Listening is the Key to Your Recovery and to Your Being Your Loved One’s Best Chance
Updated June 3rd, 2019
How well do you listen?
If you are the parent or spouse of a person struggling with a substance use disorder or other addictive behaviors, your life and theirs could depend on your growing your listening skills.
For instance, Candy’s son has been smoking pot since the age of 13. At first, he was just more relaxed and less anxious. Then his grades began to fall.
His teachers said maybe he had an undiagnosed learning disability or ADD (beware of these diagnoses popping up in middle school! they may be a sign of early experimentation with substances or even early addiction).
Soon, he began to change his friends, his habits, his clothes. He lost interest in sports and reading and his ambitions began to fade. When she questioned him, he told her he was simply living in the moment.
Candy says she didn’t listen very well at first. They told her he had an undiagnosed learning disability only now showing up since the work was harder. Her previously all B student son had never shown any sign of a problem, but now, his learning seemed to be in total disarray. She asked him what was going on and he answered, “I’m bored is all mom. Same old thing. I’m so beyond all of this.”
When they tested him for the ADD, she did not ask for a drug test and they didn’t offer one.
Had they done so, many things may have been different. Instead, his use showed up as that learning problem they said he might have. So they put him in special classes and gave him help that didn’t help with the core problem: his using.
5 years later, he did graduate from school and he went off to college…In the middle of semester one, he crashed. No amount of special help could assist him in overcoming the lifestyle he had access to 24/7: drinking, smoking pot, trying various pills…
He was put on probation and of course, told his parents he was, like all of his friends, just experimenting.
They listened to his words, not to his behaviors. And things got worse. At a certain point, Candy came in contact with a BALM® Coach and began to learn a new way to listen.
Her coach explained that listening is a deep thing. It involves watching too. Seeing what is going on. Becoming educated about substances, habits, and dependence. Learning how to set and stick to boundaries and seeing what happens next.
It also involves speaking with experts from a variety of fields to get to what is really going on and getting an assessment to see what is really going on with your loved one.
For Candy, listening also came to involve prayer, the silent inner work of asking for help and listening to the inner answers, watching to see what happens in day to day life to move things along.
Eventually, Candy learned to speak with her son more authentically. Rather than screaming, panicking, begging, yelling and giving him whatever he wanted, she listened deeply to what he was saying, shared the facts of what she was seeing, and asked powerful questions to help him look at himself more clearly.
She found, during this time, with the help of her coach and the BALM®, that asking powerful, open-ended questions of herself, her son, and the experts, and listening deeply, even intuitively to what she was hearing, were all crucial components to her becoming his best chance at recovery AND to getting her life back in the process.
She sees her son as on his own journey and her role as a supportive, loving person who shares the facts with him about what she is seeing, sets boundaries as needed, and accepts her own limitations to fix things, while also knowing her enormous power to contribute to a potentially positive outcome.
In other words, Candy has learned to Be A Loving Mirror® and has found that it all starts with listening.
How is YOUR listening?
Be A Loving Mirror®!
If you would like to learn more about the BALM® Family Recovery Program CLICK HERE.