Become a member of Allies in Recovery and we’ll teach you how to intervene, communicate and guide your loved one toward treatment.Become a member of Allies in Recovery today.

Live Like the Moon: Why Gentle Influence Works

This post first appeared on the Sanctuary Blog on the Allies in Recovery member site.

allies in recovery gentle influence addiction intervention self-care positive communication skills

At Allies in Recovery, one of our goals is to teach you how to better communicate with your loved one, while also caring for yourself in the process. This balancing act isn’t easy.

When your loved one is abusing alcohol or drugs, engaging in dangerous activities, or making life decisions you dislike, the natural impulse is to try and change your loved one’s behavior through sheer willpower, whether through arguing, sarcasm, passive-aggressive behavior, or other means. But as Allies in Recovery’s online program teaches, you cannot change other people. You can only change yourself.

Arguing and threatening doesn’t help

Arguing only makes you and your loved one miserable. What is the alternative? The next time your loved one does something that triggers an emotional response in you, take a deep breath. Pause. When you feel the anger welling up, resist the urge to lash out. Remember the lessons we teach on our (member) website… rewarding good behavior when your loved one isn’t using, and stepping away when they are using, are key steps in the recovery process.

“That sounds good on paper,” you might say, “but pausing isn’t easy in the moment when you are furious and tired and ready to give up.”

It’s true that retraining yourself takes effort, but it *is* possible. Plenty of family members have learned this skill through our program, and so can you.

How do you learn to pause and not get hooked by the same old triggers?

The Allies in Recovery site provides a number of tools to help you develop such mindfulness. Using the journal regularly, tracking your progress consistently, reading the Sanctuary, and completing the Key Observations will help you learn the skill of stepping away. How? Each of these tools helps you to gain a bird’s eye view of your own actions, as well as those of your loved one. You are examining your patterns and responses from above with distance and unfiltered clarity, instead of from down below in the thick of it where the view is severely limited.

The quiet power of your gentle influence

In Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony  Ming-Dao Deng writes: “The moon does not fight. It attacks no one, does not worry, nor does it try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, its gentle influence. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.”

It is this kind of quiet power that we teach you in the Allies in Recovery program. The next time you find yourself triggered and upset by your loved one’s actions, think of the moon. Don’t fight or attack, but stay on course. When your spouse or child comes home drunk, try shifting  your perspective. Instead of responding in your usual angry way, try stepping back and using the lessons taught in our program. You just might be surprised at how it alters your dynamic. And if you don’t succeed the first time, try again. Your loving influence really can make a difference.

Journal Exercise

Full moon CThink about the last fight you had with your loved one. What specific behavior triggered your emotional response? When your loved one set you off emotionally, how did you feel? Angry? Withdrawn? Exasperated? Worried? How did you express these feelings externally? What did you say or do? Was there a key moment in the interaction when you could have paused, stepped back, and responded differently?  Record these responses in your journal.

The next time your loved one sets off this same trigger, how can you handle the situation differently? Think about action steps you can take, such as excusing yourself for a few minutes, taking several deep breaths, getting a glass of water from the kitchen, or any other action that will give you some breathing space and allow you to communicate more mindfully.

Reread the quote from Ming-Dao Deng above. If you were to be more like the moon in your daily life, how might that look? What would you do or say, or perhaps not do or not say? What does it mean to have “gentle influence”? How can you exercise your own quiet power?

Join our Member Site today to take full advantage of Allies in Recovery’s program, including 8 video modules, two blogs, and dialogue with experts in the field of treatment and recovery. Learn more here.

Loading

Related Posts from "Self-Care for the Family Member"

How Laurie and Kayla Became Part of AIR

Learn about Allies in Recovery’s (AIR) groups – the CRAFT Educational groups facilitated by Laurie and the CRAFT Support group facilitated by Kayla – and how they became part of AIR. CRAFT isn’t easy, and you can’t do it alone. These groups provide essential information, feedback and support.  You are not alone during this painful, overwhelming process.

How Laurie and Kayla Became Part of AIR

Learn about Allies in Recovery’s (AIR) groups – the CRAFT Educational groups facilitated by Laurie and the CRAFT Support group facilitated by Kayla – and how they became part of AIR. CRAFT isn’t easy, and you can’t do it alone. These groups provide essential information, feedback and support.  You are not alone during this painful, overwhelming process.

