My writing is a process much akin to therapy. And beyond that, I hope it touches the lives of others similarly affected. Here is a piece I wrote a while back, just before my husband got properly sober. I hope if you find yourself in the co-dependent trenches, it helps... With love, Alice
I am the other half of an addicted person. I finally confronted the fact that this is real. It isn’t just a bad weekend. It isn’t just a bit of a habit.
It is a dependency, one that I played into for many years. One that I now wish to escape, and yet find myself mired beside. For better or for worse.
There are even more times I have utterly dismissed it, even to myself. There are times I have raised a glass, with him, to his health, to our happiness, and then regretted it as one glass becomes two, and little did I know he had a few before in secret anyway.
I am a spiritual person. I believe all things come about with purpose. When I strode out onto the very personal tarot journey detailed within my latest book, Dirty and Divine, I did not expect one of the key themes of that book to be addiction. I dreamed of adventures with my daughters, creative journeys indulged, meaningful meditation, and perhaps a little magic.
But instead I got addiction, arguments, finally a confession, and now a slow lurch toward recovery.
So my path opens wide ahead of me. The sacred journey I am treading right now, in part, is the recovery of an addicted person. Albeit, not my vice, but his. What I have discovered along this path is that there is very, very little support for the other half of an addict. So this article will go, I hope, some way to remedy that.
So this is for you, my dear and loving, partner/friend/parent/relation of an addicted person. How do you cope, soulfully, lovingly and spiritually, to ensure your well-being is not depleted by the actions and addictions of a person who is paramount in your life?
My brutal truth is this: my first desire, upon encountering this situation again (and it does tend to become cyclical — every so often an addict will pipe up that they have a problem, but soon it is hidden and fervently discounted) is to cut my losses and run away.
But the problem here is that he is not just a walking addiction. He is a beloved person too. There is so much more than just an addict within him. I want to help. I want to heal.
So I take my spirit and I walk it around the house. I indulge it in the arms of my little kids. I fervently pretend that all is well, because as it happens, I find that I am quite happy. I’m lucky like that. I find contentedness comes pretty easy. I know myself. I have my faith. I adore my children. My glass is always half-full, with water, or coffee, and only occasionally with wine.
So I’m reaching out, to others, people like me who have an addicted partner or loved one. I want you to know that you are not alone. That you are not to blame, and that you too can find joy in and of your own existence. Because it is all too easy to get lost in the nonsense, the black hole of illogic that the addict makes seem so very logical.
If you are dealing with the addiction of a loved one, then here are some ideas for supporting you, to help you feel less alone, and to help you cope:
Be in the moment. If you are not around your addict, release and relinquish them and enjoy your life. Spurn their dark cloud in favor of your rainbow. Be with those you love. Have your own secret life of happiness. Find comedy and laughter in everything. Their addiction is not you, nor is it ever caused by you.
Find your self, first and foremost, even if it is just making time in your own mind to be with you and figure out how you feel.
Have some faith. Again, make the faith be in you. Listen to your intuition. Go with your heart. Try not to be a fool to it. I have been a fool hundreds of times over. I have believed declarations of abstinence, even when I have found direct evidence of otherwise. Nowadays I just choose to believe in me instead, and to know that he, for now, is an addict. End of discussion.
Get out into nature. Nature has a rhythm that prevents addiction. It flows beautifully. One thing is only ever dependent on another in the most astonishing and healthy ways. Be like nature. Reject those things that try to pull you away from that which feels natural to you.
Make notes. Addiction can be confusing. Keep your own head straight by keeping a journal. This will help you figure out moods, patterns, and inevitably a record that may help you make objective decisions if that time comes.
Talk to someone. Maybe a friend. Maybe a parent. Yes, they might judge. Maybe they should. Maybe you should. Get some new perspectives.
Check in on how you might be enabling the behavior, and then alter yourself. Don’t try to change them (Mission Impossible). But change yourself. Stop pleading with them to be different, and instead, plough that same energy inward. Ask yourself to be different. See where that leads you.
Leave your addict to his or her own devices. You are not their parent, and even if you are their parent, you cannot parent an addiction. It has its ways. If you create something for them to fight against, then by golly, will they fight, and the addiction will get stronger, and you, my dear, will get weaker. So don’t fight, go sing, dance, garden, bake, do a rumba instead.
If you have spirituality about you, then dig into it. Crack open a pack of tarot or guidance cards. Go to church. Pray by the sea. Manifest peace. Visit a temple. Be with like-minded souls. Do the Yoga. Meditate. Know that you are profoundly important. Ask to be guided. Ask for a sign. Follow what is offered.
Here are some thoughts on recovery:
When your addict fails or falters. Which they will. More than once. It is not your fault. It is part of the process. Don’t take it personally. It may not feel like a step in the right direction, but it is. It is evidence that they can shift, even if only in small increments.
Recovery is no walk in the park. Nor does it happen quickly. If you have committed to the long game, know that some days will feel wonderful. Other days will be like building a new human from scratch. Be patient. And realistic. One-week-sober does not sobriety make. Keep your expectations flexible.
Abstention leaves a hole. You are happy that they are sober. They are miserable because they simply don’t know how to exist anymore. Expect issues, emotions and difficulties to pop up as they seek to be whole without their crutch.
Handholding, listening and hugs. That’s about all you need to give. Advice and pep talks are all well and good, but it’s not your job to become their guru. Just listen. Be there. Hug/hold as appropriate. Then let yourself off the hook and return to your happy place.
