+ Pain is Mandatory. Suffering is Optional - Wayne Dyer's Take on This Slogan - and Mine - BALM

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Pain is Mandatory. Suffering is Optional – Wayne Dyer’s Take on This Slogan – and Mine

BALM | September 2, 2015

” ‘I release the need to determine how things “should” be.’

If you are suffering in your life right now, I guarantee that this condition is tied up with

some kind of attachment to how you think things should be going.”

Dr Wayne Dyer – 1940-2015”

Dr. Wayne Dyer began his career as an educator and ended his life as an educator. First he taught high schoolers, then became a guidance counselor, then a college professor, then a writer. His career trajectory didn’t change what he did, just how he did it. If you are over 40, you may remember when his first book, Your Erroneous Zones came out and from there he wrote book after book encouraging people to self-actualize, and travelled the world sharing his message with seekers everywhere.

Much of his writings sync well with recovery. In the 12 step rooms, there is a slogan: Pain is Mandatory. Suffering is Optional.  The quote at the top of this blog explains one way that suffering can come about: through a focus on thwarted expectations.

I have worked with many hundreds of families affected by the addiction of a loved one. Often, one of the first words out of a family member’s mouth is:

  • It wasn’t supposed to be this way – or
  • This is not what I planned – or
  • My life has gone all wrong – or
  • I wasn’t born for this type of life – or
  • ………

Yet, here we all are in families with a challenge.

So, now that it IS this way, regardless of what we planned, we have a choice:

to be miserable and confused and unhappy and completely at a loss as to how to go on without emotionally muddling our way through it all


to become aware that the most important change that needs to happen in our lives is not a transformation of the person suffering from an addiction, but rather, how we view ourselves, them, our life and theirs.

If I see my suffering loved one with compassion and empathy, my anger will dissapate.

If I accept that their life and death distress is not an affront against the life I had hoped for but an opportunity for me to understand what it means to be loving on a much deeper level, my heart will expand and my brain will learn a new way to process my situation.

Our 7 Steps to BALM course is available to all BALMer’s after they have been in the Daily BALM® for a few weeks. This course teaches family members how to focus first on creating an inner attitudinal shift, and on that basis, how to communicate what they are seeing their loved one say and do with loving intention, clarity, and love.

In the meantime, graduates of this 8 week course often share that they have found a new ability to:

  • see their lives in a new light
  • see the gift of their loved ones’ challenges
  • get out of denial about what is happening in their family
  • become effective encouragers of their loved one’s recovery


The only person you can change is you. Yet, when you learn the BALM® way of loving, your words and behaviors are often able to travel under the radar of your loved one’s denial and straight into their heart.

When we see our lives as an opportunity to grow rather than as a burden to bear, new possibilities of hope, growth, and change become available to us.

And while it IS painful to watch a loved one struggle with their addictive behaviors, we come to realize that we are not helping them or ourselves when we choose to focus on what we would rather have as reality. That only produces suffering. Learn to BALM® so you can leave your suffering by the wayside.

Be A Loving Mirror!

Beverly A. Buncher, MA, PCC, MRLC, CTPC

Family Recovery Coach/CEO

Family Recovery Resources, LLC



786 859 4050