“She Refuses to Go to a Sober Living Environment after Treatment”
Have you ever asked your loved one to consider a longer term treatment experience or to consider the possibility of going to a Recovery Residence (sober living, halfway house) afterward?
If you are like many family members, you see the value, but when your loved one says, “No way,” you stop there. You are stymied.
“After all, it is their life,” you may say.
“I can’t make them do something they don’t want them to do.”
But there is a big difference between ‘making someone do something they don’t want to do’ and using leverage to help them make a decision to do what you and the professionals treating them understand to be best for them.
I’ll never forget my sponsor’s words when I told her I could not restrict my husband from coming home after treatment.”He can do whatever he wants. The question is, what will you be a part of?” (Good old boundary setting – see Lesson 7 of The Daily BALM® and Step 7 of The 7 Steps to BALM®)
Her words are seared in my memory because I took them to heart and following her lead led our family to a world of recovery!
Of course it was difficult for me to comprehend at that time…and very hard to follow through on, but I did.
After all, my husband’s relapse had been running us for years and everytime I had demanded something in the past he had laughed in my face.
His favorite line was, “I’m not leaving. You leave.” And his bravado and rage stopped me in my tracks over and over again.
In some ways, it was very much like the slow boiling frog story. It started slowly and before we knew it, things were at a boil and we are all about to perish.
What I know is that this same story plays out in homes around the world.
We are a funny lot, we co-addicts. Untreated, we are just as caught up in the world of addiction, and just as blind to our options, as our using loved one is to his.
Yet, once we wake up and see that this disease of addiction is KILLING him and the disease of co-addiction is KILLING us, we jump out of the pot and only then are we able to truly help our loved one jump out of the boiling water as well.
If my husband had had diabetes at that time, I would have had no problem requiring that he take care of himself. i would have been able to say important, difficult things to him, to stand up for his health to his face.
But he didn’t. He was suffering from multiple addictions, and I was afraid to take a stand.
Breathing deeply, I took my stand in stages:
- BALM® conversation stating the facts of his behaviors and that he had a specified amount of time to tell me which of his addictions were active.
- BALM® letter lovingly reiterating the facts and what I would and would not abide by
- Assisting him in getting admitted to a detox
- Being an active participant in working with his detox center to help choose his treatment center
- Asking the treatment team to guide him to sign me on as an authorized person for them to speak to about his treatment planning
- Establishing myself as a member of the treatment team (the family belongs on the treatment team) as soon as he got there
- Asking the treatment center to keep him as long as humanly possible so he had the best chance of being well
- Attending ALL family programs, getting individual therapy, going to couples therapy with him once he was ready
- Telling him at every family meeting and session that he had to stay in treatment for as long as possible and go to a sober environment (recovery residence, sober living or halfway house) until his treatment center and therapists felt he was ready to come home and until I was ready to have him home
- Sharing the facts clearly, openly, with the treatment center, with him
- Learning how to let go of the anger (with a lot of help from the treatment center family program therapists, my coach, my sponsor, my meetings)
Up until today and hopefully always, we continue having loving BALM® conversations as part of how we live our lives today – I with him and he with me when we see facts in each other that conflict with who we know we are under our issues.
But this isn’t about me. It’s about you. Are you letting a person afflicted with the irrational behaviors of using dictate how you live your life? Remember: You are always at choice!
Study your BALM® materials!
Come to classes, groups, and workshops.
Work with your 7 steps partner.
Practice having BALM® conversations!
Be A Loving Mirror my friend – That’s how you CAN be your loved one’s BEST chance at recovery!
Be A Loving Mirror!
Beverly A. Buncher, MA, PCC, MRLC, CTPC
Family Recovery Coach/CEO
Family Recovery Resources, LLC
786 859 4050