“I told my addicted son “no” when he asked me for money and I feel so guilty. Please tell me I did the right thing.”
“I just decided to call off my engagement with my addicted fiancé. Did I do the right thing?”
If you’ve ever loved an addict or alcoholic, then you’ve probably obsessed over whether or not you’ve made a right or wrong decision with them.
Through the years, I’ve battled the all-consuming frustration, guilt and doubt that crept up whenever I’ve said no to the addicts in my life.
And I don’t have to tell you how craptastic it feels to say no to someone you love and care for.
Especially when you’re making decisions that you hope will keep your loved one alive. And keep your sanity intact as well as your family safe.
If any of this sounds familiar, then today’s post is for you.
Below, I’m sharing three tips that will help you the next time you find yourself asking the question, “Did I Do The Right Thing?”
#1 You’ve Got To Start With A Clear Head
Let’s start this first tip off with one of my favorite quotes from Anne Wilson Schaef.
“No one is more controllable than a confused person.”
Let’s face it, interactions with an addict or alcoholic not only kick up a load of drama but they also leave you feeling dizzy and confused.
And trying to make decisions or trying to figure out whether or not you’ve done the right thing from a place of confusion never works.
When you make decisions from a confused place, you’re more likely to not only be controlled by other people but by your emotions as well.
That’s why you’ve got to give yourself permission to catch your breath and clear your head before you make a decision and after you’ve made it.
It’s okay to let the dust settle before you make a move.
It’s okay to say, “I need to think about this first,” before giving an answer.
This process takes practice. But if you know you’ve made your decision with a clear mind then deciding whether or not you’ve done the right thing is a no-brainer.
#2 Get Your Boundaries In Shape
I’ve said this before and I’m gonna say it again. Creating boundaries with an addict or alcoholic is a must.
Why are boundaries so crucial?
Because they take the guess work out of and ease the guilt around making uncomfortable decisions.
Let’s say that your addict brother calls you every couple of weeks sniffing around for drug money.
You know his pattern and you’ve finally decided that you’re not going to be his personal ATM anymore.
You’ve set up a boundary with him and you’ve made your limits clear.
So the next time he comes trolling around for money and you say no you’ll know you’ve done the right thing.
How are you going to know this?
Because your decision will be 100% in sync with the boundary you’ve created.
Setting boundaries takes practice. You’re going to feel uncomfortable and unsure when you start doing it.
But the benefit to you is this – whenever you find yourself unsure about whether or not you’ve done the right thing, you can refer back to the boundaries you’ve created and double check yourself.
If you base your decisions off of your boundaries, you’ll rarely worry about doing the right thing.
# 3 Act As If You’ve Made The Right Decision
One of my all-time favorite authors Melody Beattie described the benefits of acting as if best, in her book, The Language Of Letting Go.
“When a problem plagues us, acting as if can help us get unstuck. We act as if the problem will be or already is solved, so we can go on with our life.”
Instead of driving yourself bonkers over whether or not you’ve done the right thing, by the addict or alcoholic, why not just act as if you did?
Acting as if isn’t about lying to yourself or someone else or indulging in denial.
Acting as if is all about giving yourself permission to –
- Take care of yourself
- Act with a clear mind
- Feel correct about the boundaries you create
And most importantly, it frees your head from obsession thoughts, guilt and mind-numbing doubt.
As Melody Beattie says, “Acting as if is a positive way to overcome fears, doubts, and low self-esteem.” Acting as if allows us to, “Open up to the positive possibilities of the future, instead of limiting the future by today’s feelings and circumstances.”
Now, I’d love to hear from you.
In the comment section below tell me how you deal with the question, “Did I do the right thing?” What do you struggle with the most in this area? What has worked for you? What makes you feel like banging your head against the wall?
I bet that what you have to share is exactly what someone else needs to read. Remember we’re all in this together and your experiences and insights matter – a lot!
Also, if you found this post helpful, then pass it along to anyone you know that needs support in navigating their journey with an addicted someone.
As always, I truly appreciate you reading, commenting and sharing.
Have a great week!
Until Next Tuesday,