On the other side of bitter, we can find the sweet
A BALM Testimonial:
By Joanne Richards
LCSW, Certified Facilitator of The Work, BALM Family Recovery Life Coach
Looking back at the early days of my loved one’s Substance Use Disorder (SUD) can be bittersweet. There was so much ignorance, misunderstanding, and not handling any of it well. I can claim denial and enabling behaviors like arguments and begging, teaching and blaming, and thinking we could love him enough to heal him. But all that was causing even more confusion and pain (that’s the bitter!).
In hindsight, I see the innocence of all of us just not knowing what to do and trying the best we could with what we had, but we all had our own issues too. Either we weren’t finding the most helpful kind of support or weren’t receiving it in a way that was going to help our family. The almost daily occurrence of frequent and intense roller coaster rides, though, was the inspiration to find more information, more specialized support, and for more resources to find ME (this is the sweet!).
Years into experiencing SUD and the family struggles did lead me to develop a foundation for healing including an array of support through groups, self-inquiry, meditation, therapy and more, but still there was something missing. I found myself continually asking “What do I do now? How do I do it?” And then The BALM found me! I saw a reference to The BALM during a webinar and sensed a divine invitation. It called me, so I made the call and joined!
The BALM has filled the gaps and answered lingering questions to supercharge my own healing and show me how to respond effectively. The frequency and intensity of the roller coaster rides that would send me spinning into fear are met with newfound knowledge, so much support and the specialized skills needed to more confidently be pro-active and effective in helping my loved one, my family, and myself.
The BALM guides the way to more peace and to loving without conditions. Of course, we think we’re offering unconditional love but, truth be told, the conditions and judgments just show up. We can find ourselves wanting them to change, we want the addiction over, and we want to change ourselves too! Things are just not good enough especially when they’re spinning out of control! It can be hard to take it one day at a time. It can be hard not to go down the rabbit hole of fear when someone relapses and disappears into the streets. It can be hard to remain calm when someone is hurling verbal attacks or dishes across the room.
The BALM shows us how to compassionately navigate these very common emotions and situations. The BALM also shows us the way to loving well with wisdom, education, deeper inner transformation, and effective skills. It provides the guidance to connect with my loved one and with myself, and manage difficult circumstances, and communicate with skill so that there’s a much better chance that my loved one can hear me. And it helps me practice ways to BE so that I can hear the still voice within that IS love and has the power and ability to meet fear, manipulation, aggression, lies, etc. without contributing to it, but rather contributing to a more peaceful way, hope, choices, and change.
When on this journey of loving someone with SUD, we may come to an understanding of the Serenity Prayer to change what we can. We may understand Gandhi’s guidance to Be the Change You Want to See in the World. But it is not until we actually live these words of wisdom and become self-realized with a depth and consistency that we see the change, that we actually ARE the change. There’s no magic to it, it takes some focused effort and a bit of time. It may take reaching out for additional support. The effect is that change does happen! Recovery happens!
The BALM will meet us anywhere we are to begin the journey, to continue the journey, and to stay on the journey. With so much educational material to inform the way, with classes that teach new skills, with personal and group coaching, with the support of a strong community of other people who understand and are committed to their own journey, it is a journey of transformation, and a way to make a difference with great purpose. The difference can be felt internally and can transfer to all relationships, not just in the relationship with a loved one with SUD. The effect is that change does happen, and we can be a powerful part of it!
The BALM has opened wide the doors towards recovery and clearly maps out the path to be in purpose, and to purposefully share the love and the peace we have been created to be, and to enjoy. And that is how we are going to be our loved one’s best chance at recovery. I used to think drugs were winning. They don’t. Love does! Love with needed education, skills and support are powerful connectors that can be an antidote to the helplessness and hopelessness that can easily interject itself into our minds and hearts. The BALM offers another way!
There’s a song that says, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me”. We have choices. With The BALM, our choices become clearer, more natural and more fluid. I choose peace because it works! I choose love because it works! I choose The BALM – Be A Loving Mirror – because it works! Yes, let it begin with me, and continue with me. How about you?