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

    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

    Recovery Month Awareness for the Families of Loved Ones Affected by Substance Use By Jackie Stein, BALM® Family Recovery Life Coach

        Many of you know that I have spent the last couple of years studying to be both an addiction counselor and also a BALM® Family Recovery Life Coach. Counseling gives me the opportunity to work with others who are struggling to maintain recovery as well as learning to live life on life’s terms in early recovery. Be A Loving Mirror (BALM®) is a program that teaches families how to be their loved one’s best chance at recovery and how to avoid being their loved one’s best chance at relapse. I would like to tell you a bit more about BALM®, how I came to be a family member and how that has brought me full circle to studying to be a certified Family Recovery Life Coach. I first came to the BALM® program as the partner of a loved one struggling to get and maintain recovery.  I was… Continue reading

    Podcast with Jodee Prouse, Author of The Sun Is Gone

    Jodee Prouse is a speaker, blogger and author of the powerful memoir The Sun is Gone: A Sister Lost in Secrets, Shame, and Addiction and How I Broke Free. She is an outspoken advocate to eliminate the shame and stigma surrounding Addiction and Mental illness as well as empowering women to survive life’s challenge’s and family crisis. Jodee has two adult sons and has been married to her husband Jim for 27 years. They share their time between Sylvan Lake, Alberta and their cottage in Oroville, Washington. I talked to Jodee Prouse recently about her deeply intimate book, The Sun Is Gone. Everyone in the world should read this book. It’s a story of family and the consequences of addiction for all it’s members. It is raw and honest and brave, but full of compassion and empathy. Jodee and I spoke the day after she had to put her beloved dog to sleep, so… Continue reading

    One Of Millions – By Regina Walker

    It is the eve of the anniversary of my sister’s suicide, and I am watching a 12-minute video Irish performer Sinead O’Connor posted on her Facebook wall. In it she is tearful, saying that she is suicidal and alone. She is both pleading for help, and chastising those who she believes should be helping her (“my children, why is it acceptable that your mother lives in a fucking Travelodge?”). O’Connor describes herself as “one of millions” who are suffering from mental illness and the stigma that goes with it, and who have been abandoned because of it. In the video, she speaks directly to her family a number of times, and asks why they are afraid of her. “I am 5’4”. I sent angry emails but how can you be afraid of me?” I remember the soulful eyes that were so mesmerizing in O’Connor’s video for her song Nothing Compares… Continue reading