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Giving Families a Clear Path to Recovery

BALM, Testimonials | October 13, 2018

BALM® Testimonial by:

Chris Prevas, CBC
Certified BALM Family Recovery Life Coach and BALM Parent

My family recovery journey started in December 2008 when we discovered that our daughter (seventeen years old at the time) was caught in the grip of heroin addiction. Although my wife and I suspected that our daughter was dealing with difficult issues, never in my most fevered nightmares did I think that we would ever be face-to-face with opiate addiction in my family. It rocked my world. Fortunately, my wife had enough experience as a high school nurse to know that we were in way over our heads, that we should put our daughter into what would be the first of several in-patient rehabs.

Upon our return home from that first rehab, I was now having to deal with this discovery. My biggest issues were fear, shame, and anger resulting from that toxic combination. I felt isolated and alone without a clue where to turn next. Thankfully, several friends recommended sources of help, mainly Al-Anon, family counselors, and our faith community. From these kind folks, I learned that I was not alone, that there was help from people who had “been there,” and that I could experience inner change to regain both the serenity and the wisdom to move forward. I learned that although I didn’t cause my daughter’s substance use disorder, couldn’t cure it, and couldn’t even control it, I came to understand my part in it and how I contributed to her using due to my anger outbursts and controlling ways. My old ways of coping had become just as compulsive as an addict’s compulsive use of drugs. I needed help. As a friend of mine once put it, I had become sick from drug use and I had never even used myself. Thank God for recovery. I still attend Al-Anon on a weekly basis because I need continuous help to keep my head straight.

Long story short, our daughter eventually came to grips with her illness and sought recovery. She is seven years clean and sober as of this writing, and our relationship has gratefully been restored though both her work and my work. I know that this is not everyone’s story and that drug addiction is claiming lives every day. It’s a heartbreaking reality.

Family recovery is a difficult process because there are painful personal truths to face, a dizzying and confusing array of expensive treatment options, months to years of hard work, and very high stakes: our loved ones’ lives are on the line. Our family’s recovery story is marked by many “ad hoc” attempts to find help, some of which were effective and others that were not. For our family, we kind of pieced it together by praying hard and making our best guesses.

As the years have gone by, I have met many people who have a story similar to mine. While some people dive into recovery headfirst, many others struggle in silence, secrecy, and shame. It is hard to watch this when I know that there a better way. I’m thankful for the guides I met along the way who pointed out the better way to me. My heart goes out to families who are still stuck in this painful place.

I was first introduced to the BALM in early 2015 when my wife, Jill (see her story), found the BALM and enrolled in the Family Recovery Life Coaching program. I got to witness up close the power of the BALM program: both how Jill’s approach to her own recovery shifted into high gear and how much enthusiasm she had at finding a more effective way of helping people like us. The teaching I heard was spot-on, the focus on changing the inner landscape was exactly what I had experienced in my own journey, the use of online meetings and recordings provided both convenience and anonymity, and the community of support provided encouragement to the BALMers to continue in the face of adversity. It is a well-designed package.

In early 2016, Jill suggested that I consider becoming a BALM Family Recovery Life Coach. After prayer, research, and conversations with Bev Buncher, I enrolled in the coaching program. So glad I did. I was already involved in both Twelve-Step sponsorship and recovery ministry at our church: the BALM has provided another way to serve and to give back what I was given so freely in my own journey. I am currently a part-time Family Recovery Life Coach and now have several clients that I am serving. Eventually, I hope to transition into full-time life coaching and my second career. As a side benefit, both my sponsorship and recovery ministry service has stepped up to a new level. Cool.

Family recovery is an arduous process, and it is so helpful to have a guide that can demystify the recovery process, point out the pitfalls, and end the overwhelming sense of loneliness. You can choose to suffer in silence, secrecy, and shame, but we BALMers really hope you don’t.

You don’t have to walk alone.

If you would like Chris as your BALM® Coach call 1-888-998-BALM (2256) option 2 and Tracy will set you up with Chris for a complementary coaching session.

If you would like to learn more about the BALM Comprehensive Family Recovery Education Program CLICK HERE