How To Help A Family Member In Recovery

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What to do when one of your family members, a partner or close friend is struggling with an addiction or eating disorder? 

You might be surprised to hear that about one third of my clients are not personally in recovery, but coming to see me because they want to learn more about, for example, how growing up with a person who drank problematically impacts them every day as an adult.

Or why it is so hard to see a sibling smoke too much weed.

Or why their sister's eating disorder just won't go away.

I touched briefly on this topic in one of my last emails to you, The Role of Siblings.

What I didn't mention in that email is how important family support is in recovery. It is very, very important.

In fact, the importance of family support in recovery cannot be stressed enough.

Treatment outcomes are much better when even just one family member other than the person struggling agrees to seeing a counsellor, too.

They could see a different counsellor, or the same one, and could come to sessions together or separately - any involvement has proven to be more effective than no involvement. 

And the more family members participate, the better!

Ok, so aside from joining the family member in recovery in seeing a counsellor, what can we do when a loved one is struggling?  


Try the following six steps: 
 

  1. Before all else, make self-care a priority.
  2. Learn about the substances and mental health problems your loved one struggles with.
  3. Don't let them abuse or hurt you or put you in danger. Ever. (If this is difficult for you, consider attending my boundaries workshop on November 14th in Toronto.)
  4. Help your affected family member become as independent as possiblein everyday life.
  5. Guide them towards appropriate community resources and treatment options and help them make use of those as best as you can - for example by becoming an accountability partner.
  6. When disagreement arises about which next step to take, work towards a compromise and find a way forward that all family members can agree with - including the member who struggles.

 

Let me know if you have any questions about these steps, I would be happy to answer them.

And if you have a friend who could find this information helpful, please feel free to forward it to them, too.

Webinar Replay Now Available!

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This is just a quick note to let you know that the replay of the free webinar I recorded last week is now available - all you need to do to watch is click the link. 

I know it says that it's for parents, but that's really not true - any woman who has struggled with emotional eating or binge eating will be able to relate to the content of our discussion and hopefully also gain some new insights around not only why diets don't work, but why they are flat out harmful.

At the beginning, Olivia - whom I would hire as postpartum therapist any day, by the way - talks a little bit about her own traumatic experience with dieting (it literally almost killed her... consider this your trigger warning!). 

Then, we dive right into the mindfuck that is living in a culture that wants to make money off our fear of being or becoming fat.

The struggle is real!

If you're interested in how Olivia and I approach those subjects, feel free to watch us in action here

And if our talk raises further questions for you, do let me know, I'm always happy to help.

Talk soon,
Annina

P.S. Do you know another woman/ mom/ caregiver who might be interested in this webinar? Please feel free to share the feminist love and forward them this email. <3

How To Train Your Resilience Muscle

** This is a transcript of a brief video I posted recently: "How To Become More Resilient" **

Today, I want to briefly talk to you about resilience. 

How come some people are more negatively affected by bad stuff happening in their lives than others? 

Well, we know that two things impact how resilient we are.

One of them is luck. (Okay, can't do anything about that!)

But the other one is actually how in control of our lives we feel.

If we are under the impression that we are an agent in what we do, and we can actually positively influence what's happening to us, we're more resilient than when we don't feel any kind of agency in our lives. 

The good news is that resilience can be learned!

It has so much to do with how we frame and conceptualize events that happen to us.

Next time something not so great is going on in your life, ask yourself how you see this event.

Is this something traumatic and horrible that's happening to you?

Or is this an opportunity to learn and grow?

Easier said than done, but worth a try, isn't it?