Searching for hope? New insight? A different approach for your recovery and to become your loved one’s best chance at recovery from Addiction?
Searching for a new perspective and program for recovery, both for yourself and to help your loved one?
After dealing with my brother’s death from addiction, my 3 failed marriages suffering with addiction and my 2 IV heroin addicted daughters, I had to find something besides Al-anon and give it a try.
In the rooms of Al-Anon I heard “let go”, “let them hit bottom” but how was this going to give me peace or serenity?
Loving someone struggling with active addiction or what is now referred to as Substance-use-Disorder,(SUD) is so traumatic. How was “letting go” or “letting them hit bottom” any less traumatizing to me or them? Wasn’t there a better approach to helping them find the desire to change?
I’d read all the books and attended al-anon for 5 years during my second marriage. I recognized my co-dependency issues, still all the knowledge didn’t stop the anger from rising in my throat and the fear in the pit of my stomach whenever my daughters didn’t come home at night, or my husband walked through the front door and immediately went and smoked a joint in the back yard.
When I was lying awake at 4 a.m. listening for the front door and the girls stumbling up the stairs I wasn’t reciting mantras and doing breath work. No, my mind was replaying the last time the police showed up at my house with 4 squad cars and handcuffed my ex-husband and daughters in front of the garage while my neighbors walked their children to school on the street in front of my house. Then I remember the legal bills and the 6 year prison sentence hanging over Alexis’s head.
I had stood by my daughters’ and husbands through decades of addiction, it wasn’t until my first daughter was sober for a year, my 3rd marriage failing and my foster daughter, (formerly a prima ballerina who danced with NYC ballet at one time) was living on skid row in downtown Los Angeles after having been in and out of five treatment programs that I came to the conclusion that I needed help.
I studied with mentors, took classes on enhancing emotional intimacy in relationships, learned communication skills to motivate change in others and then I got certified in multiple relationship, family recovery and life coaching programs. I hired a private family recovery coach to help me master the skills I was learning and apply them to my family relationships and personal “opportunities”for growth.
Then I founded Families United for Recovery to help family members with loved ones who suffer from SUD and addiction get their lives back. We teach families skills and tools to effectively help loved ones get and stay sober. We teach families not “to let go” or let their loved ones ,”hit bottom”, which today can lead to death and can be seen as negligent. Families learn not to try to control, teach, preach, bitch, or moan, but rather to use well researched communication skills, leverage techniques and other tools to create connection. All in a loving manner.
You might be skeptical, as one can be when they think they’ve tried everything and feel like they’re at the end of their rope. But the research shows the greatest tool we have to inspire others to choose to change is based on the quality of our connection with them. How does “letting go” and “hitting bottom” apply to this research? It simply doesn’t. Al-anon is not a scientifically researched program, but the CRAFT approach to recovery and Motivational interviewing are both scientifically researched approaches to helping motivate people to change. I saw the results with my foster daughter Tess who after five times going through treatment centers finally chose to get sober after our family started applying the strategies. I’ve since then seen them work in dozens of families who have learned and applied them as well.
These tools and strategies are sensible and life changing for us as family members and often change the trajectory of our loved ones using.
With the right tools, the right perspective, and the right support, it’s possible to live with a loved one who is struggling, and sometimes crazy and not become even crazier ourselves.
Families who get educated and learn these tools often report they have a newly gained sense of hope that they can and do make a difference with their loved ones and are their best chance at recovery, when they focus on their own recovery.
The research shows that families play a critical role in their loved ones lives that either lead to furthering their using or helping them move toward recovery.
Traditional family recovery programs often tell family members that they can’t play a role in their loved ones recovery. It’s out of their control. It’s up to our loved one to get help, and the best we can do is accept and let go. The Families United for Recovery program, advocates for getting calm, getting educated, learning acceptance and non-judgment, letting go of the emotional attachment to the results. These are critical to family members getting their own lives back. But, when they do find deep, radiant, infectious recovery for themselves, that becomes their loved one’s best chance at wanting and finding recovery, too.
When families learn effective tools and strategies for dealing with their loved one’s behavior, learn to trust their own eyes and ears, have a healthy amount of compassion and empathy, have the personalized support to put their tools, well-rehearsed communication/scripts, and leverage into action, it has the potential to change everything.
I have experienced this to be true personally with my family and professionally, as a relationship and recovery life coach having helped families transform not only their lives, but their loved one’s as well.
by Andrea Arlington
Families United for Recovery helps families learn new tools and strategies to help make change as inviting as possible for your loved one.