Self-Centeredness – A Barrier to Detachment

In a recent writing meeting we covered the topic of “detachment with love” and then were given the opportunity to journal about it over the next 15 minutes. This is what I wrote:

I heard a phrase in the reading today about not having the power to change anyone else. Prior to recovery, I was one who wanted power and control over others. I felt it was my duty as a mother and wife — I knew best how to keep my kids safe, teach them responsibility, blah, blah, blah. I was confident that I was the one who knew how to run the household. Heaven forbid if my husband wanted to load the dishwasher, cook a meal, or do the laundry!

I heard the phrase “detachment by amputation” in a local marathon [of meetings]. At that time, my mind immediately went to a news story about a woman who took some radical measures along these lines. I suddenly understood how a wife could get to that point. This scares me. But after more time in my recovery journey, I learned, changed and grew and finally understood what it meant to detach with love.

I have been realizing what effects my self-centeredness has had on me and on those around me. My anger arose when I felt others’ actions were personally directed against me. How self-centered is that? When I think of my spouse’s life before recovery and even before me, I realize he wasn’t acting out in his disease to harm me. Harming me was a side effect that he never had even thought about.

In other areas of my life, I have realized that my anger with people or situations was only played out because I was self-centered and thought only of myself and not of anyone else’s thoughts or reasoning. I hope that with this continued line of thinking and with ongoing recovery work in S-Anon, I can detach with love more fully and maybe then the first line of the Serenity Prayer will come true for me: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”

Reprinted from the Fall 2010 issue of The S-Anews©.

 May 23, 2022

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