How Do You Detach?



t’s been 3 years since my sister’s addiction and turning on me in the process. I have been to Alanon, talked to friends, boyfriend, son and researched how to get over this, yet I am struggling. I know I am letting this affect my daily life, even though I try so hard everyday to fight this. It’s a rollercoaster for me.
I have read about detachment and have practiced it but it’s not “black and white” for me. I have started writing a mini ebook about my emotions as I can’t find anything out there that I can relate to. I have to constantly keep my mind busy so it doesn’t drift back to my sister.
I would appreciate any advice or suggestions on how to get past this. I have lost a husband and have survived so many life challenges, but this one keeps haunting me daily. Thank you.


I have found it easier to detach to protect myself when needed when I feel like my loved one is safe. That doesn’t mean I have to be the one doing the saving. Is there anyone else in your sister’s life who could help be part of the support team? Maybe if there was a small group of you checking in, staying in touch, planning activities, it wouldn’t feel quite so overwhelming.

Another idea is to take a mini-vacation from worrying. Just give yourself this day, or this week, or this month. Focus on your self-care and when you return you might feel a little more strength in facing things.

What do you think?


Polly- I think that is the problem - she is never going to be “safe”. Matter of fact, I found out that she received a DUI on 12-4-18. She doesn’t know that I know this. She lives a very risky life now and I know there is nothing I can do about that. There isn’t anyone else that I can include on her support system. She has made the choice to not have one.

I think I like your other idea of taking a mini-vacation from worrying. I am still having such a hard time getting her out of my mind, literally. I miss the “old” sister I had and I know now she is never coming back. I think she has drank so much now, that it has sadly affected her brain. I haven’t seen her in 3 years, she won’t tell me where she lives, and treats me like I am the enemy instead of the husband that abused her and now her son has followed suit. Instead of getting mad at her abusers, she is mad at me for trying to get her help. I guess I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around why she is so mad at me when all I did for years was listen to her, watched her being abused and tried to get her out.
I guess I need to redirect myself and focus on my self-care again. Thank you.


I hear what you’re saying about missing the “old” person @dbfbilly1. I am “mourning” the loss of my dad as I knew him, and trying to establish a relationship with this “new” version of him.


Often times our loved ones choose to shut us out because they are ashamed, they want to overcome things then come back and show us they’ve been strong but it’s too much to ask. This is part of the stigma we are fighting in trying to fight for our loved one’s lives.

Does she live far from you?

One way to reconnect is to find a neutral territory to do so on. If you were close by, you could schedule a movie night. No expectations, just connection and a movie. Show her there is something outside her drinking habit. Could you call for a chat - again no expectations?

Just a few more ideas. I’m a sucker for not giving up either :slight_smile: but I think it’s a good thing.

Also, I love @carolzevallos perspective and work through this in perhaps a somewhat similar relationship - see this post here.


Thank you everyone. I watched a GREAT movie on Amazon Prime last night: Beautiful Boy, and it deals with drug addiction of a son and family. I guess one of the hard parts for me is she has chosen to shut me out of her life, unless she is drunk. I have read a lot on co-dependency yesterday and I guess I didn’t understand the true meaning and it seems to apply to me. I still have a lot to learn about myself in this journey. Thank you for this place to vent our “real” feelings!


Meditation and mindfullness. A great book I used to help deal with my struggling mind was Eckhart Tolle’s “Power of Now”. I re read it whenever I feel myself going downhill. Helps me detach from my mind and my obsessive, negative or addictive thoughts. You shouldn’t need to keep your mind busy to distract you from your thoughts, you can, with practice, sit in seperation from your mind and feel calmness.


@dbfbilly1 Thank you for bringing this movie to light! I’m a huge Timothée Chalamet fan (starring role) and I’ve been wanting to see this for a while, considering the importance it places on the role of family in addiction. Will def check it out!


Great book recommendation @Dean_Acton! That book really affected my understanding of “the now” (obviously) as a “micro-moment.” Hard to explain here, but definitely helps keep me grounded/mindful.


Dean - I haven’t thought of that concept that you don’t have to keep your mind busy? That is the only way I have coped with this since the start. However, I have been forced to rethink this approach since my hand surgeries month and that kept me from doing anything with my hands until recently. Thank you for making me think of this in a different way.