Working on Ourselves and Our Relationships in the New Year – By Jackie Stein

  As we begin 2018, many of us seek to engage in new and healthy behaviors.  We plan to eat better and sleep better.  We plan to give up cigarettes or video games.  We also say we want to repair our relationships with our family members who are suffering from substance use disorders (SUDs). We know how to eat better and sleep better – we give up foods that are unhealthy and we drink lots of water.  We stop drinking caffeine in the evening and turn off our electronics at least an hour before bedtime.  We have tools for giving up cigarettes, unhealthy eating and video games, including medications and 12 step programs. Similarly, there are tools to aid and support us as we try to develop a healthy program for living with our loved ones.  That program involves tools and programs to both help our loved ones and repair… Continue reading

Myths and Misperceptions About Boundaries – Vicki Tidwell Palmer

If you grew up in a family where one or more family members repeatedly violated boundaries and wasn’t held accountable for their bad behavior, you may believe there are certain people with whom you don’t have a right to establish boundaries. This is simply not true. Often, people think about boundaries as attempts to keep others at arm’s length, or as punishment carried out by rigid, uptight, selfish, or frightened people. As such, boundaries are often thought of as harsh, cold, and uncaring. Because boundaries set limits, they can also be thought of as controlling, repressive, or restrictive of personal freedom. Healthy boundaries are none of these. One of the biggest misconceptions about boundaries is that they allow us to tell another person what he or she can or cannot do. In a parent-child relationship, that may actually be the case. However, in adult-adult relationships, we don’t have a right… Continue reading

Preparing our Relationships for the Holidays – Jackie Stein, BALM Family Recovery Life Coach

    The Norman Rockwell version of the family holiday party exudes warmth, peace and connection. In a family with a loved one in early recovery, the mere idea of a family gathering can cause enormous stress. Before our loved one entered recovery, their method for dealing with this stress likely involved drinking or drugging. While intoxicated they could deal with the insanity surrounding preparation for and engaging in holiday parties. For those who are now in the early stages of recovery, especially in the first year, attending these functions will likely involve a great of fear, regarding how they can manage these festivities and stay clean and sober, while still enjoying the family time together. Several ideas come to mind. First, both the person in recovery and the family need to have a plan for how they will handle the holidays for themselves and for the family as a… Continue reading

The Importance of Effective Listening When Dealing With an Addicted Loved One – By Jackie Stein

  Stephen Covey is said to have communicated the following concept: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” In my opinion, truer words were never spoken.  Effective listening is a skill to develop where the listener is truly doing so with the intent to understand what is being conveyed.  In the life of a family dealing with addiction, effective listening is one of the more important skills that we can use to help us to communicate effectively with our loved one and with each other. As many of you know, I am a Balm© Family Recovery Life Coach, but before beginning my coaching career, I was a family member with an addicted loved one who attended the BALM© Comprehensive Family Program. One of the most important skills I learned as a family member of an addicted loved one and continue… Continue reading

Are You a Victim or a Volunteer? – Vicki Tidwell Palmer LCSW, CSAT

  The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. − Alice Walker Don’t get me wrong, as a human being you have been victimized. Any time another person violates one of your boundaries, there is the possibility of victimization. Being lied to, cheated on, and ignored because of another person’s addiction are common forms of victimization. It is likely, if you are reading this article on this website, that you may have both experienced and perpetrated these types of victimization. The good news about victimization is that once you become aware of the fact that one of your boundaries has been violated, you can make choices that prevent further victimization. So, except in rare circumstances like unjust imprisonment or being held against your will, the experience of victimization lasts only a brief time (unless you become a volunteer by allowing it to… Continue reading