What About Family Members’ Trauma?

It can be easy, particularly when those outside a situation offer advice, to overlook the history of trauma that may exist for a family member. CRAFT takes the idea of healing out of a therapy model, to a community-based model. It’s a long-term process of learning new tools and ways to interact. It begins with family members understanding themselves, their patterns and reactivity, so they’re equipped for long-term work of healing — with the support of Allies in Recovery all along the way.

Real Allies in Recovery Success Stories: Families Share How CRAFT Helped Their Loved Ones with SUD

Read real success stories from families who used the CRAFT approach to help their loved ones with Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Learn how CRAFT helped them engage their loved ones into treatment, and how it improved their relationships and reduced stress levels. Discover how you can use the CRAFT method to help your loved ones find recovery, and visit AlliesinRecovery.net for more stories and resources.

Embracing the Uncomfortable: A Life Hack from Annie

Learn how facing uncomfortable and challenging situations can lead to personal growth and improve relationships in Annie Highwater’s blog post. Discover the importance of regularly challenging oneself, even in small ways, to develop discipline and determination. From showering in cold water to apologizing to someone you’ve wronged, find out how embracing discomfort can build inner strength and grit. Start your journey towards personal growth and confidence today.

Watching Families Progress

Our hosts discuss their joy in witnessing the progress of families in their groups. If you’re helping your loved one, start with yourself and your own healing. Healing is, Kayla says, not best done alone. And with Allies in Recovery, you don’t have to do it alone. You get to be part of a group of people doing the work, and get support not just for concepts, but for implementing the powerful tools of CRAFT. This is the work that can help your loved one.

Handling Confrontation the CRAFT Way

How do you shift from conflict to a more open conversation with your loved one whose struggling with addiction? Using CRAFT, you can improve the relationship by engaging in a way that is both effective and supportive. You become part of the treatment process instead of something else your loved one is battling.

Collaboration Vs. Ultimatum

When your loved one is returning, communicate and collaborate about your expectations, concerns, and plans. Keep on collaborating over time, so if concerns arise your loved one can take responsibility, have agency, and you’re not running the show on your own. Without their “skin in the game,” little can change. Model engagement, which is also part of the treatment process.

Her Partner is Not Improving from Substance Use Disorder. Is There an Underlying Mental Health Condition?

One of our AlliesinRecovery.net members as been artfully following the CRAFT principles and yet her loved one is not showing signs of improvement. Engaging in extreme behavior, barely ever sleeping, misusing his ADHD medication, lying, and now, stealing… Is it all on the addiction or could her partner suffer from an underlying, undiagnosed and untreated mental health condition?

Shall We Dance?

CRAFT as choreography? Our hosts step into the metaphor of a dance with your loved one. This isn’t a traditional dance – it’s a look at the steps to see what works and what doesn’t, to CRAFT a new dance and change your role. The idea is to learn new tools, practice them, and see where they fit in. Be patient. It’s a process.

What About Family Members’ Trauma?

It can be easy, particularly when those outside a situation offer advice, to overlook the history of trauma that may exist for a family member. CRAFT takes the idea of healing out of a therapy model, to a community-based model. It’s a long-term process of learning new tools and ways to interact. It begins with family members understanding themselves, their patterns and reactivity, so they’re equipped for long-term work of healing — with the support of Allies in Recovery all along the way.

How Do You Stop Catastrophizing?

If you find yourself swept away in the undertow of negative thinking about what might happen and how you might prevent it, the number-one tool to use is stepping back, noticing that you’re doing it. Number two is deciding to shift it, starting with “no negative talk.” And third is hitting the metaphorical “reset” button, finding something to soothe yourself. At first, it may not go well, but over time, you can get good at it.

Watching Families Progress

Our hosts discuss their joy in witnessing the progress of families in their groups. If you’re helping your loved one, start with yourself and your own healing. Healing is, Kayla says, not best done alone. And with Allies in Recovery, you don’t have to do it alone. You get to be part of a group of people doing the work, and get support not just for concepts, but for implementing the powerful tools of CRAFT. This is the work that can help your loved one.

Collaboration Vs. Ultimatum

When your loved one is returning, communicate and collaborate about your expectations, concerns, and plans. Keep on collaborating over time, so if concerns arise your loved one can take responsibility, have agency, and you’re not running the show on your own. Without their “skin in the game,” little can change. Model engagement, which is also part of the treatment process.