Trust that love is enough. And if your love is not enough for them, then make it absolutely enough for you and for the other people and pets and hobbies in your life. Turn it inward, pull it forward, keep a little for yourself. Love is flexible like that. Use it and apply it where it is most needed and appreciated.
Read more from Cosmic MotHer...
Self care, self care, self care. Me time, me time, me time. It's a current spiritual and welfare trend. But is it hitting the spot?
Yeah, we know it's all really important. We gotta take care of ourselves, just like on the plane. Put your own life mask first. (So that then you can save your kids / partner / bloke next to you who can't figure the facial straps). Yeah, yeah yeah...
But is it self care, if inevitably, it is for someone else benefit? Look after you so you can be strong for your partner. Look after you so you don't yell at your kids. Look after you so you can have a happy family life. Look after you so you don't go ape shit crazy at XXXX who has been pushing your buttons and you are already to blow.
I've been looking after everyone for a long time. And my 'self care' has been very much based on the premise that I need to keep myself together because I am lynchpin of all that is. My husband had a heart attack, we don't have a great deal of childcare options, I've been numero uno. My self care has been wrapped around keeping myself sane and minimally healthy so that I can carry the weight of family life.
Do you feel me? Is your self care really for the benefit and wellbeing of everybody else?
And if it is, how do you move past the 'minimal' and onto something a bit more luxurious, a bit more meaningful?
Well first, you must recognise that your welfare goes beyond being basically rested and zen.
You have so many needs; creative, etheric, desirous, passion, craving, wants. And all of those descriptive words run the gamut of body, mind and soul. You are a lot to fill. And if your filling is focused on fuel and not a full service. Your engine is likely to fall out. Apologies for the slightly rubbish car metaphor - it just happened.
Sometimes we have to force another level of self care. The image at the top looks really worthy. But it is actually a result of forced self care. I'm always worried about everyone else's diet, I'm feeding my family all the veggies, and my body, my health is considered last. I think that I'm functioning and therefore I'm okay, but am I? Don't we deserve more than just functioning?
I need more. So the wholesome and worthy smoothie is part of a regimen of enforced and non-negotiable self care. I don't want to do it, it's an extra chore, but it's a valuable exercise in putting myself actually first, and for noone else's benefit. Because I want to live longer, I want to fight disease, I want to be healthy and fulfilled on a new level. I want to give to myself, even if that means a forceable smoothie every morning - it's a start right?
What can you do today, that is that little bit extra self care, that is just for you, not for your family or the wellbeing of your partner / parents / colleagues?
What is that one extra step in a self care regimen that you aren't taking that you should? Set an intent to do it in the comments below... NOW do it. And the rest will follow. Put yourself really and truly first, and let the self care flood from that point onward...
Welcome to my cosmic life...how I found my spirit and created an empowered, CREATIVE and nature loving family lifestyle (and how you can too...)
I am Alice Grist, and I am one Cosmic Mother! I am so glad you are here, and I hope that my life is an inspiration to yours. Sometimes in life we find ourselves in a place we didn't expect, but one that we built ourselves from a deep, holy, heart felt place. For a long time my mind has been focusing on my 'external' achievements - my books, my art, my tarot cards... But the things that matter most to me, are those wonderful, happy achievements I have crafted in my home; my kids, my parenting, our play, nature, magic, family wellbeing and my approach to free range, wild spirituality. So this blog is my new focus, and it feels so right, and so good. This is me, on a page, the truth of a chaotic, occasionally difficult, but always spirited life... Read on to find out how I shifted towards sharing the magical (and chaotic) details of my everyday life with you...
Here is the full disclosure... In January this year (2018) my husband had a heart attack. Thank goodness he survived following three stents being fitted in an emergency procedure. Not what you hope for when you have just had your 39th Birthday! This lead to him becoming depressed, and a severe bout of addiction. In turn he went off to rehab for a month, and I was left solo parenting my two daughters. In all of this I found joy. I'm a horrible optimist (not sorry). Though like anyone, I've had my challenges and darker moods during this time. It has pulled on all my very early spiritual learning, my love of nature and my need to create, to plough through the darkness, to show up powerfully for my kids and to deal with all the everyday grit that still happens nonetheless...
So from all this madness, I have come to realise that happiness lies in what you already have, and what you have created. And I'm pretty damned pleased with the life I have crafted. Whilst it is far from perfect, it is what I need. And I know it can be an inspiration for you. This blog will be a record and motivation point for those looking for a more creative, spirited and nature focused lifestyle. I will share all my parenting tips (I have so many I didn't even realise). I intend to talk frankly about our difficulties, because sobriety is a difficult (often secret) path, and one that no-one should walk alone. As a spiritual author and explorer, I will make sure our magic, spells and child friendly spiritual thinkings are displayed for you to interpret for yourselves. I will also come over all 'lifestyle' on you, sharing the healthy, wellbeing products, brands, books and adventures that decorate our daily lives... We will be arty and crafty, we will try really hard to be vegan, we will speak truth and spit poetry. I will make films too. I'll be funny, because as an author that's how I keep it real, by finding the hilarity in disaster, the comedy in spirit...
So this is me, and this is my life. I hope you will follow me, and please do share everything that you like. I am excited about this new blogging platform, and I want to know about you, what you do, and can we collaborate? Let me know - don't be shy!
You will find the highlights of this blog on Facebook and on Instagram. See links below. Sign up to my newsletter below to get updates when I blog (which I intend to be several times a week). Let me know what you want more of from me, be it art, spirit, nature, family lifestyle tips... I want to make this a resource that matters to you, and helps you move forward with your dramas!