Tough love, I was told, was the only hope I had left. So I tried it and things got worse. I hated it and it didn’t even work. Then I developed a personal strategy that I called Smart Love.
Annie Highwater offers a mother the tools she learned at Allies in Recovery: CRAFT, and watches in real-time the positive results. The son has checked into treatment. A family’s hope is reignited — during the holidays!
Holidays tend to bring on some of the most emotionally charged situations. Here is a list of 5 suggestions offered by therapists and expert family advocates to help you get through the holiday season while taking care of yourself.
In our next podcast, Annie and Laurie welcome special guest Alicia Cook, an established writer and award-winning activist on addiction issues. Their discussion covers a range of topics from the very personal, Alicia Cook’s own experience with her cousin’s death from overdose 10 years ago, to her work today as an activist helping families affected by addiction. This very open discussion about the opioid epidemic reveals some harsh truths but also shows a way forward.
Annie and Laurie open up about where the focus was when they first became aware of their sons’ addiction, all the way through to where their goals and focuses are now. How did their goals evolve over time and how they depend on who your loved one is: a child, a spouse, a parent. They also conduct a short quiz to determine where one might be in the stressful process.
In today’s podcast, Laurie’s son Tommy opens up about his experience with SUD with a very moving account of surviving a terrifying overdose. This strong, raw, and honest conversation gives much insight into the mind of an addict, where they are and where they need to go in order to get better.
Annie and Laurie open up about the parallel issues that can arise during the worst of times. With their sons’ addiction raging, they also had to deal with what was going on on other fronts: chaos, crises, judgement, family discord. They learned how to respond to other’s remarks, and not react to them, how to stay united and not sink.
On this week’s Coming Up for Air podcast, Annie and Laurie talk with Annie’s son Elliot, whose opiate dependency and recovery is detailed in Annie’s book “Unhooked.” Elliot opens up with an honest, raw perspective of where a son or daughter’s mind might be while in active addiction, what would have helped from his point of view, what to not take personally as the parent of someone struggling deep in substance use disorder. He also tells us what life looks like for someone in their 20’s pursuing sobriety yet wanting a fun, active lifestyle.
In this week’s podcast, Laurie and Annie compare support group experiences. They discuss what is helpful and what works, the importance of being among others who experience the same struggles. They also learned to be careful in some of these tricky group settings where giving support was sometimes equated with giving advice.
This week Annie and Laurie invite Laurie’s husband Trevor and Annie’s ex-husband Elliot Sr. to discuss what it means to “be on the same page” during a crisis and when making decisions. The conversation touches on blended families, exposing siblings to potentially dangerous behaviors, intrusions from others, being in agreement even though divorced.
Manipulation is used as a strong arm tactic when there is no healthy communication: “Healthy families communicate, unhealthy families manipulate”. In this podcast, Laurie and Annie discuss their own experiences with manipulation. How do we recognize manipulation when it’s present? How do we as affected family actually manipulate as well?
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.
Laurie and Annie tell their own stories as mothers facing an addicted loved one. They discuss their backgrounds and family dynamics, speak about their lives leading up to and through their personal experiences with the national opiate crisis. Their compelling stories confirm that addiction is a disease and it’s a family disease that can happen to any family in any community.
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.
If you are the bystander watching this brutal disease from the front row, what do you do? Detach from someone you love as they are spiraling? What does it look like to detach? How do you abruptly cut them off? We hear “you have to detach” a lot, but what does it actually mean?
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.
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.
Vitriol can be described as a solution-less rant of hate-filled criticism. A brand of sulfuric acid was named Vitriol, reason being that the acid was strong enough to burn through anything, including steel and rock. Another permanent boundary I now have: I will not remain in the presence of vitriol.
It’s been said that for every one person struggling with addiction, there are at least 15 people affected. The effects are painful and relentless for those of us left in the wake.