Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
The insanity in my family really shows its face when the alcoholics in my family are on drinking binges or when their addictive behavior has caused major financial or other issues. Basically, when the addicts’ lives unravel to a point again in which my family members can’t quickly mend everything, my normally wise family members prove Einstein’s theory perfectly.
My family members whip out their cell phones and have the same conversation they had a few weeks ago, a few months ago, a few years ago, a few decades ago.
They sigh and say, “I cannot understand why he’s doing this. He was doing so well. This cannot go on. What are we going to do?”
They’re nearly word for word the same sentences shared hundreds of times.
But no one actually does anything to change anything.
They don’t go to Al-Anon meetings. They don’t get help for themselves. They enable the alcoholics by picking up the pieces of things their addiction has crushed. They don’t detach. They just do the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.
After participating in my family’s repeated conversations for years, finally, I realized that they were leaving me panicked and exhausted. Most importantly, nothing good was coming from them and therefore, it was not good for me at all.
There had to be a different result.
So I helped myself.
I went to Al-Anon meetings and learned from other’s people stories. I discovered my own path for healing and coping my alcoholic and addicted loved ones. I read every book I could find about alcoholism, addiction and its impact on families.
I decided that the best thing to do for everyone was for me to detach as much as possible. Before, I never thought I had a choice, but then I made decisions about getting involved in these situations. I told everyone I’d happily assist with a plan to help but I couldn’t get on the phone and talk for hours without any benefit, without any change.
Nothing good was coming from simply talking and talking without a new approach to handling all of it.
It helped them. Some of my family members followed my lead.
The entire situation improved.
Throughout life, you’ll take a look at people around you and realize that they’re ill. In that case, you can either stay sick yourself or do what you have to do to take good care of yourself.
That’s why they say alcoholism is a family disease. It affects everyone.
So, my pal, ramble on down your own road. Find and live the life you want.
When you do that, everyone around you will be helped. They may even follow you and get help for themselves. Be the one who breaks the cycle.