The Inward Outward BALM Recovery Journey
The journey to recovery is ever inward and ever outward. This is what we mean when we say in the BALM, “This program is designed to help you get YOUR life back and help your loved one get THEIRS back too.”
A journey often has many twists and turns along the way of course and the understanding that you can help yourself and potentially help your loved one will undoubtedly bring surprises and challenges along the way.
One of the first startling awarenesses family members often experience is finding out that their using loved one is on their own journey, one the family undoubtedly contributes to in one way or another, but not one the family can control, nor should they.
That one is perhaps one of the most difficult for parents, as most of us want to spare our children any and all suffering wherever possible.
But, we soon find out that is not to be. As Kahlil Gibran wrote in his masterpiece book The Prophet:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
This chapter has helped me greatly over the years. First, it helped me as a young person, to see that my path was my path and my parents’ path was theirs. In realizing this, I was able to let go of resentment toward them for trying to control me along with guilt for not being willing to let them.
At the same time, it helped me to see that I personally had to take responsibility for my life going forward. Perhaps my parents had unwittingly hurt me along the way, as their parents had perhaps hurt them. But now it was mine to work toward my own healing and develop my own path forward.
This understanding led me to the recovery path, one which had its own twists and turns and lessons along the way, as I have shared in other blogs.
As a parent, I have had to learn this idea of taking personal responsibility for my own life from the perspective of both ‘getting my life back’ for its own sake AND getting my life back for the sake of, as Gibran says above, being ‘the bow that is stable.’ This process is easier said than done, yet is the work of BALM Principle 10: Heal Your Relationship with Yourself.
As established in Principle One of the BALM, the family contributes to a loved one’s SUD process one way or another and we learn in the 4th C, “You CAN contribute to your loved one’s recovery.”
One of the key ways to be able to do so is to become that stable bow, a grounded human being, spiritually connected, peaceful, calm, mindful. Able to respond, rather than react (BALM Principle 3 and BALM Steps 1, 2, and 3).
Another is having the tools to transform the communication with your loved one toward healing, peace, sanity, recovery (BALM Steps 4-7).
A third is, on that basis of sane, factual, recovery, to become a person able to help your loved one make connections with others who can help them at the right time and in the right place.
This month, in the BALM, we are launching a BALM Course for the Individual with a Use Disorder, Who is Seeking or In Recovery. In the tradition of our whole family approach, individuals in the course must commit to having a BALM Coach while in the course and at least one family member must be in the BALM Comprehensive Family Program as well.
This approach of offering the opportunity to explore recovery with one’s own coach, while having family members who are on their own BALM journey, provides a holistic beginning or continuing journey for whole families interested in strengthening their recovery journey.
We welcome the loved ones who have committed to the upcoming course and their families and look forward to watching both children and parents grow, each in their own ways, and potentially, as a family.
Next week, let’s look at how husbands and wives considering this whole family approach could benefit when the using or recovering loved one is the spouse rather than or in addition to the child.
By the way, this coming Sunday, I will be speaking at the Fed Up with the Opioid Epidemic Rally at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC. Click here for more information and, if you are planning to be there, contact Tracy Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with us so we can all meet up at the rally!! A bunch of us BALMers are going and we would love to see you there!
Be A Loving Mirror!
Beverly A. Buncher, MA, PCC, CBC, CTPC
Family Recovery Coach/CEO
Family Recovery Resources, LLC
786 859 4050