Family Addiction Recovery: A Blog
7 Tips for Good Communication
1. Don’t be afraid to start the conversation.
Research has shown that parents who communicate zero-tolerance expectations around alcohol are much less likely to have children who drink excessively during college than parents who have permissive attitudes. Therefore, it’s OK to be a parent and take a stand—and not be “chummy” around this issue. It’s important that your child clearly understands where you stand, even if they might not agree with you. It’s your voice—and your words—that will replay in their head when they are faced with a tough situation around high-risk drinking. And they can use your message when they refuse to drink. In other words, it’s OK for you to be the “bad guy” if it helps your kid save face when he refuses a drink. Your message should be clear: no alcohol is best, and certainly not excessive amounts even when they are of legal age to drink.
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An effort to assist parents who had not been able to get a child into treatment for substance use issues was one of the reasons that led to the creation of an online/over the phone training course designed to teach, among other things, parents skills for effective interactions with their substance-using children.
The availability of The B.A.L.M. to the general public and treatment centers was been made possible by Beverly Buncher, the founder and creator.
We believe treatment professionals currently working with adolescent or young-adult patients should steer their clients' parents to the course in order to help them improve family communication skills and in turn improve treatment outcomes.
“Probably the most important component of The B.A.L.M. is communication training,” says Timothy Harrington, Chief Empowerment Officer, director & founder of Family Recovery of Colorado. “In families affected by a young person's substance use, relationships become strained, and there is often a lot of tension or confrontation in interactions. In The B.A.L.M. there is a focus on the way the parent communicates with the child, offering a way that is less confrontational.”
The professionally facilitated training, available to up to four people at a cost of $1,800 for one year of access, uses live coaching calls, recorded industry experts and role-playing exercises to help parents understand their child's drug-using behaviors, improve communication skills, develop methods for behavior management, and learn mini-intervention strategies for suggesting that their child enter treatment. The B.A.L.M. approach has shown that as the family recovers so does the addicted loved one.
Tim says The B.A.L.M. teaches parents how to lend support, while at the same time avoiding unintentionally reinforcing negative behaviors. He says parents often mistakenly conclude that they can never do anything to help their substance-using child. They learn that through proper communication training and learning to self-care they actually become their addicted loved one's best chance at recovery.
“You do want your kid to develop some independence,” he says, “but to help them achieve autonomy you have to stop obsessing about everything they are doing wrong and reinforce their efforts, however insignificant they may seem. Recovery is a game of inches, not big giant gains.”
Tim adds that The B.A.L.M. is designed to teach parents to think more mindfully about their interactions with their child. “Parents come in with conceptions about how to control behaviors, and those just do not work most of the time,” he said. “But, if we can get a family member to take back their power and look at their own lives, and start to own that life then soon the relationship between the parent and the child shifts. Now they actually have something to talk about; things they have in common like feelings. Every conversation doesn't have to be coming off a clip board, like what are you doing today to take care of yourself, rather they can empathize with the common struggle of recovery and that helps shift the family. They start connecting at a deeper, more loving level.”
Some parents who experience The B.A.L.M. approach say they in turn apply it to communication with their other children, their spouses and others in their lives, Tim says.
If you're interested in how to connect to The B.A.L.M. please send me an email me or call.
All my details are on the website.
Loving-Kindness Meditation is a Buddhist meditation technique which is practiced to develop compassion towards ourselves and for all living beings. It also increases the overall well-being. It’s a simple meditation technique which can really enhance your happiness when practiced regularly. The whole practice of loving-kindness is to overcome feelings of negativity or self-doubt. When you practice this meditation technique regularly, you’ll find yourself dealing with stress and anxiety in a better manner.
There are four stages to Loving-Kindness Meditation. Loving-Kindness Meditation is also called Metta Bhavana. In Pali, Metta means compassion towards all living beings and Bhavana means cultivating. So the practice of Metta Bhavana is to cultivate feelings of compassion towards yourself and others. In each stage, you will envision four different types of people. The first stage is to develop feelings of warmth and compassion towards yourself. If you find resistance to extend compassion towards yourself in this stage, don’t worry. The objective of loving-kindness meditation is to gradually neutralize the feelings of unworthiness and negativity.
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One of Britain's wealthiest women, Sigrid Rausing talks of her sadness at watching her brother relapse into heroin abuse.
Unlimited money and world-class treatments are not enough to cure drug addiction, says the sister of Tetra Pak heir Hans Rausing in a rare interview.
A member of one of Britain’s richest families, Sigrid Rausing has spoken of her sadness at watching her brother relapse into heroin abuse.
Talking today on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, she said despite seeking advice from professionals all over the world, the family could do little to help Hans
“We had the best people in the world,” said 53-year-old Sigrid.
