by Mike Kemski / via Facebook / November 23, 2014
Coming from a world of neglect, abuse, and addictions, I don't know that there is anything more powerful to act as catalyst for change than pain.
Even though I'm well aware of the fact that pain just the other side of the spectrum of love, I've personally never seen love push or pull someone from the ashes of a destroyed life.
Love has it's place and is needed in a critical way but it's not until AFTER the pain has caused an internal shift in a person's energy. A shift that only happens when it hurts so bad, it becomes impossible to maintain life in that amount of pain.
And I've seen it in my own life from personal experience with my own addictions and challenges. Until I reached a point I could no longer shoulder the pain in my life, I would never make the choice to release my addictions. Many people cannot understand this. They think they can "love" people better or convince them to change by "smothering them with love". But the sneaky truth is, the addiction becomes more powerful than love because it tricks you into thinking it IS the answer. The addiction itself tricks you into believing that it's the way OUT OF PAIN.
And for awhile, it is. Drugs, alcohol, cigs, anger/rage, sex, food, porn, etc, whatever it is, anything that will take your focus away from all of the things you hate about yourself and your life. Those are the things that relieve you from the pain. And therefore become your most protected beliefs and habits. And it makes perfect sense when you think about it from a more traditional perspective.
If you were in massive physical pain, like your fingernails just got ripped off and your hands were trapped in a bowl of citric acid, and you had a straw in your mouth that numbed the pain whenever you'd take a hit off the magic juice that came through the straw, you'd KILL someone before you let them take that straw from you. Love doesn't work in that situation. It's only when the straw loses it's ability to relieve the pain that people start to see the possibility of even MORE pain and that creates enough fear to start thinking about different ways to fix this. Like, maybe focusing on finding a way of getting your hands out of the citric acid so they can begin to heal.
Now stretch that out over decades and replace physical pain with emotional pain. It's the pain that drives people to think differently. People try to love them better and get trampled on in the process and it destroys relationships. And the sad and very unfortunate part of this process is, once the person hits the pain threshold, and they make the choice to change, the people who love them are usually too busy picking up the pieces of their broken life to have time to love them anymore. But, the second that choice is made (and it 100% must be a voluntary choice), the pain no longer has the power and there MUST be a flood of love to support the process at this point. Maybe for years.
And I don't even know who I'm writing this for, maybe myself but the point is if you're in this situation, and you love someone who is fighting with addictions, save that love for YOU! I know it's impossibly hard and you feel like you're heart is being ripped from your chest and like you're turning your back on people but addiction is nasty shit and it can suck you in like a black hole before you even know what the hell happened. Maybe not to the point that you form an addiction but make no mistake, it can and WILL destroy a life without bias and leave only faint shadows of what used to be that you could end up chasing for the rest of your life.
As twisted and messed up as this sounds, pain is their ONLY friend that can help them get to the point they are ready to make a choice. Save the love for you! You need it more than they do at this point. You can never help them with that love but you can help yourself and keep yourself whole so if/when the day the comes that they do make that choice, you're strong enough to love them when it matters.
One of the hardest things to say to someone you love is:
I love you and I always will, but I need to love myself first.
About the Author
Now in his third decade of recovery from alcohol and other drugs, Mike, is a best-selling self-help author. He's currently working on a revised and updated edition of his book, Change Your Energy, Change Your Life!