His Early Recovery Is Triggering Me

Her loved one has been abstinent from substance use for weeks. With steady recovery inputs, including a medication, he is doing better. However, he recently adopted a deeply confrontational stance and has shifted to some alternative addictive behaviors. Our AlliesinRecovery.net member, feeling hurt and lost, wonders how to address these new challenges. Laurie MacDougall uses some examples from her son’s recovery journey to help paint a picture of more successful interactions that can let some of the tension out of the situation. Read this blog post for some CRAFT-informed ways to handle triggers, boundaries, and power struggles.

How Do You Stop Catastrophizing?

If you find yourself swept away in the undertow of negative thinking about what might happen and how you might prevent it, the number-one tool to use is stepping back, noticing that you’re doing it. Number two is deciding to shift it, starting with “no negative talk.” And third is hitting the metaphorical “reset” button, finding something to soothe yourself. At first, it may not go well, but over time, you can get good at it.

Guest Jaclyn Brown Returns: Part Two

In part 2 of 2, Jaclyn Brown talks about her personal journey in the wake of losing her brother. For her, advocacy and harm reduction work became a way to find her own voice and power after feeling guilty and helpless. To hear more of Jaclyn’s story, be sure to check out our earlier interviews with her.

“Heads Up” Tips for Those New to SUD

Have you ever looked back on a particularly stressful time in your life and wished you’d known a few things ahead of the struggle? Or maybe you were offered some “heads up” advice when enduring a hard time and found that the advice you received drastically empowered you through the situation. This blog shares some helpful tips for parents and other family members who are new to facing the crisis of addiction, alcoholism or Substance Use Disorder (referred to as “SUD”) with a loved one.

Did I Do CRAFT Wrong and Trigger Him to Drink?

She thought her husband was drinking, so she left. He called and said he wasn’t drinking, so she came home, but by then he’d gone out and he did drink. This wife feels she inadvertently triggered her husband to go drink. Did she? She also feels like she messed everything up with one episode of removing rewards. Did she really? The CRAFT approach has us “remove rewards,” including removing ourselves, when our loved one is using substances. CRAFT also asks you to make numerous split-second decisions every day. You’re going to get it wrong sometimes.  In the post below, we walk through this scenario with some CRAFT ABC’s.

3 Months into Recovery and He Doesn’t Show an Ounce of Gratitude

This mom has been able to successfully use CRAFT principles to shepherd her son into treatment and to support him during early recovery. However, her son’s lack of gratitude is beginning to feel unbearable. AlliesinRecovery.net Director Dominique Simon-Levine weighs in with a reminder to practice communications skills, and to take care of yourself – all part of the CRAFT curriculum at Allies.

Here Come the Holidays – How Do You Deal?

Holidays. Winter. How do you deal? Start by shifting expectations about how things might go, and who might be there. Have conversations about “soft” expectations with your loved one in advance. Consider alternative plans, and take care of yourself. Stick with people who support you. How can you shift yourself, your belief system, and your behavior? Share duties, and consider an alcohol-free holiday, whether your loved one has any issue with it or not.

Here Come the Holidays – How Do You Deal?

Holidays. Winter. How do you deal? Start by shifting expectations about how things might go, and who might be there. Have conversations about “soft” expectations with your loved one in advance. Consider alternative plans, and take care of yourself. Stick with people who support you. How can you shift yourself, your belief system, and your behavior? Share duties, and consider an alcohol-free holiday, whether your loved one has any issue with it or not.

