I have always been told by my parents to do my best. As long as I work hard, try my best, be determined, I will succeed and achieve my goals. This mantra has helped me a lot in life. I am lucky to say that I have gotten into every University I’ve applied for, graduated with ease, gotten almost every job I’ve applied for and always been appraised for my work.
I thought as long as I worked hard, really worked hard, I could do anything.
Including changing other people.
Maybe I have always been some kind of control freak. I mean, I’m not OCD or anything like that…but I do not do well with change and spontaneity. Don’t get me wrong. I am impulsive as fuck. I just…can’t deal with other people’s impulsiveness.
I spent the last three years REALLY applying the life lesson my parents taught me. I really tried so hard, harder than I ever tried to achieving my goal. I only had one goal. I wanted the people that I love to stop drinking. I worked at learning everything I can about alcoholism. I found every single resource possible in Toronto, whether it’s treatment facilities, detoxes, private counselling, AA. I worked out numerous convincing arguments of why they should stop drinking. I pled, cried, screamed, hit, left, came back, manipulated. EVERYTHING. But of course, nothing changed.
That’s when I finally learned…
You cannot change another person. Period. Never. Ever. No matter how hard you try.
But how can this be? I did what my parents told me! I worked SO hard and tirelessly. I gave up so many opportunities to “work hard” to change them. Why isn’t it working? Why isn’t working hard working!!!!!
Well…the truth is. Working hard does work. I was just focusing on the wrong goal. After struggling so many years, of what it feels like unbearable pain and suffocation, now I feel like I can breath again at times. When I give myself permission to see things for what they truly are…
- I did not fail. I was focusing on the wrong goal. It was an impossible one. If I decided that I want to fly to the moon, no matter how hard I tried I still couldn’t. Much alike, if I set my goal to being able to change someone else’s behaviour, that’s setting myself up for failure.
- I don’t have the right to interfere with someone else’s life in this way. It is not my responsibility. I am only responsible for myself.
- Something greater (God) is at work. I don’t have to carry the weight of two on my shoulders. I can let go of this load that’s holding me back from enjoying my life. I am taken care of. He is taken care of. Let God’s plan unfold, I’m merely a passenger.
People always say, you can’t pour from an empty cup. I say, you can’t pour into an already full cup, it will just overflow and make a mess. An addict’s life is already full. They are stressed out, angry, lost, confused, addicted. I have now realized how selfish I had been. I kept pouring and pouring into that overflowing cup. I need to step away, leave that cup be, and try to fill it when it’s needed, when mine own cup is more full. Working hard is still a great mantra. I can work hard on myself. Better myself. Get back to my old self. Do things for me. Love myself. Consciously make an effort to be positive, be mindful, be happy.
To all the addicts out there that I care for and love. I’ll be standing tall when you call.