Loving or leaving?

Being in a relationship with someone with an unhealthy habit is a choice. This is a fundamental truth and our awareness of it is the beginning point of recovering from our suffering.What is it that makes living with someone with an unhealthy habit – be it drinking or any other – the cause of so much pain and anger. The obvious reaction is to blame that person and his or her habit.  But why do we keep putting up with the suffering. And what can we do to end our pain.

When we find out that a person close to us has such a habit, we make a choice. If it is a loved one, or someone close to us, all we want to do is help. In many cases however our best efforts will not bring about the change we so much desire (see also this post). Yet, we keep trying. It becomes our mission to cure or to change the other person. We may even start wondering if somehow, some way, we are the cause of the problem; we put the blame on us.  The suffering now becomes part of our – daily – lives.

The fact of the matter is that we have no control whatsoever over the unhealthy habit in someone else, in spite of all of our good will and our efforts. In some cases – as it was for me – it may take years to realize the insanity of this endeavor. But then what?

Well, ask yourself this: “If I truly accept that I am powerless over the unhealthy habit, then why am I (still) suffering from anger, frustration, fear, etc.

The answer is really simple: expectations. Apparently we somehow expect the person to be different from what he or she really is. We do not want our wife , husband, mother or father to be an alcoholic or a drug user, a sexual addict or a compulsive gambler. We expect them to be the way we think they are supposed to be.

As soon as we are willing let go of our own expectations, the “curse” is lifted. As soon as we can see and accept them as who they are, our suffering stops. We can then make our choices in peace and serenity.  Choices that are better for ourselves and better for the other.

This moment of truth lies in asking yourself whether you truly love the person as he or she truly is, including the unhealthy habit. It is then up to each of us to make our choices accordingly.

In letting love and truth be your guiding light, you will find – as I have – that it is perfectly possible to choose to love – or to leave –  and that no matter what your choice might be, the suffering will end.

Embrace reality!