Through recovery work, I have learned to stop expecting people to be different and to reduce the frustration that comes from trying to cause a person to get better, or trying to mold them into how I think they should be (even if it’s reasonable). When I put these demands and expectations down, I can love people for who they actually are.
Positive reinforcement, as basic and childlike as that sounds, is a motivating force for progress. Speaking to someone’s goodness despite their wrong choices unlocks their worth. “You’re not a bad person, you’re just headed in a bad direction.” Or maybe “You shouldn’t be ashamed of yourself, maybe just aware of faulty patterns so you can choose different ones.” That’s a great way to start motivating someone. Versus, “I told you so, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.”
My healing did not come easily and did not come overnight. It has been an extremely difficult journey and I am still not great at it. It took really small baby steps and there are still many times when I just lose it and cry. What is different now is I have a bunch of tools in my toolbox to utilize. I have strategies and a plan in place.
You might be grumbling. You might be accusing, guilting or complaining. Or trying desperately to prevent them from going out. You might be brooding in a cold silence. This might be hard to believe, but your presence and your conversation, however negative, are something your loved one counts on, and expects from you.
“Enmeshed” is a good word to describe the situation between your sister and her son. Enmeshed describes a pattern, years in the making, when a family member fixes and protects and tries to control the actions of a loved one who’s abusing substances....
If I'm out at a party at a friend's house, staying present in the party, in the moment, and enjoying every single moment with them, because that's where I'm at right now ... [this] helped me to have some joy and love right then, in that moment ...
Treatment doesn’t see its role as helping the newly sober person to manage financially. They rarely ask the question, "So where is the job?” ... “How is this person going to pay for the sober house?” ... “How is this person going to get to their appointments?” They certainly don’t see their role as providing inpatient treatment until such time as the person is financially stable.
It is critical that you, as your addicted loved one's ally, understand that you can’t create motivation. And it is equally critical that you know there is something you can do!
Modeling the behavior we are looking for in our loved one is effective, and a key element of CRAFT. It may make sense to avoid drinking, if you are trying to help your loved one get sober.
Here are 7 ideas for creating the ideal home environment for your adult child in recovery. While supporting them in this phase, establish very clear boundaries. While you can provide a comfortable environment for them, try to make it something that you can easily revoke, should they begin using again.