What if you treat your visiting loved one like a beloved guest?
If your family members come for a visit and one or more of them is an active user or in early recovery, what is that like for you?
Think for a moment.
The experience of a guest coming, for the holidays or a weekend or even a week, can be delightful or alarming or anything in between. Yet, when that guest is truly a guest, someone you care about but who is not as connected to you as an immediate family member, it can be easier to see them as a guest, treat them with respect, detach from behavior you do not like, and enjoy their comedic or fun behavior even if they don’t make their bed or pick up after themselves.
That doesn’t mean you wouldn’t prefer they would, but it can be easier to overlook the behaviors of a guest than those of your child or sister or parent, when they behave in ways that you disapprove of.
This even applies to drinking and drugging behavior, doesn’t it?
It may mean they stumble in or stay out late. But, when that guest is a person more distant from you, you know that having to see it or be a part of it will be over soon and so you look for the good and when necessary count the days til they leave. You also may, if you are a BALMer, plan a BALM® conversation if you feel the facts you are seeing warrant it. You may also set a boundary if you choose to.
Yet, when that ‘visitor’ is someone in your immediate family, a deep gripping need to control outcomes may be present, and it can be gut wrenching and come out in a tirade of tears, fears, screaming, accusations, upsets, etc., that we often reserve only for those closest to us (isn’t that special!!!).
But, what if, when your kids visit or need a place to stay briefly between apartments or phases of treatment, or even on college break, and they are not exactly acting ‘up to (y)our standards’, you don’t treat them as substandard, but instead, treat them like guests? With dignity and respect, with joy to see them, with an understanding that they are on their journey, just stopping by to be with you for awhile, warts and all. What would THAT be like?
What would it be like to lovingly connect with them even when they do things you don’t like?
What would it be like to not be looking for them to fall?
What would it take to enjoy them and change your standards to be able to do so?
This is not about moving into an ‘enabling’ stance where you invite your using child back to the basement to rot away for the next 10 years…
It is NOT about forgetting to have a BALM® conversation to share the facts you are seeing! It is important to have BALM® conversations (in the right time and place and tone of voice) when needed, so you can continue to share what you see with them and help them see past their blindside!
It is not about not setting a boundary as to length of stay, should that be best for you.
This is about respecting your loved one’s process, figuring out what is REALLY important and focusing on that instead of on all of the ancillary chores they “should” be doing and the habits they have that drive you nuts…
Life is so short for all of us, and truly, we are all guests on this planet, in this life.
How would it be to lovingly share some time with someone you love?
We invite you to choose love in your interactions. Love that heals and connects you and your family members. Love that drops judgment. Love that understands that process can be messy. Love without expectations or conditions.
Love is the answer my friends. Let the BALM® Program help you find the path.
Not yet enrolled in the BALM® Comprehensive? We are running a special to help you get started. To learn more click here.
Be A Loving Mirror.
Be A Loving Mirror!
Beverly A. Buncher, MA, PCC, CBC, CTPC
BALM Family Recovery Life Coach/CEO
Family Recovery Resources, LLC
786 859 4050