Andrea’s Story

Andrea Arlington is a Certified BALM Family Recovery Coach, a Certified Transactional Analysis Practitioner and has Certification with ICF (International Coach Federation) pending. She is a Certified ASR Educator specializing in complementary communication techniques for enhancing intimacy in relationships, a non-denominational Minister, Mother, Grandmother and founder of Families United for Recovery.

Substance-use disorder has been prevalent in Andrea’s life. She is the mother of, the sister of and the former wife of loved ones who have suffered from this disease.

Andrea is the mother of Alexis, and like a foster mother to Alexis’s best friend Tess, who were both IV heroin users and are now both in recovery. She also lost her younger brother Ben when he was only 17, he was also an IV drug user. He drove his car into a tree one night high and under the influence of alcohol.

These traumatic experiences have spurred a deep passion in her to help other parents and families get the help that she didn’t even know existed, but so desperately needed.

Like her parents with her brother Ben, Andrea did not understand what she was dealing with when Alexis and Tess were using, or how to get them to stop. Like so many parents, she thought it was bad behavior and poor choices. Her focus was to try to control the behavior by punishing, withdrawing approval, shaming, blaming, yelling and screaming. Andrea tried to fix the consequences of their, “poor choices” so that things didn’t get worse. But they did get worse, much worse. Andrea felt like she was going crazy.

In retrospect, she came to understand that it was her lack of understanding and education about substance use disorder that caused her to push the girls further into their disease. Andrea became isolated and withdrawn from her normal life, struggling daily to cope with what she didn’t understand as she inadvertently pushed them and everyone else in her life away as she got more and more anxious, angry, resentful and hopeless every day. This was ironic, because in her heart, all she wanted to do was hold them close and wake them all up from the nightmare.

It wasn’t until both Alexis and Tess were in recovery from IV heroin use and her third husband who suffered from substance-use-disorder and in her opinion other addictions, left their marriage, that she finally hit her own bottom. There were times she didn’t feel like facing life any longer as her and her family’s journey with substance use disorder had left her feeling lost and without hope. Andrea, like many family members had experienced severe trauma because of living with addiction in the family. That was four years ago.

Back then, Andrea had little knowledge about substance use disorder, addiction and co-dependency. She tried Al-anon, and although it works for some, didn’t work for her. Andrea, felt she needed a much deeper connection with people who were also determined to become their loved one’s best chance for recovery, who were focused on connection and being loving even in detachment and understood the issues of people struggling with family recovery.  She didn’t find that in those meetings. Andrea most wanted and needed 3 things:

  1. to work with people and programs that gave her a fast track to recovering inner peace and sanity
  2. to get her life back on track
  3. to help her loved ones get and stay in recovery.

Her daughter Alexis’s husband Evan Haines, the co-founder of Alo House Recovery Centers in Malibu, suggested a great counselor to start working with Andrea toward these goals and towards her own recovery.

This led her to work with several other coaches and mentors. Andrea began was hyper focused and determined to become educated, mentored and coached by the best of the best in the recovery and family recovery fields and she did. As a result, she mastered the tools, found compassion for herself, her struggling loved ones and others on the recovery journey and found her own recovery after living in her own private, and sometimes not so private hell.

Andrea went through three coaching schools, became a certified Family Recovery coach and Relationship educator and turned the pain of her past into a career completely focused on being of service to parents and families who want to be their loved ones’ best chance at recovery.

Today she is a private coach for families who have loved ones suffering from Substance Use Disorder and offers live group coaching in Malibu, CA. at Alo House Recovery Center business offices. It is there that she assists other parents with Families United for Recovery using all of her experience, education, insight, and passion to provide parents with the tools they need to conquer this.

One of the pivotal ideas in her family recovery coaching and education program comes from the research that shows a loved one has a much better chance at recovery when one or more family members get into recovery themselves. She firmly believes in and emphasizes the power and force of families to first restore their inner balance and take a deep dive into their own recovery process. Only then can our inner peace and recovery touch those around us and impact every relationship and area of our lives.

Additionally, she offers educational workshops and private coaching for families teaching them to live with inner peace and to get calm, regardless of what is happening with their addict. Andrea helps parents and families to become aware, get out of denial, learn strategies and tools to help inspire and to become a catalyst for their loved one to choose treatment and sustain long-term recovery.

Andrea decided she never wanted to see or hear of another family member suffer the way that she did as a mom, sister and former wife of those who suffer from substance use disorder.

To help accomplish this mission Andrea works closely with many professionals in the recovery field to assist parents and family members help their children and loved ones who suffer from the beast of addiction, get into treatment and sustain recovery.