Monday, 6 January 2014

Cunning and baffling

Addiction can, and will, remain a mystery unless those of us who suffer from it make it our life's business to research it.  To be armed with the facts is to have a chance.  Facts and fellowship.  

I recently attended a meeting in a room whose walls I had not previously entered.  It mattered not.  I have been to meetings all over the world.  Two years ago, I was sitting in similarly designated rooms in Hong Kong with other English speakers.  United in a single purpose.  Together we recover.  

Compassion, I was reminded in a meeting I have been attending on and off for over a decade and that I have, at times, considered a home-group (a secure base to which I could return whatever-the-weather and find experience, strength and hope on tap), is an activity.

We cannot simply 'be' compassionate.  We are perhaps more accurately, ever becoming compassionate.  For to feel true compassion is to be involved in the suffering of another.  To pulsate alongside.  To understand, from the inside, what it is that another suffers.

The connection with addiction is self-evident.  As a family illness, suffering belongs not only to the addict who may be at the centre of the story, but to the entire system.  And, in this sad picture, no one can save anyone else.  All one can do is detach.  And do so with love.  But, as I remind the partners, and families of those who are still in the midst of their addictions, this is made all the easier if the illness, and its symptoms can be seen as separate to their loved one.  Distinguishing the disease from its sufferer can be crucial for anyone to truly recover.

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