This topic is crucial, whether you're the family member, you're the person that has the addiction, your counselor, or you don't have anything to do with addiction at all. You need to know how to set and communicate effective boundaries.
The most effective way to communicate a boundary is by not verbally communicating. You see, that's where most people mess it up. They want to tell people what they can and can't do or what they will and won't do. You say to your kid, you can't have drugs in this house, or you can't come home drunk anymore. I know you want to communicate that way because you feel like you're setting a boundary, but boundaries are about your behavior, not their behavior.
You can set boundaries for your behavior.
When setting a boundary for your behavior, you must stop believing that people deserve a fair warning.
You have in your mind that because you've communicated the boundary, it's like you've set this new rule, and the person is to respect that.
It sounds great in...
Could you be inadvertently sabotaging your loved one's chance at getting sober? As a counselor, there are a few ways that I regularly see family members do that can undo all the work the counselor is doing to help a person who's trying to find sobriety.
Families, I'm about to call you out here, but before I do, let me say I've done every one of these. As I said, we don't inadvertently do these things. We're not trying to sabotage their recovery in any way. The things that we say are natural things to say. When you say these things it can be counter-productive. Not only is it not helpful, but it is pulling everything in the wrong direction.
1. Negative forecasting. I get why you'd want to do this. Negative forecasting is kind of like making future predictions that the person's going to fail or it's never going to work. Let's look at some different ways this might show up. Maybe you have it in your head that your loved one can never get better.
The problem is if you have that in...
Recently, I released a video titled, "Is AA(alcoholics Anonymous) a religion?" You can watch it HERE.
Now, I pose the question, Is alcoholics anonymous really a cult? What about narcotics anonymous or any of the anonymous' for that matter? (read to the end to get my opinion).
You've probably heard that AA is a cult, but we're going to take an objective look and find out what qualities of AA are like a cult and if AA isn't a cult, then what the heck is it?
I think the best way to tackle this question is to look at the qualities of a cult and see if AA has any of those qualities.
Spoiler alert! -- It has some of those qualities.
The first quality of a cult is having a questionable commitment to a leader. If you're familiar with alcoholics anonymous, you know that it was created by someone named Bill Wilson. Eventually, he brought along a friend named Dr. Bob, if you had to say someone was the leader of alcoholics anonymous, it would be Bill and Bob, for...
Do you feel like your loved one's addiction has turned you into a person you don't even recognize anymore? If so, that's pretty standard. It's easy to get on the emotional roller coaster with your addicted loved one.
Are you behaving and doing things that you can't believe you're doing? How do you get control of yourself and get back to being yourself, so you can live the life that you want to live?
How has your behavior changed?
How has your emotional life changed?
Are you constantly worrying?
Are you constantly obsessing and checking?
Those are pretty normal things that happen when you have a loved one who's addicted to drugs or alcohol. If your loved one lives with you, you're probably fixated on trying to figure out the lies from the truth and gather evidence. The more you do this, the more you lose yourself. It's like the person is chasing the substance, and you are chasing the person. Before long, everybody is being controlled by addiction.
What behaviors do you want to stop?...
How do you create a life that you love and that you can maintain?
Let's identify what those beginning strategies are.
All of those seem so blatantly obvious and that's why it's so important to learn those skills to get sober from substances. Keeping your sobriety is another story, am I right? There are some more advanced skills that you need to adopt if you want to manage them.
You see, for me, recovery management is, is all about sanity management. If you want to keep your sobriety or recovery long-term, you have to keep your head on straight. The reason why that's so important is that when you get yourself in an awful situation or you're upset when life throws you curveballs. These are the times that are likely to send you spiraling backward.
The first one on the list of advanced recovery skills is you have to learn to deal with problems and address them as they happen. We all...
We hear this all of the time. People say tough love is the only thing that works. When talking to people in recovery, if you ask them how they think you should help or not help your addicted loved one, they'll probably tell you to use tough love.
Research shows that tough love isn't the most effective strategy for helping an addicted loved one.
In this video, we're going to take a look at what tough love does. So what do I mean when I say, tough love? I have a thought process or vision and definition of my head, but you may have a different awareness about what it means.
When people usually talk about cutting someone off emotionally, they're letting them figure it out and allowing their loved ones to hit bottom. Now there's a little truth in that. I'm not one hundred percent against that. I do think that there are times where you have to back up and let people learn some hard lessons.
But in general, do I think you have to cut your addicted loved one off emotionally, financially,...
When you have a loved one with addiction, the pain, suffering, and loneliness are sometimes overwhelming. Do you know what makes these feelings worse? Having someone else in the family in complete denial over the loved one's addiction.
It's particularly frustrating when you can see the problem but someone else is
sabotaging you behind the scenes.
We see this play out so often in our office. The person in denial is either a parent, grandparent and occasionally a sibling. This creates a big problem because you have
one person who doesn't want to believe that the person has an addiction. It can interfere with the whole process of getting the addicted person to recovery.
This happens in almost every case. I get it, it's uncomfortable to absorb this information and to sit with it. It's much like a grieving process.
The denial is a self-protective mechanism of some sort. Denial is always protecting you from something that you're not...
The number one first big pitfall that can happen in early recovery is not understanding each other's perspective.
Where is the line between helping, supporting, enabling, and having empathy for someone struggling with an addiction? We're going to shed a little light on this for you so you can figure out what's helping and what's enabling.
I'm going to give you five reasons why being kind to someone, showing empathy, and even giving positive reinforcement can them figure out that they have an addiction problem way faster than when you try to do it more directly.
We get so frustrated and impatient dealing with someone who has an addiction because it's so clearly right there and it's just mind-blowing because the person with the addiction, can't see it. The more you push and try to get them to see the issue faster, the longer it takes them to get out of denial. When you come at someone directly like that, they immediately put their walls up and they get defensive. They'll no longer hear, listen, or even consider what you're saying. It's almost like a reflex even if they don't...
How do you rebuild trust after addiction has come in and destroyed your family? These are the foundational things that have to be there if you want to rebuild trust. I'll advise both sides-- the person that's addicted and the family.
Believe it or not, this is a two-way distrustful situation. The person with the abuse problem feels like their trust has been broken too. That's the thing about addiction, it causes chaos, heartbreak, and no one comes out of it unscathed.
I'm going to tell you what you need to do as an addicted person first. This isn't going to be easy to hear or easy to implement. But it is necessary!
1. The first (most important) thing you need to do is OWN UP to the damage you've caused. When you cause distress to the people that you love, they need to hear that you understand the depth and magnitude of what kind of position you put them in. You have to be vulnerable about this. You made choices along the way that got you in this situation, right? It's time to...