Diet & Weight Magazine

Recovery: How I Learned How to Help and Not Fix!

By Sobrfit3
Written By:  Cathy Shuba
"Happy Thursday!"
When I drank I knew how to help myself.  When I drank I knew how to help myself out of bad situations.  For instance, the use of manipulation, lying and rationalization always seemed to do the trick!  When I drank the thought of helping someone else was bleak!  When I drank the thought of fixing my life was unheard of,...besides there was nothing wrong with me!  When I drank I would fix you, fix how you thought, fix how it should be, fix it so that I was not inconvenienced, stressed out or frustrated with myself.  When I drank I did not help unless it benefited me!  When I drank I only fixed things in order to control what my expectations were on people, places and things.  Sound familiar?
What is the difference between saying I want to help you rather than fix you?  It took me years of sobriety in order to figure this one out.  However, I was willing to learn the difference in order to better my recovery and me, as a human being!  At first it was hard but with a lot of work, a lot of writing and a lot of daily reflections of myself and what I have said, done, expected or tried to change on someone, I was finally able to see the pattern of my own behavior.  How I thought I helped someone was really not helping at all.  I fixed rather than helped!  My helping was really enabling the other person.  My fixing was enabling me to control, expect and change a person the way I would feel comfortable around them rather than what they wanted or needed in their own life.  Fixing was control!  Helping was enabling!  For instance, I thought by driving them to meetings because they did not have a car or because they lost their license I was helping.  This was only my fear of,...if I do not do this they will use again!  I had no control over whether they would use again or not.  I thought if I was there at every phone call, every meeting and every second I was helping.  This was only hurting my recovery and allowing me to obsess over someone else while forgetting about my own needs.  I needed to find balance in my recovery!  I thought by lending them money, providing shelter and rationalizing their behavior as to why they are homeless, have no money and why they can not attend as many meetings was helping them.  I was only allowing myself to enable them.  I needed to detach with love and know that they must have their own consequences in order to grow up, show up and be independent for their own good!  I thought by trying to talk them out of using, showing them a better way to live, to think and do things was helping them.  This was only a way to stroke my ego and to try to change them for how I see it should be for them.  I needed to learn how to mind my own business and get out of God's way!  If a person really wants to get sober, recover or change their ways they know what to do, where to go and are willing to go to any length in order to get help.  There is no need to talk a person into help, drive a person constantly for help and mostly cause myself  or yourself to loose serenity.  When this happens you are trying to fix rather than help!  I needed to understand what "helping others" really meant.  I needed to help myself, first!  Fix myself, first!
The healthy way to help is to listen to someone vent, cry or tell you about their problem without the motive to fix their situation.  The healthy way to help is to know that if someone truly wants to get help or go to meetings they will find a way to get it.  It may be by foot, internet or another friend.  The healthy way of help is to give suggestions without any expectations tied to it.  For instance, telling someone they need to get sober and you expecting that they will listen to you and do as you say,...only to find two days later they drank and now you are left with the resentment!  The healthy way to help in this type of situation would be to say how you feel, create boundaries and be consistent with what you say.  Remember, ultimatums never work when you are dealing with an alcoholic or addict who is not not fully ready or willing to get help.  They will only drink more or use more.  In my opinion, ultimatums is a fancier word for control!  Another way of understanding the true meaning of help is the three "C's"...realizing I did not cause it, I can not cure it and I can not control it.  This put a lot of my distorted thinking into place.  Lastly, what I learned and it has always helped for me is "Detachment with Love!"  It is the ability to still love the human but detach yourself from the disease.  Say for instance, your alcoholic or addict comes home and is puking all over the place and finally passes out on the floor.  Instead of cleaning everything up you leave it for them to do the next morning and you kindly take a blanket and cover them,...but leave them where they are!  I know it sounds gross or maybe you may think it is cold, but allowing the user to deal with his or her own consequences only allows you, your own freedom.
I am grateful I learned the difference between helping and fixing!  I now help with no intentions to fix, control, manipulate, change, ego, power or the attempt to rationalize one's behavior.  I help with an open mind, detach with love and mostly the ability to accept the other for who they are, what they are capable of and what they are willing to do in order to seek help for themselves.
Do you help or fix others?  Did you ever realized the difference?  It took me a long to time to see the difference but within time you will be able to see and stop yourself when you are fixing rather than helping!
Today I will run knowing and accepting I can only fix and help myself.  Knowing this has allowed me to have serenity in my life!
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Sobriety Fitness by Cathy Shuba is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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