How can I find serenity and peace in my life when my son is killing himself with drugs and his life is a mess? This was the first question I asked when I started attending Nar-Anon meetings. I am a good mother and good mothers care about and nurture their children. The concept of detachment was beyond my comprehension.

I have since learned that my concept of being a good mother actually enabled my son to continue using drugs. I had to realize that an addict does not think or respond to kindness as non-using people do. Once I realized that my attempts to help my son were only making the situation worse, I knew I needed to learn to detach.

For me detachment meant emotionally disconnecting from the addiction so I could deal with my son in a rational way. When I was attached to the addiction, my mood depended on how my son was doing. If he was doing well, I was happy. If he was high, I was depressed. If he stole my possessions, I was in despair. If he fell into a pit, I was at the bottom to protect him. I had an emotional investment in how my son was performing which gave his addiction control over me.

When I learned to detach, I cut the cord that connected us. Now when the addict relapses, I am able to stand and not end up at the bottom with him. I am at the top and ready to help when he is ready to receive it, being fully aware that it is much easier for the addiction to pull me in than for me to pull my son out.

Thought for Today: Detachment does not mean that I do not care; it means I allow myself emotional health so that when the addict is ready for help, I am ready to give it.“Today I will apply the concept of detachment, to the best of my ability, in my relationships. If I can’t let go completely, I’ll try to “hang on loose.” ~ Melody Beattie