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Do the Right Thing with Your Addicted Girlfriend and Get Punished for It?

02 Sep

Your guided imagery tape is wonderful and helps me to keep things in perspective. I am a lesbian and I spent almost ten years with a professional and dedicated teacher. Unfortunately she developed some serious alcohol and substance abuse issues over time. She is in strong denial that these things interfere in her life in any way.

We are no longer together, and I was strongly encouraging her to seek help when she abruptly moved out. She refuses to accept any responsibility for that part of her life or for the pain and heartbreak created by her decisions.

Currently she is living with someone who has had a life-long addiction problem. Even though I don't want to allow yesterday to impede my own progress today, it has been difficult to let this go and place it with my higher power.

Mary

Dear Mary,

I know this has to be very hard on you, but you did the right thing.  In fact, you did the only reasonable thing you could do, under the circumstances.  Enabling her continued using would be bad for her (although she’d be the last person to think so) and bad for you. No upside that I can see.

2157bYou weren’t able to save her, but you did save yourself, and that took courage and fortitude.  Hang in there and bravissima.

And my best guess is that the great appeal of her new love has much to do with the fact that she’s a fellow user who, unlike you, does not challenge her decisions or threaten her habit.  Nothing you can do about that but keep breathing deep breaths, putting one foot in front of the other, grieving the loss and carrying on.
 
It’s pretty painful when there’s nothing you can do except watch helplessly while someone you love self-destructs, but you did what you could by trying to set her straight (a therapist named Adler used to call that “spitting in her soup”. What an image!) and, when that didn’t work, by letting her go.

2103bI can think of a couple things that might be helpful to you here. We have imagery for Heartbreak, Abandonment & Betrayal that has some strong, sustaining imagery in it, that takes you back to your core strength – I think that would be very supportive for you at this juncture.  (It gets good reviews and I confess, it’s a personal favorite of mine) I’d go for that one.  I’d also work with Anger & Forgiveness..

And finally, Emmett Miller’s guided imagery, Accepting Change and Moving On could be great here.
 
Something in this bunch should hit your sweet spot.
 
And remember, this too shall pass.  The only thing we can really ever count on is that things change, and this will too.

Thanks for writing.

Take care,
Belleruth

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.