In a previous blog, we described an addicted person as being a tornado

A vortex of poor choices, selfish acts, and thoughtless words—borne from deep pain (“hurt people hurt people”)—blazing a path of destruction

(this described me, at least…to put it mildly…when I was struggling with addiction)

We, as Supporters, must not get sucked in…and, from a safe-ish distance, create a counter-vortex, into which to draw the addicted person

First and foremost, a pursuit of spirituality is the most important step we can take to help ourselves, and the addicted person in our life

Above all, we will be best served by a faith in God/the Universe/whatever name we choose to give that Guiding Force which gets us through even the darkest nights of the soul (so I’ve found)

Whether or not we choose to believe in a God that can solve our problems? We must consider that our faith in such a God can indeed solve our problems

(Explorations of faith often unearth deep truths about ourselves)

From there, there are two ways to best help a person struggling with addiction to drugs

(NOTE: As always, everything you hear from me is suggestions only…if they make sense, great! If not, discard them in favor of what does make sense)

The first way is, to model that which we wish to see in the addicted person (see last week’s blog)

The second is: Manage Our Expectations

Supporters sometimes ask: Should I give the addicted person in my life money, food, shelter, etc.? Should I put the person in rehab, look into medication, etc.?

Most importantly: There are far more knowledgeable people than I, who’ve written great books that help answer these questions

Addictive Thinking, by Abraham Twerski, and Clean, by David Sheff, come to mind

In my experience, it doesn’t so much matter what we do in a genuine attempt to help the addicted person in our life

As does it matter that we let go of whatever expectations we may have of the addicted person changing, as a result of what we do

As my 12-step sponsor taught me: Expectations are resentments under construction

If we allow ourselves to become mired in resentments (by setting expectations)

We will be leading exactly the type of life our addicted person uses drugs to escape

Manage our expectations…

As addicted persons, we look to Supporters not so much for advice, but rather for inspiration

(see last week’s blog for more on this)

As Supporters we can’t effectively advise, unless first we meaningfully inspire

If we as addicted persons are to engage in productive conversation with our Supporter—if we are to ask our Supporter’s advice, much less take it—we must see the Supporter as leading the type of life we wish to lead

Often we are clouded in our ability to see others as they truly are…

…to love others despite their shortcomings (we all have shortcomings)

If a Supporter’s shortcoming is, they expect someone to change based upon something they (the Supporter) do or advise

Or—worse yet—that they’ll be happy even if that happens

The Supporter has a common shortcoming! One of mine, certainly…even today

Yet my addiction forced me to understand: I needed to change…not expect others to change

It’s ironic I became a writer, putting forth advice on how Supporters might wish to change!

As addicted persons, our expectations turn into resentments…of people, things, and circumstances

We resent ourselves, for failing to be the person we wish to be

We seek to escape our thoughts, which seem hopelessly beyond our control

We yearn to feel like the person we think we want to become

We seek to control the actions of others…believing if they change, we’ll be happy

If we as Supporters expect to be happy when someone else (the addicted person) changes, we are leading the very life the addicted person seeks to escape

We are in some ways giving her/him control of our life

When we can’t control our own lives…

When the world around us fails to live up to our expectations (as it always does…or, even if the world somehow does match our expectations, we then shift our expectations…as we’re only comfortable living in a world where our expectations aren’t met)

When we fail to live up to our expectations of ourselves

We create situations in which we expect even more

To return to that state of false confidence…to recapture the feeling of that potential to escape our problems…that got somehow lost

It works…sometimes & temporarily…yet fades away to less and less than nothingness

When you manage your expectations, you free yourself to take action in the future

You’re less afraid of failure

For what is failure? Little more than a missed opportunity to consider, Survival Equals Success

When you manage your expectations, you’re less afraid to make the tough choices, do the hard work, take the risks

All of which—and more—are the prices paid for a life of true freedom

Yet they are small prices to pay! As you will find out…as you are learning, and have learned

You are to be commended, recognized, and appreciated!

You are an amazing human being, for wanting to change

And you are just as amazing—if not more so—for having managed your expectations that others will change

Resources For You

If you know or are a person who is struggling, check out my free PDF: Ten Helpful Questions to Ask When Someone You Love is Recovering From Addiction

Simply go to my website, and hit the “Download PDF Now” button in the lower right. When you enter your email, you’ll be signed up for my weekly newsletter, Meditations on Meth. Feel free to unsubscribe if you don’t want it.