I remember when I first heard the word detachment in an Al-Anon meeting. It sounded cold and harsh. I thought it was for somebody else, not me, a mother who loved her son so very much, whether he was using drugs or not. I have worked hard to grasp the meaning of "detachment with love" in my own recovery from enabling, managing and controlling. Here is the text of a flyer in Al-Anon about detachment---it talks about alcoholism but it is the same for all substance abuse. I believe 12-step thinking is one of the greatest gifts to the world we could ever receive, even if we don't have an addict in our lives. It is simply a much better way to live. And Al-Anon is not a religious program---it is a spiritual program, and you can believe in whatever you want to believe in, and it still works. *************************************** Detachment is neither kind nor unkind. It does not imply judgement or condemnation of the person or situation from which we are detaching. Separating ourselves from the adverse effects of another person’s alcoholism can be a means of detaching: this does not necessarily require physical separation. Detachment can help us look at our situations realistically and objectively. Alcoholism is a family disease. Living with the effects of someone else’s drinking is too devastating for most people to bear without help. In Al-Anon we learn nothing we say or do can cause or stop someone else’s drinking. We are not responsible for another person’s disease or recovery from it. Detachment allows us to let go of our obsession with another’s behavior and begin to lead happier and more manageable lives, lives with dignity and rights, lives guided by a Power greater than ourselves. We can still love the person without liking the behavior. IN AL-ANON WE LEARN: • Not to suffer because of the actions or reactions of other people • Not to allow ourselves to be used or abused by others in the interest of another’s recovery • Not to do for others what they can do for themselves • Not to manipulate situations so others will eat, go to bed, get up, pay bills, not drink, or behave as we see fit • Not to cover up for another’s mistakes or misdeeds • Not to create a crisis • Not to prevent a crisis if it is in the natural course of events By learning to focus on ourselves, our attitudes and well-being improve. We allow the alcoholics in our lives to experience the consequences of their own actions. AL-ANON CAN HELP Al-Anon is a worldwide fellowship that offers a program of recovery for the familiesand friends of alcoholics, whether or not the alcoholic recognizes the existence of a drinking problem or seeks help. Members give and receive comfort and understanding through a mutual exchange of experience, strength, and hope. Sharing of similar problem lems binds individuals and groups together in a bond that is protected by a tradition of anonymity. Al-Anon is not a religious organization or a counseling agency. It is not a treatment center nor is it allied with any other organization offering such services. Al-Anon Family Groups, which includes Alateen for young members, usually teenagers, neither expresses opinions on outside issues nor endorses outside enterprises. No dues or fees are required. Membership is voluntary, requiring only that one’s own life has been adversely affected by someone else’s drinking problem.