Addiction is a family issue.
There is a family solution.
There is a family solution.
One of the most common mistakes is focusing on whether they are strong enough to change, rather than on specific methods of coping. “It’s like trying to ride a bike. You make mistakes and learn, and you don’t give up if you don’t immediately find your balance. If the bicycle is missing a wheel or is otherwise broken, then it requires fixing - simply willing it to work is not going to help you ride” - Alan Marlatt.
You can use this process as your OWN recovery…..as you are working toward recovering a healthy relationship with your loved one and a happier and healthier life for yourself.
You can use the Stages of Change to appreciate how complicated change is for your loved one and maybe it can give you a better understanding of where your loved one is in the change process.
Let’s go back to the analogy of learning riding a bike.
Did you ride in a perfectly straight, steady line the first time you rode a bicycle?....or were you wobbly at first?
Did you ride without EVER falling? Or did it take you a white to learn how much of your attention was really required to keep that bike straight and steady?
Were you able to somehow see each and every hole on the path and skillfully maneuver around them from the very first time you started riding? Or did it take you a while to learn which of the paths in your neighborhood had potholes?
So, ask yourself: Is it reasonable to expect your Loved One to quit using one day and become perfectly healthy and happy overnight?
The Stages of Change apply to you as well. Is it reasonable to expect that you will read “Beyond Addiction" and attend these meetings and find that you begin enjoying a perfectly balanced life, immediately? Is it reasonable to expect that you will begin having "perfect conversations" with your Loved One, immediately? Is it reasonable to expect to find the definitive response to your Loved One’s using behavior that really gets his attention and makes him realize that he needs to change?
Or is it more likely that you won't master these things the first time you try .... That you also will go through a period of learning, by trial and error, what works well and what doesn't work?
Understanding Stages of Change can help us manage our expectations which should lead to less volatile emotions. Somehow when we're prepared for the possibility of something happening, we're not quite so caught by surprise...we can keep a cooler head and be in a better position to act in a helpful manner.
Recognize that if YOU want to feel differently (and we are here for YOU, not your Loved One), if you want things to be different, YOU will have to change some things in your life.
BUT....with persistent attention and effort, things will get better. No one here will tell you that there is anything easy about recovery, but they will tell you that it's "worth it"!
Source: SMART Recovery
Timothy Harrington is passionate about helping family members of the addicted loved one awaken to their own power and purpose.