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Is the world pushing in on you? Push back – One Choice At A Time

BALM | December 2, 2020

Have you ever felt like the world was pushing in on you?

For many families, being in relationship with a person struggling with SUD is like being in a room that is constantly  shrinking…More and more the pressure builds, as if the walls are caving in. Each problem or issue your loved one experiences brings another plank closer to you, another brick falling on your head. And yet you go on, feeling the push, the crush, the decreasing ability to get out from under it all.  And hope decreases as you experience a decreasing number of choices in your life…

Over the past many months  Covid-19  has taken this experience of having less and less space to navigate in and more and more anxiety about wanting to get back out there into an unencumbered life, has moved well beyond the world of families impacted by SUD.

After awhile, it becomes tiring, and what can you do about the fatigue – that constant feeling that you must get out, you must escape  NOW, but you cannot?

A loved one’s addiction combined with the restrictions the pandemic brings  can increase that sense of hopelessness, of powerlessness… Knowing that, in your loved one’s state of mind, he or she may not be capable of adhering to public health measures, you also know that not only they, but you, may be put in greater danger than they already are…

So what is a family to do?

There is no one specific answer that fits all families, though there are many ways to make things better and many ways to make things worse for yourself and for your loved one. The BALM Family Program teaches all of that of course. But if there is one thing we often forget it is the element of choice.

The BALM 7th C teaches that ‘You are always at choice’ and that moving the mind from musts to choices is essential to healing.

It is your choice to wake up in the morning with gratitude and hope in your heart or to stew in the fear, anger, and grief that having a loved one in active SUD can bring.

And of course, each choice we make will ultimately broaden or narrow our choices going forward.

Here is an assignment to help you move your ability to choose forward:

Make a list of everything important to you right now in each of the following areas:

    • my loved one’s struggles
    • my family
    • my  career/job
    • self care
    • friends
    • hobbies

Put a star next to those things you are paying most of your attention to each day.

Put a double star next to those things you want to pay more attention to each day

Put a triple star next to those things you want to learn more about so you can handle them more effectively.

Decide which you will choose to pay full attention to for at least 30 minutes today. Plan for that time on your calendar. Give that thing your full attention for the entire 30 minutes. When done, take a deep breath and move to something else in your life.

Choose your focus, your thoughts, your words, your actions.

Moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day.

Your loved one’s behaviors are emblematic of their current journey.

What is emblematic of yours?

When you make choices that reflect your interests and concerns, you are, in essence, pushing back against the pressure of the shoulds and musts.

Go for it!

And send me an email telling me how it goes with “My Choice for Today” in the subject line.

Be A Loving Mirror





To learn more about the one year BALM Family Recovery Online Education Program click here.

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