In-Person & Virtual Recovery Resources for Your Loved One

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS (AA World Services, Inc.) Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other, that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. This is an informational website for anyone interested in learning more about their organization, 12-step program of recovery, and how to find local meetings. PHONE: 212.870.3400 Click here for Online AA Meetings What is AA? What to Expect in an AA Meeting  What is Anonymity in AA?  AA INTERGROUP ONLINE MEETING FINDER IN THE ROOMS In The Rooms offers over 150+ weekly live online meetings, a variety 12-Step and Non-12- Step Fellowships, and Specialty meetings. Some of our most popular meetings are AA, NA, ACA, Al-Anon, and Nar-Anon meetings, and much more. In The Rooms has 69 live online AA meetings weekly, so there’s bound to be one that fits your schedule! We have specialty AA meetings too, like AA Pride (LGBTQ). We also have an Agnostic AA meeting, if you’re seeking a meeting without a secular approach to recovery. We have 30 NA meetings on ITR weekly. Like AA, there’s also an NA Pride meeting (LGBTQ) and an Agnostic NA meeting. For support for the family, friends, and allies of those in recovery, In The Rooms has both Al-Anon and Nar-Anon meetings, which each meeting, 1-3 times a week. We also have many other 12-step fellowship groups, like Gamblers Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, and Sex Addicts Anonymous, CODA, Dual Diagnosis, and much more. If you can think of a Recovery fellowship, we probably have it.  FULL LISTING of LIVE VIRTUAL/ONLINE MEETINGS  12Step.Org We strive to provide information, tools, and resources for working a 12 Step program (or any program using 12 step principles for recovery) in as simple and effective way as possible. Online Meeting Calendar Online Video Meetings Phone Meetings Forums, Text Chats, and Email Meetings List RECOVERY DHARMA Recovery Dharma is a peer-led movement and community that is unified by our trust in the potential of each of us to recover and find freedom from the suffering of addiction. We believe that the traditional Buddhist teachings, often referred to as…

The Importance of Self-Care During Conflict

Times of crisis in conflict may seem like the worst times to practice self-care – yet in those moments, taking care of yourself is key to CRAFT. The more you learn to increase your awareness of your self and your reaction, the more you can successfully use CRAFT tools. If what you want to happen in those times involves your loved ones actions, it’s not likely to be successful.  Changing your actions and reactions, however, alters the environment and creates the possibility of change.

The Importance of Self-Care During Conflict

Times of crisis in conflict may seem like the worst times to practice self-care – yet in those moments, taking care of yourself is key to CRAFT. The more you learn to increase your awareness of your self and your reaction, the more you can successfully use CRAFT tools. If what you want to happen in those times involves your loved ones actions, it’s not likely to be successful.  Changing your actions and reactions, however, alters the environment and creates the possibility of change.

“We Were So Blind” : Dr Bessel van der Kolk on Healing Trauma, Part II

In this second part of his discussion on healing trauma—which is perfectly understandable on its own—celebrated psychologist and author Bessel van der Kolk will leave you feeling both hopeful and humbled. Whether it’s professional-administered psychedelics, EMDR, or yoga, he sees a world of promise for trauma sufferers. But he also stresses that these treatments, like trauma itself, are something we’re just beginning to understand.

A CRAFT Approach To Verbal Abuse

Provided the abuse isn’t physical, CRAFT can be your guide to a constructive response to negative interactions. Physical safety should come first in all relationships. But even in the absence of physical violence, a Loved One’s verbal abuse can be painful and damaging. As with other complications surrounding substance use disorder, CRAFT offers a clear, straightforward, and proven approach to dealing with harmful talk from a Loved One. Allies’ Laurie MacDougall outlines the fundamentals.

Traumatic Stress and the Body: Healing Together

We are hardwired to respond strongly to trauma—and those responses can linger even when the source of trauma’s gone. In Part One of a marvelous discussion, psychiatrist and author Bessel van der Kolk helps us understand our own involuntary behavior when faced with (or remembering) trauma, and how we can change that behavior for the better.

Asking Effective Questions

Laurie and Kayla discuss questions that create space for your loved one rather than hemming them in. We may have brilliant ideas about what others should do and want to share. However, the skills we need are openness and willingness, to provide space to hear the other person and provide an opportunity for them to process. Back up, don’t interrupt, and let your loved one talk without offering feedback.

Asking Effective Questions

Laurie and Kayla discuss asking questions that create space for your loved one rather than hemming them in. We may have brilliant ideas about what someone should do, and want to share. The skills we need, however, are openness and a willingness to hear the other person and provide space and opportunity for them to process. Back up, don’t interrupt, and let your loved one talk without offering your feedback.

“We Are Absolutely the Worst People” in Her Life: When Mental Illness, SUD, and Blame Collide 

Your CRAFT skills may be put to the test, but they’re still indispensable. Perhaps more than ever. At Allies in Recovery, we’re always impressed by the mutual support our members give each other—and wherever possible, we try to build on it. At the heart of this post is a conversation about how to take care of your emotions while staying connected with your Loved One (LO). It leads to a stark question many of us coping with SUD grapple with: how do you support a Loved One who blames, rages, and is verbally out of control? Laurie MacDougall tackles this vital, thorny issue. 

