How can you move on after a relationship with an addict? How can you let go of an addict for good? Amanda speaks from experience here. Then, we invite your experiences and feedback (or even questions) in the comments section at the end.
Addiction: The Best Revenge is Happiness
Sobbing and gasping for air, I asked my mother, “How am I going to leave my addict husband?” I could not see past a life without him. I was angry at him for being an addict and destroying our lives and our relationship.I never forget what she told me next. She said that the best revenge is happiness. To be happy would be the only way to move on.
I was living in hell for so long with my husband and his addiction. I could not remember the meaning of the word happiness, nevertheless remember what it felt like, but I knew my mother had a point. I thought about the notion that if I were genuinely happy, there would be no room for pain and sadness. Laying dormant at first, the advice remained with me until such time that I was able to experience happiness again.
Moment of Clarity
I was selling everything I owned in an estate sale because I was being evicted from a 7,000 square foot home I could no longer afford. It was freezing outside and the oil for heat was gone. My friend stayed with me to help out with the sale for a couple of days and I had just kicked my husband out of the house. Things were not looking very good.
I am not sure if it was the distance I was getting from my addicted spouse or knowing that there was no place to go from here but up, but my friend said something funny and I laughed. I laughed, she laughed, and we laughed together for what seemed like an eternity.
Through the laughter I felt feelings again that felt good. I forgot about my husband and what he was probably doing for that time. There was no room for him or the pain when I was laughing and engaging in an enjoyable emotion. I did not think I was capable of feeling anything else. I knew right then and there that this was a new beginning for me and that my mother was right.
Change of Focus
From that moment on, instead of focusing on the negative of the situation; losing my home, my things, leaving my husband, I was able to look at my situation differently. If I could feel happiness again, then maybe losing a home I could never really afford was really a burden being lifted, selling my things was not only providing me with money to start over but also lightening my load of too many possessions and too many sad memories, and maybe, just maybe, letting my husband go would finally give me the chance to start over. I looked at what was happening not as some tragedy but as a fresh start, an opportunity for me to live my life my way and not in the shadows of addiction.
Addiction can cloud our happiness
When we are in the midst of addiction and its inevitable circumstances, we can forget about feelings of happiness and joy. Even if we are participating in activities we once loved, we can lack the ability to feel about them the way we once did when we are immersed in pain. With distance, perspective, an event that may act as a catalyst, or simply making a decision to change the way we look at our situation, we can begin to feel feelings of happiness. What you will notice is that when you are able to experience happiness and pleasure, you will be crowding out the unhappy feelings.
When I finally got my life together and was truly happy with myself, I noticed a shift in my attitude and my life. I simply stopped caring for my husband and what he was doing because I was too busy being happy in my life. It was the best thing for him and more importantly the best thing for me. Hanging on to bad feelings and living with constant fear and pain was only hurting me. It was stunting my ability to move on with my life.
Abraham Lincoln said “people are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” There is great truth to this statement.