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What Does It Mean to Play a Long Game in Family Recovery?

BALM | June 25, 2021

The Ups and Downs That Families Often Endure Can Become More Bearable When the Family Has Immersed Themselves in Strong Family Recovery Education

Loving someone who struggles with a use disorder is a challenging journey for the family member – especially when the journey includes recurring relapses, repeated treatments, or stints in jail or prison.

Yet, it is far too common for many families facing a loved one’s addiction.

Treatment professionals report that often, when families bring their loved ones to treatment, the family has not been educated about what they can do to help … and how what they are currently doing hurts themselves and their loved one. As a result, many family members engage in behaviors that don’t help their loved one get off the treatment-relapse cycle.

So it falls on the treatment center to educate the families as well as treat the clients. Unfortunately, families often think they have no role to play and many resist getting help in changing their behaviors at all.

But, for those families who do choose to learn about Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and other addictions and the family’s role in helping a loved one choose recovery, the picture may begin to change once they engage in the transformative work of family recovery.

Each week, the BALM focuses on a specific principle of BALM family recovery. This week, the principle is: You can heal your relationship with yourself. 

We’ve tucked this principle all the way at the end of the principles as number 10 of 12. Not because it is unimportant, rather because families coming into recovery often have a razor sharp focus on getting help for their loved one, with little patience, time, or interest in self care or self love.

In fact, families will often say things like:

      • How can I focus on me when my loved one is so sick?
      • Yes, I’m traumatized and it will all end when he’s better or out of my life.
      • I just want him to get better. I’m not the problem.

All of these statements make perfect sense for someone lacking basic family recovery education. After all, family crises require acute attention from all involved and a loved one in the middle of active addiction often creates a family crisis.

But, as time goes on and the family gets the recovery education needed to more deeply understand how to help, not hurt, their loved one, the need for self care and self love becomes evident as foundational for long-term family recovery.

There is no guarantee as to how long it will take for the loved one to get well – or even if they will get into recovery. Several days? Several months? Several years?

That is out of a family member’s hands. Yet, what is in the family member’s hands is their own recovery: their own mindfulness, their own self care, their own knowledge of using leverage and setting boundaries, and their ability to use motivational interviewing, understand the stages of change, and have loving BALM conversations.

To sustain these understandings and actions over the long haul, a commitment to one’s own sanity is required. And building a deep and abiding friendship with the self can provide a critical building block along the loving path.

Where are you in building a loving relationship with yourself? Review principle ten, do the workbook, and utilize what you are working in your life. These concepts, skills, and tools will serve you, whether your loved one is now in recovery or still struggling to find their path to stability.

Not in the BALM yet? Join us!

And remember everyone, Be A Loving Mirror.

Love,

Bev