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Sallie And Dan: A Love Story

Addiction Recovery for Families, Beverly Buncher, Early Sobriety, Family Recovery, The Daily BALM - posts for class members | February 12, 2014

Walking away, she decided to do something. Not having a phone book, she went to the only reliable guide she knew: google and put in “wife of addict desparate for help.”

What came up were all of these sites for families of addicts and a bunch of articles and blogs:

‘Family Treatment – get away from your spouse for a week and go within’ read one.

‘We understand’ said another.

She scrolled down the page until she found it.

‘Family Recovery Resources, LLC – Home of BALM®’

BALM®? She thought. I could use a soothing balm® right now. Wonder what that’s all about.

And that’s where her journey began.

She picked up the phone and dialed 786-859-4050.

“Family Recovery Resources, Bev speaking,” I answered, hoping there would be someone I could help on the other end of the line.

“Hi, I need help with my husband. He uses drugs.”

“Yes, and how can I help you?”

Sallie poured out her story of lies, deceits, crying herself to sleep at night, sleeping in her own bed alone night after night for year after year. She was married yet alone, her husband caught in his web of addiction with its lies and demands.

I just listened, waiting for her to finish. After about 10 minutes, an opening came. The question I asked was:

“What has your role been in all of this Sallie?”

“Well,” she responded,  “ I’ve been a good wife. I’ve worked and cooked and cleaned and been a good listener. I’ve tried my best to be a friend to my husband and a good mother to our children, but still, he keeps going back to his drug and his drug dealer and after all these years, I’m just tired of the same old conversation again and again – with me accusing and him denying. I just don’t trust him and I’m tired of being with someone I simply don’t trust.”

“And what have you done to make your life sparkle and shine?”

“I’m not sure what you mean. I’m a wife, a mother, a worker. I don’t have much time for sparkle or shine, other than on the kitchen floor.”

I paused to look into her eyes. No, she wasn’t kidding and she wasn’t being sarcastic.

“What I mean, Sallie, is, what do you do to take care of yourself?”

She laughed. “Take care of myself? Are you kidding? I barely have time to take care of my cat with all of the work I do. Who are you anyway? I called you because my husband is using drugs and you ask about my self care? Sounds kind of ridiculous.”

I could see I had my work cut out for me. But this was exactly the kind of conversation I enjoyed. I’d been working in the family recovery field for many years, and I could see great potential in Sallie. She just didn’t know it yet.

“Sallie? I asked. “What do you know about recovery from drug addiction?”

“Just what I see on TV,” she said. “Not much more. I have been trying to get my husband to stop using for almost 30 years and no matter how hard I try he always goes back to it. It’s like his mistress and I’m the spurned wife.”

“I hear you,” I said, knowing full well how much that could hurt.

“well, what if I told you I could help you with that?”

“You can get my husband to stop?”

“I can’t promise that,” I said slowly, “but I can promise that I can help you get your life back …and that you will have a much better chance of helping him than you have ever had. In fact, here at FRR, we like to say you are your loved one’s BEST chance at recovery.”

“I’ve always thought so,” she said sadly, “But I’m out of ideas.”

Sallie and I spent the next 20 minutes talking about some of the things she had tried, like:

  • Bailing him out of jail
  • Paying his dealer off
  • Believing his promises again and again
  • Lying to his boss
  • Trying his latest drug with him
  • Kicking him out of the house only to let him right back in…

“But none of those helped make things better,” she confided. “In fact, they just got worse.”

“Would you be willing to try something new?” I asked cautiously.

“Like what?” she replied.

“Well, I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve. We call our method Be A Loving Mirror or BALM® and it is about developing an …”

At that point, I heard screaming in the background and Sallie abruptly excused herself for a moment. When she came back, she said she had to go and help her husband take care of something. But before she left, we set up an appointment to talk about how I could help her learn more about BALM® and get her life back.

When I first meet family members, there is often a heaviness, energetically, that seems to be pulling them down physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s almost as if the burden of dealing with a drinking or using relative is killing them, too, not only their loved one.

But I had hope. And looked forward to my next meeting with Sallie. You may understand this if you’ve been where Sallie has been. Things don’t always get better.

You may have missed parts of Sallie or Melissa’s story. If you’d like to read more about Melissa, her family members and the tips I mentioned earlier, you can go to the upper right hand side of this page and add your best email address to receive a free guide to being in relationship with a loved one who is dealing with addiction. It tells you a bit more about “Being a Loving Mirror”. You’ll also be able to follow stories like Millie’s through regular emails delivered to your inbox.

One more thing… Do you know a Millie, a Tom, or a Melissa? Share these stories with them.