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On the last track, we discussed the entry into family recovery in its early stages. We specifically discussed the four aspects of parallel recovery. These are, rebuilding is slow, personal examination, the family is still divided, and parallel recovery is only partial recovery.
On this track, we will discuss a task of early recovery. We will also discuss the phenomenon of release.
As you are well aware, recovery for an addict means not only stopping the use of their drug, but also reestablishing a life of meaning. Likewise, I find that each member of the recovering family must learn to reconnect with the drive for meaning. Have you observed in your practice, as I have, that the addictive family entering recovery is still driven by the instinctive drives of power and pleasure that were such an important part of the family’s defense mechanisms?
Step # 1 - Establish Honesty
I stated, “As an addicted family moves away from the addictive instinct to behave in self-destructive ways, and towards values and principles, they can be released from impulsiveness. Part of this involves realizing that honesty will help more than it will hurt, and that this honesty can help restore and renew the family. Natasha, you mentioned feeling uplifted and free the first time you spoke honestly in therapy about your alcoholism. Often, other family members can experience this same feeling of release by talking about what has happened in the course of the addiction.”
As you will see with Betty, her family moved towards the drive for meaning and the phenomenon of release, other emotions, such as fear, hurt, and frustration will seek release in a similar manner.
Step # 2 - Leaps of Faith
Step # 3 - Learn to Live without Crisis
Betty stated “It had been about a month and there had been no big fights. It was spooky, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I liked the niceness, but I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and I kept getting more tense. So one day I picked a glass up off the table and threw it against the wall, yelled at Mom that she was still nothing but a drunk, and ran out of the house. I thought I’d spend the night out, but they came looking for me. They had never come looking for me before. They weren’t even angry, they were worried… and I cried. I hadn’t cried for years.”
Do you have a client, like Betty, who would benefit from a technique to help him or her release the tension that can be caused by working towards reestablishing a life that contains more meaning? Would playing this track be beneficial to one of your clients?
On this track, we have discussed the task of early recovery, and the phenomenon of release.
On the next track, we will discuss the middle stage of family recovery from addiction and three major characteristics of this stage. These characteristics are, the family develops a new vision, more family stability, and moving from borrowed values to integrated values.
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