Thoughts on the difference between detachment & non-attachment?


Not sure where I saw this question elsewhere - maybe an inspirational quote on Instagram :sparkles: - and thought it was an interesting distinction.

What are your thoughts?!


I’ve been pondering this but I have never heard the term non-attachment before so its hard to come up with a thought on it. I’ll give it a shot though - detachment is when you completely disengage with someone, you don’t see them, talk to them, help them. Non-attachment is when you have the person in your life but you don’t allow yourself to get caught up int he drama and horrors of addiction, you love them but keep yourself protected with solid boundaries. Hope that makes sense


Yah, it caught my attention when I saw it! Your answer makes total sense.

Detachment, to me, is like separating yourself from your loved one… and if connection is the opposite of addiction, then separation doesn’t make much sense! Non-attachment, on the other hand, offers up the possibility of connection without any attachment to a specific outcome.

Thanks for sharing @AnthonysMom.


I have always heard detaching with love as opposed to non attachment or detachment.


And I’m curious, what do those terms mean to you personally?


To me, detaching with love is more about protecting yourself. I don’t view it is disconnection. I view it as connection with your loved one but closer connection with yourself. I know what it means to me in words but I have no idea how to actually act it out in real life. Right now I feel so attached to him but more so my ideas of what he should be. I can’t let go of my expectations. I feel like non attachment it’s literally like nothing, no connection, no love, no feelings


I haven’t heard of non attachment. To me, detachment means a number of things (many of which I have learned through Al-Anon as well as individual therapy). Detaching from certain outcomes and expectations that I might have - holding on to possible outcomes keeps me from living in the present moment. Detaching the addiction from the good man I know my husband to be. Detaching from my loved one to be able to stand in my own space - take care of myself and not depend on his happiness for my own happiness. Just because he might be suffering from active addiction or having a bad day doesn’t mean I have to let that affect my happiness. Physically detaching - having to pick up and temporarily leave my husband when he was in active addiction because the cycle of lies and distrust in our home was affecting my own mental health. But it didn’t mean I was not connecting with him or was not willing to be there for him. I had to set boundaries for my own health and the safety of our son, and one of those was “I will support you as long as you work at your recovery. I will not live in a home of lies and hurt.” This thread makes me realize we need to be careful with the words we use as they mean something different to everyone. Detachment was hard for me because for a long time I thought that because I’m married to my husband, then we share a life. But I have my own life and my own health to take care of and it’s the only life I have control over.


So interesting how language shapes our understanding of our reality isn’t it?! Thank you for sharing!


Love hearing your perspective @momentsandlight! Thank you!


Yes! I love your compassionate and intelligent break down of how you see things.

I’ve always found the slogan ‘detach with love’ a bit dangerous because there’s a lot of nuance involved and I think taken at face value it risks disempowering us to work on our loved one’s betterment. I’m the first to say - first we need to take care of ourselves. But I want people to know there are ways we can support and drive towards real positive change <3