The addiction maze.

800px-Longleat_mazeSometimes my own best interest includes the best interests of others.  But how do I know the best interest of another person?

Eyes wide open?  Or not?

Al-Anon’s CCC.  I didn’t Cause it.  I can’t Cure it.  I can’t Control it.

Can I help at all?  Can I live with myself if I don’t try?  Can I try to help and still take care of myself?  Can I accept the results of my effort?

I am aware that I’m rambling here.  Please bear with me.  This is how I make sense of things, and sometimes make profound decisions.  It’s a type of brainstorming, I suppose.  I think that’s usually a group activity but I am all I have right now.

F.E.A.R:  Face Everything And Respond.  I read this acronym recently on a blog called Almost Spring.  The post cited here is not about addiction, but divorce.  In my experience, both produce a great deal of fear.  The acronym grabbed my attention because I believe that fear may be the greatest motivator humans have at their disposal whether it’s divorce or addiction or clowns or the dark or…you get the picture.  Fear has often caused me to look the other way.  Or deny the obvious.  Or convince myself there’s nothing I can do that will make a difference.  Fear can pump the adrenalin and give one the strength to escape danger, perceived or otherwise, as it did eight-year-old me when my older brother told me someone was following us one night as we were walking home after dark.  It seems to me that adrenalin-producing fear is preferable to fear-induced lethargy.  As the acronym above suggests, face it and then decide how to respond.  Turning away and denying are responses, but are there better ones–for me?  now?  today?

Helping?  Or enabling?  According to most 12-step groups we are helping if we do something for someone that they are not capable of doing for themselves, and we are enabling if we do something for someone that they could, and should, be doing for themselves.  Sounds simple, straightforward enough.  But who am I to determine what another person can or cannot do for him/herself?

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right–for you’ll be criticized anyway.  You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”

She did what she could…Mark 14:8


15 thoughts on “The addiction maze.

  1. We all make mistakes all the time. Mistakes through choosing to act a certain way, or the mistakes of choosing passivity. So, there’s no perfect formula, no perfection, just trial and error. Everyday I try to be aware, some days are better than others, but I’ve given up on knowing the right answer, the right action and the right motivation. I try to do the best I can, and I feel (and of course I might be wrong) that you’re trying too much, despite your acknowledgement that things are not black or white.


  2. Yes, follow your heart. Your intuition – – that “still, small voice” is worth listening to. And you can trust it. Good luck with your situation. Another idea to help you decide what to do is the good old pro and con sheet after that. I hope things become more clear for you soon. Thank you for sharing all this with us. And I agree with Susannah, you write beautifully!


  3. Hi Pat! Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. But whenever I catch up with you I love reading your posts. This one is again.full of thought and feeling..I must say a lot of blogger friends found very interesting responses to it. Do not be afraid to put down more of your thoughts and feelings. I think it is marvelous that we can find in the bloggers’ world some kindred spirits.
    Maybe sometimes when nothing special seems to happen in your life you might just want to tell us about an interesting book you’ve been reading or a movie you’ve been watching or a blog you’ve been reading. For sure somewhere in cyber world you can always find an interesting blog worth commenting upon!
    I think Susannah is right, just when you feel in a bit of a slump it really helps to write something!. Just imagine what you would like to tell your friends and how your friends are ready to listen to you. Here’s to Happy Blogging! Love, Uta.


    • Hi Susannah, and thank you. I’ve been in a bit of a slump. While I have continued reading my favorite bloggers (yep, that’s you), I have not been able to make myself write. I seem to be on the mend now and hope to post again soon.


  4. Fear when it’s triggered in a ‘in the moment way’ is there for a very good reason! To keep us alive – ie run from the possible predator in the dark. Fear when it creeps up on us and results in the belief in doing something will not make a difference is a different thing altogether.

    So is the fear in helping or changing ideas within you?

    Clearly we can’t change others unless they want to change. Then we can help by giving them the tools.

    So we’re now left with the issue of fear of helping ourselves. So if we don’t ‘help ourselves’ then the status quo will remain. Working out what we are scared of and why is the first step.

    Just a thought


  5. When I tuned in I sure didn’t expect this…it’s one of those God smacks 12 Step always talks about. I am speaking at a meeting this evening having no idea what to say…you have given me my theme. FEAR – false evidence appearing real. I suffer so much from this. Thinking I know everything when one really knows nothing. What are the facts, I’m often asked when I’m off on an imaginary tangent figuring things out, which is not a slogan I’m repeatedly told. As far as helping others…I do what my heart tells me to do. I no longer do things to get approval or with a gun to my head…enabling is a broad term for me. Kindness heals I don’t care what the circumstances are or what program says, and I’m a program girl…beautifully said all the way through. Thanks for taking the time to pen such truth.


  6. You talk about your fears and weaknesses but what I notice is your raw honesty about yourself, and the lack of pomp or posturing. Frankly, whatever your weaknesses, you have so much to be proud of


  7. Go with the words of Eleanor Roosevelt. You have a good heart. Forget the “experts” and do what you feel in your heart is right. No matter the outcome. Trust yourself.


  8. Thanks, Elizabeth.
    I have read some of your early posts, too. Curses on this common bond, but thank goodness we have this cyber support group to help each other get on with it. I look forward to your wise posts. I don’t always comment but I always read.


  9. Great post and I especially like the CCC. Didn’t cause it. Can’t Cure it. Can’t control it. We need to remember that sometimes.
    Thanks for the link to my post. I have also posted a follow-up to my last post. I think one of my most difficult posts to write.
    I had another look around your blog today. I went back to the beginning and read your story. We do have a lot of similarities in our stories and I am glad to have met you and find the support from you and the knowledge of how far you have come now (a few years down the track) comforting. Thanks for your continued encouragement.


  10. Pat – I’m going to have to write a complete post if I start responding to this! It triggers so many things in me – thank you for the stimulus, and you sound to me as if you are on the right track. I firmly believe that strength comes as we need it to face and fight whatever we need to confront.


    • I will look forward to that post. I’m interested in hearing what your angle will be on this tough, complex topic.

      I’m getting a good exercise in living in the moment. No past, no future, just now. I’m not very good when it comes to actually practicing the concept.


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