“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All persons are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the inter-related structure of reality.” — Martin Luther King
A core feature of helping a loved one recover from addiction is the awareness and practice of mutuality. That is, feeling in common with their situation and communicating to them that their addiction belongs equally to or is shared alike by both of you. How is this possible and how does this help?
The principle of mutuality changes your perception of how a loved one’s addiction relates to you and how influential you can be in helping them. It rests on the notion that in a ‘real’ sense all life is inter-related. Many of the recent discoveries in Physics confirms the actuality of this idea. If you are interested, here’s a link to a TED talk about the scientific research related to interconnectedness. When you acknowledge that your behavior and the ways you relate to a loved one affect their motivation to change, the power of mutuality becomes apparent.
There are numerous common examples of the truth of this idea. Have you observed how your mood affects those around you and vice versa? Would relating to your loved one as a whole person, change how they feel about themselves or the quality of your relationship? Would expressing a genuine interest in a loved one’s experience of addiction help them to reflect on and become more aware of the possible factors contributing to their addiction? These are examples of this principle in action.
The reason this is so important to understand when wanting to motivate a loved one is that when you make the changes you want, your example empowers them and automatically fuels their desire for change. How cool is that? If you want a loved one to take better care of themselves, one powerful way to help them is to take better care of yourself. You are modeling the behavior you want to see but you are also creating a resonance and alignment with the part of them that wants the new behavior. You are lining up with the energy of change in them and giving it more power. This is one of the most effective ways to support a loved one. It reinforces the motivation for change and establishes a bond of mutuality in your shared journey of recovery.
Aiding a loved one in this way can support them in their challenge with addiction. It is a holistic way of partnering with them that has a very real and positive impact. Mutuality provides a win/win for both of you. It also gives an outlet for your caring that offers true support and provides you with reassurance that you can indeed help a loved one to overcome addiction.