The BALM Blog

See all posts

Expecting Others to Do It Your Way? Read This!

The Daily BALM - posts for class members | June 5, 2013

Ever feel like  you wanted something so bad you could taste it?

Like a cool, refreshing lemonade.

Or a summer dip in the pool.

Or a clean house that everyone helped you with, especially your loved one, who hasn’t helped much at all lately?

Or a normal family dinner at a local restaurant where everyone comes and behaves nicely with each other and stays till the end of the meal without any fussing or fighting and then goes home happily without any quick exits to go get drugs or sneak an extra drink?

Or for your newly sober family member to join you in any one of these activities when and where you want them to or anywhere at all?

You don’t ask for much, do you?

Or do you?

If you are related to someone who is newly sober, think again.

For that newly sober person, that cool, refreshing lemonade may be something they previously mixed with their favorite liquor. That summer dip in the pool may be where they went after snorting a line of cocaine. That clean house was something they helped create while searching for valuables to steal so they could buy their drugs. That family dinner may have previously only been bearable because they knew they’d run and get their drug stash right afterward.

Sometimes, a glass of lemonade is just a glass of lemonade and sometimes it is a huge trigger.

When a person just gets out of treatment or is struggling on their own or with help to stay clean and sober, everything can be a trigger.

Staying sober in that first year can be a full time job. If your loved one is fortunate enough to have learned tools in treatment to help them and to have support after treatment to keep them going, chances are they will be applying those tools. This could involve staying away from things that triggered them in the past.

Now that you know that, you can let go of a few things:

  1. the expectation that things will pick up where they left off and they will help you, be your companion, join you at family gatherings, etc., right away or anytime in the first year
  2. the resentment you would have had before you had this understanding when they say “No” to your invites and requests
  3. any expectations of a perfect family life “now that they are sober!”

To learn more about this, please be sure to listen to this week’s Monday Lesson recording: “Early Sobriety 101: Sanity and Serenity for the Family Member Dealing with A Loved One’s Early Sobriety”.

And be sure to come back to this blog tomorrow when we will talk about:  Tip 2 for Family Members during early sobriety: Focus on Yourself!