Making a Choice to Be Grateful
As I ponder this holiday season, I find myself with some things in my life being exactly the way I want them and others not at all. Feeling that sense of inner turmoil about things outside of my immediate control, takes me back to the early days of our family recovery when the idea of my loved one being in recovery was nothing more than a dream…
Often when families first come into the BALM, the overwhelm of a loved one’s struggles with their use disorder and its effects on the family are all the family members are thinking and talking about. After awhile, seeing that there are some things that are going well in the lives of individuals and the family as a whole, and even in the loved one’s life, becomes almost impossible.
It is as if negative lenses have taken over their inner and outer visioning and all they see is the frightening reality of the crisis their family is facing.
This description is not a judgment. When a loved one’s very life is at stake, everyone who loves them is affected.
The question is, how best to help AND at the same time not be overcome by the situation?
Of course, you BALMers out there know that is the essence of what the BALM teaches us in great detail. While being our loved one’s BEST chance is often what brings us to the BALM, the dual focus is what keeps us on the path:.
Get YOUR life back while helping your loved one get theirs back!
And getting our lives back helps us do the work of helping our loved ones.
Whether you are someone facing active use or you or your loved one have been in recovery for awhile but you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the struggles of life, try this with me, will you?
Take out a piece of paper and make a T chart. On the left, list all the things going the way you want them to and on the right all the things that aren’t.
If you are finding it easier to list the things that are not the way you want them to be, take a deep breath and embrace this moment. Imagine your eyes as a camera with a lens able to make close things seem distant and allow all of those things that are troubling you to sit on the right side of the list which you are now adjusting to grow distant in your mind’s eye just for this moment.
As you do so, focus on the left side of your list, the ‘things going right’ side.
Look at the details of your life, the moment by moment pieces of your life, who you are, how you interact with the world and see if you can fill in that left side with things that are working for you. Do your best to be as objective and detailed as it takes.
For instance, think about your health, that of your loved ones, your relationships with family and friends, your financials, your work, your possessions, your inner life, your recovery, your housing situation, your loved one’s recovery.
If this is a particularly difficult period of your life, you may have to search deep within for the things that are going right or you may need to go to the very things you most take for granted…things like having eyes to see, ears to hear, legs to walk, hands to write and type, food to eat.
So back to your list, what’s going right?
And what will help you focus on that?
For me, the list of things to be grateful is so long. Yet, when life gets challenging, I can forget those things and focus on the things that are not going my way. The difference today is, instead of that sad and upset perspective running me for days, weeks and months at a time, I feel the difference quickly between my usual inner peace and gratitude and the turmoil of the moment.
My BALM path includes a quick check like the list I asked you to write. In the beginning I had to write the list. After awhile it bubbles up more quickly from within. What really is going right and what’s going wrong?
The inner realization of both being present helps to balance me so I can then celebrate the good even in the middle of struggle. Then, on that basis, I look at the lists of things not working more objectively, figure out which are mine to solve, which belong to others to solve, and which are up to a Power greater than all of us to deal with.
The Loving Path is one of knowing what is my business and what is not. This allows me to get to work on doing my part to make things better in the difficult situations, while still enjoying the moments of my life with gratitude and love.
If this season of holidays is challenging for you, join us for a series of support calls during the last two weeks of the year.
Happy Holidays everyone
Bev and the BALM Team
Be A Loving Mirror!
Beverly A. Buncher, MA, PCC, MRLC, CTPC
Family Recovery Coach/CEO
Family Recovery Resources, LLC
786 859 4050