“Y’all Take Care”
A common Southern farewell is “Y’all take care.”
I’ve used this expression for as long as I can remember, in large part because I’m a southerner and it’s just what we say. It has a sincere ring to it when offered to a friend after a visit or when finishing a phone conversation.
The phrase begs the question, “How exactly does one ‘take care?’”
A former pastor once asked that question and it got me to thinking. Is there a take care pill? Is it like cough syrup that we pour into a spoon and swallow?
In the context of recovery, few of us take care of ourselves. We chase after our addicted loved ones, wearing ourselves out physically, spiritually, financially and emotionally. Allow me to offer a few suggestions on “taking care.”
- If your addicted loved one is your child, it is important for you and your spouse to have alone time to regroup and rekindle. The focus tends to gravitate to the problem child and the marital relationship suffers in its wake. Try talking about something other than your addict.
- If the addict is your spouse, take the children out for a treat. Give them a break from the chaos. It doesn’t have to be an expensive break; get an ice cream cone or go to a park and throw a football or Frisbee. Change their environment for a little while to give them a fresh perspective.
- Take a walk and reflect on your addict’s positive qualities. Remember your addict’s actions are usually the result of drugs, alcohol or other behaviors and not their clear-minded choices. Look for ways to reinforce the positive and extend grace with the negative.
- Make sure you are physically safe. Sometimes drugs and alcohol create monsters out of our loved ones and physical safety is compromised. If there are small children in the home, make sure they are safe. If necessary, have them stay with family members until the situation stabilizes. A call to 9-1-1 may be required to remove a belligerent family member from the home.
- Don’t forget the needs of all family members. Too often the squeaky wheel gets the oil and the other members are neglected. This creates a breeding ground for resentments that have long-term effects and sometimes cannot be overcome. Discuss with your children how they feel about their sibling’s actions and validate them.
- Take time to meditate on God’s Word. Scriptures provide great solace to a troubled spirit and answers to many questions that arise.
- Spend time in prayer, asking God for guidance in living with your addicted loved one. Remember prayer is a two-way conversation—be still and listen for His voice.
- Take each day as it comes—one day at a time. We can’t predict tomorrow or next week or next year. We have today. Let’s live it to its fullest.
“Take care and y’all come back now, ya hear?”
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