What Does It Mean to Be Your Loved One’s BEST Chance at Recovery Once They are IN Recovery
The promised land so many family members dream about.
“Once my loved one is sober, our life will be so amazing…”
“If only she was sober, we would be so happy.”
And then it happens: Recovery.
And, lo and behold, life sucks.
They are too busy with recovery or work, and expend so much energy just to stay sober, that the dream life you imagined seems further away than ever…
Often, families get frustrated at this point, pick fights, forget that sobriety is only the first of many ‘promised lands’ in a life time of growth, and pull back into their own world…
Even families in 12-step recovery can experience an emotional separation at this point, where each member is fully involved in their own recovery and relying less and less on the relationship as a source of soul-filled light.
Of course, BALM® recovery can make a difference here with its focus on both one’s own and one’s loved one’s process, allowing for a healthier coming together even in the early days of recovery…But, that is not really what I want to discuss here. (For more on how BALM family recovery can make a difference in a loved one’s early recovery, see Chapter 5, of my book BALM® – The Loving Path to Family Recovery)
Rather, as we look at Principle 4, You Can Be Your Loved One’s BEST Change at Recovery, in this post, I’d like to focus on the long haul: how to be their best chance at sustaining recovery once they are already in recovery.
Being there for a loved one in a way that helps stay in recovery is similar to what it takes to help them initially get recovery and, as usual, it all starts with being there for yourself.
Here is how it works:
- Make and take the time and space in your life to focus on taking care of you. That includes the basics: proper nourishment, getting enough sleep, good hygiene. The things that often fall to the wayside when we are caught up in other people’s dramas…
- If your first response to #1 is “where do I find the time for that?” think again. Allow yourself to see yourself as worthy of your love and nurturing. Realize that you matter and that without your own self-care in place, there is not much left in the way of healthy energy, love and nurturing to the people around you.
- Decide to work the BALM® principles and steps like your quality of life depends on it. When a loved one is using and things seem desperate, it can be difficult to do but at the same time motivation is often high. Later, when things are going better, it can feel like everything’s under control. Suddenly, you may feel some resentment or anger creep in, or a feeling of “why should I have to do all the work on the relationship?” If feelings like that start coming up, it may be time for a reboot. (I wrote the BALM®, yet I find myself having to review it again and again. It is so easy to lose focus and forget these timeless concepts and tools…)
- Stay on top of the recovery basics of mindfulness, objective observation, non-judgmental emotional awareness and fearless, loving, factual communication. Small behaviors in our own and our loved one’s lives can indicate larger challenges looming. Willingness to handle these situations with a BALM® perspective can make all the difference.
- Lovingly share the facts so your loved one can make their own decisions without being blindsided.
- Let go of taking things personally and let go of nagging.
- Allow yourself to enjoy the moments in front of you as they rise up.
- Rely on a Greater Guide to see you through the challenging times. For some, that Guide is God. For others, inner wisdom. For others, nature or the universe. Take the time to determine what it is for you and make time to build a relationship with that which is beyond ego in order to rise above pettiness in your life.
To help another person have the best chance of sustaining their recovery, your BALM® recovery must be strong. It is possible to Be A Loving Mirror, and in some ways is easier once there is recovery in the home, as the person you are BALMing to has a growing presence of mind rather than a deteriorating one.
One of the joys of family life in recovery is how over time, our loved one BALMs to us as well.
Enjoy your holiday season and Be A Loving Mirror!
If you would like more information about the BALM® Family Recovery Education program CLICK HERE.
If it is time to renew your BALM® Membership please contact Tracy at 1-888-998-BALM (2256) option 2.