Being There for Ourselves and Others in Recovery – That Was Then, This is Now
Walking through the holiday season with family members can be tricky.
The thing that makes it especially challenging for me this year is helping my husband keep track of his medication after his rotator cuff surgery without going back to old hovering and controlling behaviors. Watching my mind want to go there, as if the old brain grooves are calling to me, is interesting.
It could be easy to become overly involved, overly controlling, overly watchful, and at times, I feel the urge to do so.
Yet, family recovery, specifically BALM Family Recovery, invites a different way of being there.
Awareness of my inner world, awareness of my husband’s behavior, sharing of facts if called for, all based on a cultivation of the first three steps to Be A Loving Mirror.
BALM step 1 Be the Peace.
To be the peace, when others are in pain and my impulse is to feel that pain inordinately, as in to show it on my face, be right there like glue rather than give space, etc., requires constant inner and outer mindfulness. 4-4-8 Breathing is my constant companion.
At the same time, gratitude for being on this journey with someone in recovery is there as well. One day at a time, as we walk through each day of slowly diminishing pain on the path to healing, we both acknowledge how bad it could be if recovery were not in the picture.
BALM Step 2 Objectively observe
In each moment, I see my husband’s post-surgery behaviors. Rather than lecture or nag about what I am seeing, I jot down concerning facts or simply state the facts I see, briefly without emotion. It looks like this:
“Honey, I’m noticing that your sling needs an adjustment.”
rather than the old
“Can’t you keep your sling in place?”
The first one leads to the two of us adjusting his sling. The second one, to an argument and hurt feelings. Today, I choose the first one.
BALM Step 3 Become aware of your inner emotional landscape.
Seeing my husband ingest the very medications he once used in an unhealthy way is not easy emotionally. I stay aware of inner fear and trepidation and partner with him to follow the doctor’s orders.
The BALM exercise That Was Then, This is Now helps me stay steady. This involves taking a specific challenge and looking at how your loved one was handling it during their using days and how they are handling it now.
In the using days, there was no collaboration on proper use of a prescription. There was secretive, denied use going on and on and on.
Today, there is a specific plan, worked out in advance and being followed, factually, without argument or stress.
In the using days, I was in the background, scorned, distrusted, distrusting, and resented.
Today, I am a partner on the recovery team.
In the using days, drugs were the solution in unlimited quantity and variety.
Today, the prescription is limited and held to. Experts are consulted and worked with. My husband is involved in a healthy approach to his own healing from his surgery and ongoing SUD recovery.
That Was Then This is Now can help me calm jangled nerves and keep things in perspective, thus bringing the third step to a healing place.
Could using this activity help you on your family recovery journey? To obtain a copy of That Was Then, This is Now, click here and ask for a copy of That was Then, This is Now in the comments section of the contact us form.
Be A Loving Mirror!
Beverly A. Buncher, MA, PCC, MRLC, CBC, CTPC
Family Recovery Coach/CEO
Family Recovery Resources, LLC
786 859 4050