How BALM Conversations Can Help Beyond Addiction - Part 2
When Cassie first arrived at the retreat, she felt alone. After all, she was the only one there from her family and she didn’t know anyone. But as the first evening went on, she realized her situation wasn’t that different from the others in the group.
In the spirit of the saying “a burden shared is a burden halved” retreat participants shared a challenge with each other and then reframed it using the BALM during the opening exercise on Friday evening.
This idea of sharing a challenge or ‘burden’ is not new in the recovery world. What is somewhat novel is the idea that we can shift our view of the burden from the inside out AND learn new ways to interact with our loved ones that can help both us and them.
So she shared her burden of being put down by the people in her family with a group of total strangers. Their response, to listen without judgment.
Then everyone journaled about their burdens and reframed them.
Listening to the others’ challenges she was amazed at the diversity of specific situations and the sameness of the solutions: Go within. Look at yourself. Shift the way you relate to your loved one. Shift the way you think about them and their behavior and find ways to find peace within.
In her husband’s using days, she shared a lot of the fears expressed by other participants: What if he dies? How can I keep her from relapsing?
These days, two years into her BALMing, the challenges were more around how she was dealing with other people being themselves and less about dangerous behaviors they might be involved in.
Cassie could see her growth. She could see her husband’s growth too. She still planned to have a BALM conversation with him about his mean comments and would prep for it throughout the weekend. Yet, it sure was a relief to be practicing a solution-focused family recovery program like BALM where she had learned how to help herself and him at the same time. Now, the challenges they faced where simply the everyday conflicts of living with others - not the life and death ones they dealt with before.
Whew! What a relief to have learned how to Be A Loving Mirror.
If you have a loved one struggling with a use disorder or other addiction or mental health challenge, you can learn how to get your life back while helping them do so as well.
Learn more! Call Karen at 1-888-998-2256 ext 5 or click here to learn more about BALM, the Loving Path to Family Recovery!
About the author
Beverly Buncher, MA, PCC, CBFRLC, CTPC, known as the "Foremost Family Recovery Life Coach in the Nation", is the Founder and CEO of Family Recovery Resources, LLC, and the BALM® (Be A Loving Mirror®) Institutes for Family Recovery Coach Training and Family Recovery Education.