibilities that I have, I feel peaceful and stress free.  And when I am on top of setting boundaries and taking care of myself, then I can better care of those I love.  In my co-dependency, I can let things get out of hand quite rapidly.  Which in turn creates messes that I need to later clean up.

These messes are usually around letting a bad habit creep in – like jumping in and paying a bill for my child that is their responsibility.  I may think, ‘oh, it’s just a small amount and she can really use the help….’ or ‘I’ll help by creating a resume since I’ve done so many…’  Yet, doing these small things can add up to a big message ‘you are not capable, I am’ and ‘why take responsibility when Mom will bail me out.’  I’ve worked hard to undo these types of bad habits and create healthy ones.  Just like cleaning out the clutter around my house, I will continue to clean out the clutter of my co-dependency.

Finding the quiet moments – trading stress for serenity

When I hear the word ‘serenity’ I often think of a quiet moment alone preferably somewhere in nature. Yet serenity comes to us in many different ways. The definition of serenity is ‘the state of being calm, peaceful, untroubled.’ As a parent who has been on a journey of having a loved one struggle with addiction and has a quest to gain serenity I am very aware that serenity can be an elusive foe. What looks like serenity to me may not work for someone else. One of the ways that I seek serenity is through outdoor activity.  A long run puts me in a place that is very calming. I relax and concentrate on the moment. The farther I run, the more my troubles melt away as if I am leaving them behind. While this sometimes may only result in serenity while on my run, it is a welcomed respite when I am struggling to detach from what is bogging me down.

Everyone has their own image of what serenity means to them and how they work to get there. As parents we have a tendency to take our children’s troubles and worry about them. While we may not be able to get to a place where we are free of worrying about our loved ones, we can get to a place where we have moments of serenity. It’s important to think of how you can release yourself and enjoy moments of serenity. This may be having a cup of tea with a friend, going for a walk, baking, golfing, the list is very long and all depends on your interests. You might start out with a short activity and then increase over time. Trading your stress for serenity will lead to feeling healthy. We all know that stress causes so many conditions to our physical body, our mood and our behavior. By working on your serenity it will not only help you cope with difficult challenges in your life, it will also help you feel better and be more present in your life.

The rights of parents to an addict or alcoholic-free home – do you really know?

My 3 SunzThis is an “encore” post from My3Sunz

You have made a decision to “kick your kid out of the house.” Reasons vary, but the common deominator for some parents with children (over the age of 18) whose addicted or alcoholic children may sound familiar

  • She’s capable of working, but always comes up with excuses. I can’t afford her to stay without helping with food or other expenses – that doesn’t seem to be in her game plan.
  • He’s not interested in rehab, insists he does not have a problem and therefore continues to do nothing. I feel like I’m helping him stay in his disease
  • She does not help with the daily chores, laundry, cleaning, yard work and such. She somehow finds energy to go “out” at odd hours and the erratic comings and goings just adds to my sleepless nights and worrisome days.
  • When he uses alcohol or drugs, I’m on guard, unable to roam freely in my home for fear of sudden outburst or threats.
  • He sleeps most of the day and when he finally awakes; he’ll sloth around and often blames me for his situation in life. This has been very stressful as I work at home.
  • She’s not freeloading – she’s stealing. I’m a prisoner of my own home, unable to leave, go on vacation, and meet with friends. It’s all because I fear she will steal from me, damage the home or bring strangers in.

So you finally decide that, no matter what, this time you are going to insist he or she leave. You set a target date. You give them options such as rehab, a relative, a wilderness program. You are willing to help halfway, yet it seems like you are negotiating with a wall. You have been collecting “home goods” so they will be outfitted when the time comes. This time you are not going to give into the fears that have dominated your mind about what they do or how they will survive without your help. You’ve found the courage to do it and THEN the time comes and you realize he or she won’t leave! Not only that, he or she insists they have every right to be there and will not budge. All of a sudden, they seem to know the law better than you! But wait, this is your house, your property! Surely you have every right to decide who stays or not…but do you?

Charles Rubin, in his book, Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You, suggests that you not do this on your own.  I’ve heard a parent share that when she called the police, they informed her if her son has lived in her home for seven  consecutive days, then he is considered a tenant.  She would have to start eviction procedures like a landlord.  This could take a minimum of 30 days.  I’ve heard from a couple who literally sold their home and moved into a 1-bedroom apartment to get away from their 24 year old daughter - “she” was not invited to move with them.  Another family son’s arrest gave them a window of opportunity.  They moved and did not let him know their new address. These sound like drastic measures, but maybe they are normal responses
to drastic circumstances. What has been your experience with evicting your own child out of your home?

Reflecting on the Progress in Personal Growth of myself and my family

Many times it seems that I look at the situation at hand and want more progress or have high expectations.  Today I was discussing this journey that I have been on with some friends.  I was relaying the trials and tribulations that occurred over the past 4 years.  Later I began to think about how bad it had become when my daughter was in the depths of her addiction.  I thought about how many times I almost lost her from various harmful situations she had been in.  I thought about how she became someone I didn’t recognize and I was so desperate to have my daughter back.  It made me realize that even though there is still growth and responsibilities to take on, so much progress has taken place.  I had to pause and take stock of all the blessings that have occurred through this journey.

 

There are many blessings but the one that is the most prevalent for me is the fact that traveling this journey with my daughter has led me to experience tremendous growth myself.  When I was desperate to help my daughter I was led to discover that the best thing I could do for her was to help myself.  I realized that the most loving thing I could do was to become knowledgeable about addiction and what I could do to stop my enabling behavior.  Learning that I did not and could not control everything taught me how to let go and be free of the stress that consumed me.  This has been a blessing and today I take the time to reflect and be grateful for these discoveries.