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“My Husband is in Early Sobriety. How Do I Cope with His Ups and Downs?”

BALM | January 2, 2015

“My Husband is in Early Sobriety. How Do I Cope with His Ups and Downs?”

I was recently asked this question by one of our readers.

During the early days, even up to a year, a tremendous amount of energy goes into simply staying sober. But that is not all.

Relating to someone in early sobriety is like getting to know a new person. One important thing to remember is that not only are YOU getting to know a new person, but so is the person him or herself!

As the person’s brain heals, they will be thinking differently than they have thought in a very long time. And, many of the ways they view things may be unfamiliar, even to them!

Of course, this can have its positive aspects, but it can also involve a roller coaster of unexpected feelings without the usual ways to medicate them.

Two things can really help the family member get through this time:

1. a strong focus on one’s own recovery. Building your own healthy lifestyle separate from theirs will be crucial. While it will be very tempting to hover, to wonder if they are getting it together, to want to help them in any way you can, the fact of the matter is that you are MOST helpful when you learn new ways to be, speak, and behave, too. When family members learn how to BALM® (Be A Loving Mirror) in their own and their loved one’s lives, they can build a serene and enjoyable life for themselves, even amid their loved one’s ups and downs.

2. learn how to Be A Loving Mirror. This process of becoming calm inside, observing and documenting your loved one’s difficult behaviors, dealing with your own emotions fully, scripting and then having BALM® conversations with them,  when necessary, setting a boundary, can have a powerful impact on your own recovery AND theirs. First of all, it allows you to be aware of what is going on with them without becoming confused or overwhelmed with fear. Then, each time you plan for and share a loving conversation with them that tells them the facts of their behaviors, you get to, in essence, vent – only not in a toxic way. Finally, you give them the chance to hear a non-judgmental view of what they are up to.

As you will read in other blogs and BALM® materials, we say that Denial is the Lynchpin of the Addictive System. BALM® pulls you out of denial. When you get out and stay out of denial, you are able to lovingly share the facts with your loved one. The loving approach goes under the radar of their denial and as a result, begins to break it down.

It is much easier for an addict to stay in denial when those around them comply to some extent.

Your job, as a loving family member or friend, is to stay completely OUT of denial so you can be the person advocating for recovery without nagging, pleading, or begging.

You practice BALM® and your are naturally that advocate.

What a great way to start the year!