Creating a Safe Space for Decision Making

You can help your loved one make decisions by creating a safe space — by listening, being genuinely interested in their perspective, being non-judgmental, and allowing them to slow things down to examine their own thinking. Avoid trying to fix things yourself, and assume that they’re wise enough to know what they need. Your role is to help them make their own choices.

Does This Level of Violence Rule Out CRAFT?

Nohp’s husband of 48 years is struggling with heavy alcohol use. Recently his behavior has become more alarming, and even violent. Now she’s staying outside their home, and wondering if that violence means the CRAFT approach isn’t right for their circumstances. Allies CEO Dominique Simon-Levine thinks it probably is. While underscoring that no one can decide for her, she advises Nohp to explore the skills training and support resources offered through Allies in Recovery. Quite simply, they work, and have a track record to prove it.

Creating a Safe Space for Decision Making

You can help your loved one make decisions by creating a safe space — by listening, being genuinely interested in their perspective, being non-judgmental, and allowing them to slow things down to examine their own thinking. Avoid trying to fix things yourself, and assume that they’re wise enough to know what they need. Your role is to help them make their own choices.

How, Why and When to Put Yourself First

How do you take care of yourself when there’s a crisis with your Loved One? It’s a process of changing how you think about yourself and your role in the dynamic. If you can change how you think – even for small parts of the day – it changes the dynamic with your Loved One, allowing them the freedom to look at themselves, and not just worry about how they impact you. Hosts Laurie MacDougall and Kayla Solomon share tips on this episode of “Coming Up for Air”.

How, Why and When to Put Yourself First

How do you take care of yourself when there’s a crisis with your Loved One? It’s a process of changing how you think about yourself and your role in the dynamic. If you can change how you think – even for small parts of the day – it changes the dynamic with your Loved One, allowing them the freedom to look at themselves, and not just worry about how they impact you. Hosts Laurie MacDougall and Kayla Solomon share tips on this episode of “Coming Up for Air”.

Three Common Thinking Traps, and How to Avoid Them 

Our minds have various kinds of natural bias. Fortunately they can be recognized and resisted. Bias affects everyone’s thinking. While it isn’t always a disaster, it can cause serious problems, including misunderstandings and conflict between Loved Ones. In this NPR interview, Yale Professor Woo-kyoung Ahn discusses three of the most common sorts of bias, and how we can train ourselves to counteract them. 

Motivation: What Drives Change?

Motivation drives change. How do you find motivation to change your part of the dynamic, and allow time and space for the process to unfold? It’s okay to sometimes feel like maybe things aren’t working, then get back on track. If you don’t know how to change, Allies in Recovery offers a toolbox. As long as you stay interested and use the tools, things can change.

I Think I’m Ready to Ask Him to Leave – Even Though I’ve Been Doing CRAFT

An active Allies in Recovery member wrote in to our “Pose a Question” blog with an update about her partner who continues to use substances and to be emotionally volatile, despite having previously done a 30-day recovery program. While she says that participating in our Wednesday night support group with Kayla, along with other CRAFT resources on our site, has been “a huge help” with her own well-being, she still isn’t having success in engaging her loved one into treatment again. She asks: Has the time come to ask him to leave?

Home or Recovery House? It’s Not an Easy Call

An Allies in Recovery member is fortunate to have a loved one she feels perfectly safe with, but the stress of living with him post-rehab still feels overwhelming. What’s the best housing choice for their situation? Both living at home and living in a recovery house come with their own unique challenges. Either way, the best chance for success is to be as informed as possible.

Combatting That Morning Dread: Brené Brown on Courage, Vulnerability, Empathy and Self-Worth

“Don’t walk through the world looking for evidence that you don’t belong, because you’ll always find it.” Professor Brené Brown delivers a powerful statement about the nature of courage, and how it can’t exist without an embrace of uncertainty and vulnerability. At the same time, she makes a passionate case for self-affirmation. Her message is one of challenge, promise, and hope.

Is Suboxone a Good Thing for Your Loved One?

An Allies in Recovery member is overwhelmed by all the conflicting information and stances on Suboxone. Her 40-year-old son has struggled for 15 years with opioids and other drugs, and his new treatment plan includes Suboxone. Is this a good thing? CRAFT Trainer and Family Recovery Advocate, Laurie MacDougall, weighs in with an array of facts and lived experience.

