7 Rules of Detachment – What I learned when I went to Al-Anon

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Being involved in someone’s life who is struggling with addiction can often be wearing and have negative effects on our own lives if we don’t do something about it.  Luckily there’s a program for family and friends of addicts to help us cope with the feelings of lacking control in the situation and the pain the addicts behaviors take in our own lives, often without them doing any of it intentionally.


Detachment is neither kind nor unkind.  It does not imply judgment or condemnation of the person or situation from which we are detaching- it is simply a way we can protect ourselves.  By separating ourselves from the adverse effects of another’s personal addiction(s), it can be a means of detaching; this does not necessarily require that we physically need to separate.  Detachment can help us look at our situations realistically and objectively.


Addiction is a family disease.  Living with the effects of someone else’s drug use is too devastating for most people to bear without help.  12 step programs like Al Anon teach us that nothing we say or do can cause or stop someone else’s drug addiction or drinking.  We are not responsible for another person’s disease and we are definitely not in control of their recovery from it.


Detachment allows us to let go of our obsession with another’s behavior and begin to lead our own lives, becoming happier and more manageable, living with dignity.  We can still love the person and dislike their behavior.


After going to a few of these meetings and finding a sponsor to help walk me through the steps, I realized some key points or rules rather, of detachment and began to apply them to my own life- which is currently getting better every day.


  1. I learned Not to Suffer because of the actions or reactions of other people.
  2. I learned Not to allow ourselves to be used or abused by others in the interest of another’s recovery.
  3. I learned Not to do for others what they can do for themselves.
  4. I learned Not to manipulate situations so others will eat, go to bed, get up, pay bills, not drink, or behave as we see fit.
  5. I learned Not to cover up for another’s mistakes or misdeeds.
  6. I learned Not to create a crisis.
  7. I learned Not to prevent a crisis if it is in the natural course of events.


Detaching has helped allow me to focus on myself and by doing that my attitude and well-being will both improve.  I am now able to allow the addicts in my life to experience the consequences of their own actions without feeling guilty or responsible.  By loosening my grip on others’, I’ve allowed room for miracles to take place in my own life.


If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction, call Anaheim Lighthouse today.  We can help.





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  • Gabriela Salinas says:

    Thank you, I needed It.

  • Liz S says:

    Its after 2 am here on the east coast and I can’t sleep because of my obsessions and worries about my qualifier. I am grateful to have seen this blog. Thank you.

  • Liz S says:

    I don’t know how to “detach” from my qualifier when the welfare of a small child (hers) is at stake. I have never seen this addressed in Al-Anon. I need help with this.