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The news: Every day, the push toward national legalization of marijuana seems more and more inevitable. As more and more politicians and noted individuals come out in favor of legalizing or at least decriminalizing different amounts of pot, the mainstream acceptance of the recreational use of the drug seems like a bygone conclusion. But before we can talk about legalization, have we fully understood the health effects of marijuana?
According to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from Harvard and Northwestern studied the brains of 18- to 25-year-olds, half of whom smoked pot recreationally and half of whom didn't. What they found was rather shocking: Even those who only smoked few times a week had significant brain abnormalities in the areas that control emotion and motivation.
"There is this general perspective out there that using marijuana recreationally is not a problem — that it is a safe drug," said Anne Blood, a co-author of the study. "We are seeing that this is not the case."
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How do I deal with my child’s other parent when they are not supporting healthy boundaries and are providing an unhealthy model for my child?
This is one of the most challenging questions I address when talking with parents struggling with a difficult child. The first place I’d like to start is with whether or not you should take legal action—custody changes, divorce, court order for treatment, etc. Much of the time, many of the differences parents describe are not serious enough to warrant or justify legal action. Courts are reluctant to intervene with a parent’s rights. Termination of parental rights is a very serious intrusion into the family, and it usually only applies in cases of severe neglect or abuse. This standard for abuse may include a significant lack of supervision, providing children with drugs or alcohol or using them in front of a child, or exposing a child to negative influences like domestic violence or sexual images. Even if you have every reason to believe that these dynamics exist between your parenting partner and your child, proving it in a courtroom can be very difficult. I think it’s a good idea to consult with a family law attorney in your state to understand what your options are even if you don’t decide to take further action. Doing this can create a sense of liberation and freedom when you feel like you and your child are victims of a toxic partner. Consulting with an outside source can also provide a reality check. While you may be experiencing great trauma and pain at the hands of the child’s other parent (hereafter referred to as the co-parent), an attorney can provide you with the perspective the law offers in matters such as these. Even if you are just wondering about your legal rights in a case like this, please do seek legal advice and weigh the pros and cons of pursuing legal action for changes to your child’s environment.
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The importance of parents as “interventionists” is supported by reviews of the treatment literature (e.g., Smit, Verdurmen, Monshouwer, & Smit, 2008; Winters, Botzet, Fahnhorst, & Koskey, 2009) as well as the emerging science that home-based initiatives by parents can contribute to desired health changes in adolescents (Fearnow, Chassin, Presson, & Sherman, 1998; Jackson & Dickinson, 2006). Parental influences on an adolescent can include reducing initiation, as well as altering its maintenance if it has started. This paper describes a project aimed helping parents to deal with a teenager who has already started to use alcohol or other drugs. Home Base is a home-based, parent-led program aimed at reversing the trajectory of drug use in an already drug-using adolescent. The program’s content is organized around motivational enhancement and cognitive behavioral techniques. The ongoing study will also be discussed.
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Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others. Think about what the experience of compassion feels like. First, to have compassion for others you must notice that they are suffering. If you ignore that homeless person on the street, you can’t feel compassion for how difficult his or her experience is. Second, compassion involves feeling moved by others’ suffering so that your heart responds to their pain (the word compassion literally means to “suffer with”). When this occurs, you feel warmth, caring, and the desire to help the suffering person in some way. Having compassion also means that you offer understanding and kindness to others when they fail or make mistakes, rather than judging them harshly. Finally, when you feel compassion for another (rather than mere pity), it means that you realize that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience. “There but for fortune go I.”
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For modern families, the adage “food is love” might well be more true put another way: food is power. Not long ago, Dr. Leonard Sax was at a restaurant and overheard a father say to his daughter, “Honey, could you please do me a favour? Could you please just try one bite of your green peas?” To many people, this would have sounded like decent or maybe even sophisticated parenting—gentle coaxing formed as a question to get the child to co-operate without threatening her autonomy or creating a scene.
To Sax, a Pennsylvania family physician and psychologist famous for writing about children’s development, the situation epitomized something much worse: the recent collapse of parenting, which he says is at least partly to blame for kids becoming overweight, overmedicated, anxious and disrespectful of themselves and those around them.
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Heroin is the worst thing that's ever happened to me.
Heroin is holding the person I used to be hostage. I used to laugh more. I used to be more light-hearted and whimsical. I used to smile in more than just pictures.
I try to remember the moment my world began to revolve around it.
It is mentioned in nearly every conversation I have, even when it's not said outright, but in knowing glances, exasperated sighs or pity stares.
Most of my hobbies have fallen to the wayside ever since heroin entered my life.
I used to write about more than this.
I used to read about more than this.
I am a phony. My normalcy is a charade. Heroin forces me to keep secrets from the people who matter most in my life. I can't tell my family how much pain I'm in because I can imagine the pain they are feeling too, and I don't want to add to it.
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Timothy Harrington is passionate about helping family members of the addicted loved one awaken to their own power and purpose.