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Eff You, Heart (aka Detaching with Love)

Last Wednesday morning I woke up to a missed call and voicemail from my dad, then saw and opened a text message from each parent that let me know Chad had been in a car accident. He was ok, it wasn’t life-threatening. My dad also attached the news story which included a photo of his car. It was laying smashed on its hood in the street, with vehicle parts scattered like sad, silver confetti (uck, even writing this now is drumming up some anxiety, sorry nails for picking apart your beautiful manicure).

Seeing that photo made me lose my shiznit. Immediate tears flew into my eyeballs, and I started pacing around my room on the verge of a panic attack (ok, maybe had a little one that lasted like 30 seconds). But then my heart started catching up with my head: nobody was seriously hurt, it was ok. Stop freaking out, you’ll scare Andy. Don’t project wild scenes of chaos that will never even occur. Get it together. Breathe. Repeat until calm.

Now, pre-recovery Chelsea would have lost it way to the extreme. There would have been bawling, snot everywhere, and probably some drooling too. Followed by me insisting I had to get to Chad’s side ASAP, getting in the car, and crying all the way to him. Proceeded by me obeying his every request while helping him not face reality to the best of my ability. Everyone and everything would have been on hold until I fixed Chad’s situation. Yea, super healthy, right (blushed face emoji)?!

I am so extremely elated the Detachment Fairy came along and whacked me upside the head (think Carol Kane in Scrooged) because I was totally out of control with that impulsive behavior. Not only the rushing in with my sparkly enabler cape on, but also somehow managing to feel utter guilt and shame for something I had nothing to do with nor caused whatsoever! Those days were tiring.


Detachment is something I really suck at doing, but I’ve gotten much better, with a lot of time and practice. It is incredibly hard for me because I care deeply for the people I love, and I hate seeing them hurt in any way (I blame being an emotional Cancer mostly lol). I always want to do anything in my power to “fix” whatever happened to them to cause the hurt. I knew Chad made a mistake. I additionally knew he was going to be fine, and that I needed to give him the dignity to face and deal with his own problems. He’ll never get what he supposed to out of situations if people keep taking care of his business. But thinking of him alone in the hospital with his head split open did a number on my heart.

It was a hard day. I felt terrible I wasn’t there to be by his side, but I know he’s also learned that everyone needs to do what’s best for him/herself and not to manipulate situations. Dragging our 10 month old son on a five-hour car ride, then to sitting in a hospital for hours on end wasn’t going to happen. It was not an option.  Didn’t mean that I did not love Chad, or was teaching him a lesson, or didn’t care. And I know he knows that, that’s the beauty of us both having our own programs to work.

I have learned that I cannot run to the rescue and “fix” every crappy situation. Not my business, not my place. It doesn’t mean I can’t have empathy for others, and be there not to serve them, but simply as a listening ear or hugging arms. I don’t have to make phone calls, run errands, or cover up lies because that is being taken advantage of and doesn’t help either party involved. I had to learn to let go of people’s’ problems. I didn’t cause them, and I sure as hell have no business trying to control the situations. It got to the point where being the f*!k-up police was no longer fun; I didn’t feel very important anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, detaching with love doesn’t mean I’m some hardcore, stone-cold beeotch. It simply means I love you, but I can’t get all up in your dramz because it stresses me out and makes me forget about me. And I have learned I am pretty damn important, too, and deserve my sanity and self-respect. Do I still get emotional? Yes, very much so. But I can reign it back in fairly quickly these days.  I still cry and feel sad, but I think that’s mostly human nature to care and want good for loved ones. The difference is I don’t take it personally, think I have to make it all better, then feel like a failure if the problem isn’t solved or recurs.

I do not think I will ever detach 100% from Chad. We’re connected, he’s my baby brother. I feel like I did fail him when we were younger, should have paid better attention, been a better role model. But I no longer beat myself up for that and allow that sick thinking to say, “See, you’re the reason he wrecked his car!” I am smarter than that now. And he has done such amazing things in his recovery, by himself and with his fellowship. Those friends are the people he needs to turn to now in crisis, not me. It’s not my place and I am totally ok with that.

Be Good, Do Good


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