From Courage to Change, March 12:
“What does another person’s mood, tone of voice, or state of inebriation have to do with my course of action? Nothing— unless I decide otherwise….
Detachment with love means that I stop depending on what others do, say, or feel to determine my own well-being or to make my decisions. When faced with other people’s destructive attitudes or behavior, I can love their best and never fear their worst.
‘Detachment is not caring less, it’s caring more for my own sanity.’”
Well, it took me a long time to get to this place, where I felt I deserved to be sane and healthy. I needed to shed a lot of baggage—things like guilt, low self-worth, and the thrill of martyrdom—in order for Al-Anon to work its magic on me. Guilt, in particular, cripples us and puts at risk when we need to set limits. Not until I did this was I able to set healthy boundaries with the people in my life. Like all card-carrying codependents, I didn’t know where I ended and the other person began. I was enmeshed in everyone’s difficulties, Angie’s most of all, which effectively kept me from facing myself in the mirror and dealing with my own defects and resulting problems.
I’ve learned many healthy life skills in my program of recovery, and I would pass them on whenever I could. As Forest Gump’s mom would say: “Life is a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.” That’s true of course. But the secret of being happy is making the best of what you get, no matter what that may be.