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THINK Before You Speak!

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 21, 2017 9:00:00 AM / by Sherry Gaugler-Stewart posted in Family, Family Program, family recovery, communication, alcoholic loved one, family support

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When I started attending recovery meetings for family members affected by someone else’s addiction, something became clear to me pretty quickly: I had no idea how to communicate in a healthy manner.

The communication that had taken place in my marriage when alcoholism was present ran through three phases.  Phase 1 was to talk to him about his drinking and use whenever I could, and however I could, in the hope of making him stop.  Phase 2 was not talking about his drinking and use at all, with the hope that if I ignored it would go away.  Phase 3 was letting the frustration of this situation take over, and not talking about anything – otherwise known as the silent treatment. Of course, staring at someone else and thinking at them until they figure out what’s wrong is not the most effective communication tool…

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When Someone You Love is Struggling.

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 21, 2017 9:00:00 AM / by Sherry Gaugler-Stewart posted in family addiciton, family recovery, family support, Family Program

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Currently there is a situation in my life that doesn’t have any direct impact on me, and yet it’s been on my mind and on my heart.  Someone I love is struggling.  It’s deep and painful, and it’s difficult to watch.  I’ve often thought that if I had to choose between my own heartbreak, and the heartbreak of someone I love, I would choose my own time and time again.

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Children are Part of the Family, too!

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 23, 2017 9:59:55 AM / by Sherry Gaugler-Stewart posted in family recovery, family support, family addiciton, alcoholic loved one

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The Family Afterward

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 19, 2016 9:05:00 AM / by Mark Korman posted in Family Program, family support, Al-anon, Recovery

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When I am facilitating Family Program sessions I often ask participants to think of a family affected by addiction like a mobile floating over a child’s crib. When you imagine a mobile, there are a few things that instantly come to mind.  You’ll see a bunny, bear, frog, and bird: rotating around and helping the mobile to maintain balance.  There’s often quiet music playing in the background.  

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Recovering Hope: The Pain is Mandatory, but the Misery is Optional

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 24, 2016 9:30:00 AM / by Sherry Gaugler-Stewart posted in families, Family Program, family recovery, family support

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It’s a gray and rainy day, and I’m sitting in a room with a group of people who never wanted to gain entry into the retreat we’re hosting.  They desperately tried everything in their power to never be here.  They formulated plans, they had talks, they paid good money, they supported, they begged, they pleaded, they researched, and they loved with all they had.  And, yet, here they are: the folks who have lost a loved one to the disease of addiction.

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I’m Over Here Loving You if You Need Me

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 19, 2016 1:00:00 PM / by Sherry Gaugler-Stewart posted in Family Program, family support, Family

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“Detachment is not a wall; it is a bridge.”
–Courage to Change p. 22

Detachment.  It’s often viewed as an ugly word, at least at first, by family members who love someone who struggles with alcoholism or addiction.  Many of us come with pre-conceived notions about what detachment means.  Most of us decide, without delving any further into the concept, that it means abandonment.  And, we know that we’re not willing to abandon someone we love, especially when they are struggling, so therefore we won’t be detaching from them – thank you very much!

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The Acting Out Child – Bad Attention is Better than No Attention

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 15, 2016 11:00:48 AM / by Mark Korman posted in Family Program, family support, family recovery

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All children living in homes where addiction is present experience some sort of impact. Some of their reactions are predictable, while some dynamic behavior combinations are completely unique and organic to each child. These reactions are defenses and are all situationally established to create a sense of safety or relief. Claudia Black, Ph.D. and national expert on the Family Disease of Addiction, has researched the patterns of reactions that children experience. She identifies one of these childhood roles as “The Scapegoat”.

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The Adjuster, or “Lost Child” – Relief through Quiet Resignation

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 18, 2016 10:00:00 AM / by Mark Korman posted in Family Program, family support, family recovery

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When addiction is present in the home, and the subsequent instability and inconsistency in relationships that accompanies it, the reactions that different children have is varied, yet predictable. Claudia Black, Ph.D. and national expert on the Family Disease of Addiction, identifies one of these childhood roles as “The Adjuster.” 

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Mindfulness during the Holiday Season

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 18, 2015 1:39:53 PM / by Ellie Hyatt posted in recovery process, addiction, Al-anon, Family Program, family support, family recovery, drug recovery, alcohol recovery, mindfulness

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The expectation of the holiday season can be stressful for everyone. For reasons that might be obvious, that stress seems to be even greater in families dealing with recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction. 

There is a simple practice that can reduce that stress and offer us the opportunity for a meaningful holiday experience; that is a mindfulness practice. It allows us to stop our racing thoughts, which are usually produced by some form of fear. It allows us to make choices that support our well-being. It allows us to be present.

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6 Things You Can Do to Help an Alcoholic Loved One

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 21, 2015 9:00:00 PM / by Ellie Hyatt posted in alcohol addiction, family support

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Family Recovery Series: 6 Things You Can Do to Help an Alcoholic Loved One

Part 6: Consider an Intervention

Last month we discussed talking about your concerns with the alcoholic.  Our alcoholic loved one may not agree with what we’re experiencing around their alcohol and drug use, but that does not negate our experience.  It is possible to let them know we’re concerned about what we’re seeing even if they don’t believe us. 

If these ideas are new to you, please read the first five entries in this series:

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