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Are you losing hope? There is help…

BALM | August 14, 2021

Last week, we returned to our home from a six month hiatus from everyday living. The ‘break’,  which you may recall began with burst pipes that caused a hole in our celling. That hole soon sent water rushing across the floor in a torrent that unleashed 5 and 1/2 half months of hotel and apartment living in Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

We never imagined as we were rushing from leak to leak, filling pot after pot and bowl after bowl with falling water, that the future would bring us not only many tears and frustrations, but also many new friends, experiences and opportunities far beyond what we could imagine in the waning days of the past year and a half of pandemic isolation.

And yet, now, six months later, we are back in our home, with a new kitchen and new floors throughout, filled with gratitude for a new view not only of my home, but also of my life and how i want to live it going forward.

I remember when I told many of you that our home had become inhabitable, you expressed shock and compassion for our situation. In more than a few cases, I expressed what I truly felt at the time, that we were ‘going on a new adventure.’

May i be honest?

That perspective faded within a month, after realizing that hotel life, though cofortable, was not home; that it could be at least one to two more months (ha!) before we would be able to return to our home, and that insurance didn’t really think our problem was worth fixing at the needed level as promised in our policy. Despite many phone calls, letters, and conversations between the insurance company adjusters, our contractors, and us, they wouldn’t budge and kept telling us to start the work or find a cheaper contractor.

I quickly felt scared, angry and despairing, at what I saw at the time as a potentially hopeless situation. Most of our furniture and belongings had been  packed up and moved from room to room in our home as the contractors had lifted the floors throughout the house. And there it sat as we waited for money to fix the home. Dust rose as did the smell the water left in the walls and furniture. Without funds to fix our home and an unbearable smell in it, we found ourselves moving to a 2 room suite with 2 dogs and the few items of clothing, cutlery, nonperishable foods and books we were able to fit into our suitcases.

As a solution-oriented BALMer, I knew there must be a solution to this seemingly impossible problem. So I began to share our dilemma with members of the BALM community, a beautiful conglomeration of hundreds of resourceful individuals and families always willing to share their knowledge and understanding with each other.  And one BALMer told me about the field of Insurance Advocacy, a field of professionals dedicated to advocating for people like us whose insurance companies were not responding to their families’ needs.

As soon as we connected with an Insurance Advocate, months of negotiating and at times fighting with the insurance company began.By May, our contractors began the process of remodeling our home. By June, with repair well on its way but still having a couple of months to go, we were just about exhausted from living in a hotel and the insurance company, with the guidance and encouragement of our Insurance Advocates,  gave us the permission and funds to live out of town until our home was ready to move back into.

So, we got into our car and drove across country for the next two months, spending time watching our granddaughter ride her horse in Lexington, Kentucky and Traverse city Michigan, visiting my sister and niece in Ohio, and spending 6 weeks in our home town of Pittsburgh, where we visited with beloved family and friends we had not seen for years, and immersed ourselves in the familiar and missed smells and sounds of the place where we were both raised. It was truly a summer to remember and it all arose out of a freezing winter storm and burst pipes in our ceiling that interrupted our daily lives and pushed us out of our home.

So, too, we families of persons with SUD are struck with challenges far beyond our comprehension. Our beloved loved ones find themselves caught in a web they seem unable to escape and we feel hopeless and helpless in our quest to help them.

Then we arrive at the BALM, where we find countless helpful resources, a community of friends who understand our dilemma, and the opportunity to work with coaches who can guide us personally through the maze of addiction and recovery resources so we can be of optimal help to our loved one and our family.

Had I turned away from the guidance of my knowledgeable BALM friend to engage with an Insurance Advocate, not wanting to pay someone for something I should have been able to figure out for myself, we might still be out of our home, would not have had the amazing experiences of summer, and i may have moved from despair to bitterness.

How much more serious is the dilemma of families when they arrive at the BALM.

Lives are at stake.

Consider the options ahead of you. Give us a call and let’s get you started on the Loving Path to Family Recovery.


Bev Buncher

1-888-998-2256 ext 5 – ask for Karen, our Outreach Coordinator