I’m Not the One Who’s Sending Him to Jail

An Allies in Recovery Member has been caught in a long cycle of “bailing out” their Loved One after every relapse. Sometimes it’s been money for rehab, other times it’s been money for lawyers to keep him out of jail. Is it time to break that cycle? Loving someone doesn’t mean shouldering responsibility for all the choices they make. 

Boundaries and Rewards: Tips on Using CRAFT

An Allies in Recovery member is encountering difficulties with removing rewards and holding boundaries. They’re asking their loved one to leave when he’s drinking, but he simply refuses! In this post, we offer a little refresher on rewards – when to use them, and what kinds – as part of the Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) approach that we teach you on our website.

Working on my Own Recovery

She is facing some hard truths as she looks back on the past ten years of her husband’s addiction. He is finally sober, but he has yet to acknowledge what he put the family through. What should she expect at this point in her loved one’s recovery.

I Have no Patience Left

The courts failed to enforce treatment for her daughter, once out of jail. Now her daughter’s life is a real mess. Take a look at how Dominique Simon-Levine lays out an approach to help this family member stay on track.

How do You Trust Again?

We often find ourselves wondering how to repair the bonds that are broken when trust has been violated. In this thoughtful exploration of the topic of trust, Annie Highwater shares her insights about the repair process. You won’t want to miss the gems of wisdom shares in this post!

Drug Addict Husband – She’s Hopeless and Exhausted

She has struggled through 12 years of her husband’s addiction, having single-handedly provided for their family for all of these years, and is now at a loss. All of the patience, love and compassion she used to have seem long gone, and resentment keeps mounting. CRAFT looks at where to best focus our energies when these feelings weigh us down.

Her Boss Doesn’t Know What She is Dealing With

This mom received a harsh note about her work performance on the eve of her holiday break. Her loved one’s addiction has consumed so much of her energy and time that she hasn’t been able to devote as much attention to her work as she’s used to. Unable to share any of this with her boss, she feels anxiety and shame about his poorly timed message.

Does Worrying Prove I Love You?

What’s the antidote to worry and where does it show up in your body? How is it connected to love? Can worry ever be helpful? When does worrying cross the line and become destructive, or self-destructive? What does Allies in Recovery have to offer when worrying about your loved one is taking over your thoughts?

An Extract from David Sheff’s ‘Beautiful Boy’

David Sheff’s story about his son’s addiction and recovery has led him to several realizations about himself as a parent his own need to recover from the experience. He found that his constant suffering and struggle through near crises with his son was easier to deal with than focusing on himself. Today, their relationship has evolved into one of independence, acceptance, compassion and always love.

I Found Comfort in the Chaos

When a loved one enters treatment, there is often a feeling of emptiness which comes suddenly after a prolonged period of anxiety and stress. The source of constant focus and worry has gone off into treatment but the strong emotions associated with their presence may linger. Laurie MacDougall shares how she coped in this situation, learning how to let go and take care of herself.

Now That He’s Sober, I Never Hear From Him

It takes a lot of mental work to get and remain sober and so a recovering loved one may be unintentionally careless with those who support them. If we recognize that people do the best they can with the tools they have in the moment, then we can accept this carelessness more easily. In the meantime, take care of your own well-being.

Podcast: “CRAFT! Where Have You Been All My Life?”

In today’s podcast, Annie and Laurie welcome Allies in Recovery founder, Dominique Simon-Levine, to explain the CRAFT method for helping families support an addicted loved one into treatment and through recovery. They share their personal experiences in implementing the CRAFT methodology and why it became their ‘strategy of choice’ not only in helping their addicted loved one, but also in looking after their own well-being.

Reaching Level 10 Stress…and Stepping Away

The long-term stress I experienced caused me to become very forgetful, hasty in my decisions, confused and socially awkward. I also noticed that during that time of my life I became very clumsy. It became obvious to me that I was heading for a crash if I didn’t get ahead of my stress. I knew I had to develop different responses. I knew that I didn’t want addiction, terror and chaos calling the shots anymore.

Is Your Hope at the Mercy of Others?

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.

You Oughta Be Ashamed of Yourself!

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.”

What I Did to Get Better

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 …