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Are you clear about what is going on with your loved one?

Addiction Recovery for Families, Beverly Buncher, Early Sobriety, Family Recovery | November 18, 2014

One of the most common answers family members new to coaching give when asked to detail what is actually going on with their loved one is, “I don’t know.”

I don’t know.

If you have a loved one who struggles with addictive behaviors, you are probably familiar with the phrase. “I don’t know.”

So, here is something you can do the next time you are trying to figure out what IS actually going on:

Make a list of every fact you are clear about, every single behavior you have seen, every word or sentence you have heard that could be giving you clues as to the what is actually going on with your loved one.

This work, of making a list of everything you know – Just the facts – No Interpretations – No opinions – No judgments – can clear up so much of the confusion between your ears.

Then, simply look at both lists and see what comes up for you.

Write that down.

Here is how it could go:

What I know:

1. Sally walked in yesterday swaying from left to right.

2. her words were slurring

3. her jaw was swollen as if she had been beat up

4. she smelled like alcohol.

5. This exact same scenario happened last week and the week before.

6. her grades in school are dropping

7. she lost her part time job.

Here is what I do not know:

1. is she an alcoholic or is she just struggling in school and using drinking to numb herself?

2. is she drunk driving?

3. what action do I need to take


not sure if the label matters, but her behaviors are not helping her succeed right now.

She may be drunk driving.

I need to consider taking away the keys to her car.


This simple exercise can have a powerful effect on a family member. Just getting clear about what you know and what you don’t know can help you break through the fog of inaction.

Often, there are 10 or more things you do no, and only 1-3 you don’t. Yet those 1-3 can be so scary that a person is willing to stay in denial in order to not answer them.

To set up a complimentary coaching session with a BALM® Family Recovery Coach who can take you through this process and help you discover your next best steps with a loved one and/or for yourself, go to this web page: Complimentary Consultation with a Family Recovery Coach.