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Core Lesson 3
Change ~ Boundaries ~ Trust
If friends and family want a change in direction from the downward spiral of addiction and alcoholism, it often requires the difficult choice of getting out of the way. No one wants to witness pain or hopelessness in a loved one's life, yet these are two factors that motivate change. When a person begins to experience the pain or hopelessness that results from substance abuse, it can be a trigger to seek help.
Purposeful change occurs all through life. A move to a new city. A baby is born. An opportunity for better job. All change brings stress - even the good changes that we choose. So - imagine the stress brought into the life of someone who feels cornered and is making change due to pain and hopelessness. Whoa! That's hard!
Keep this in mind: Resistance to change is natural!
Change occurs over a course of time. Those affected by negative results of addictions develop a greater awareness. This awareness prompts us to put a new set of action in place. It's like a simple math equation.
C = A + NA
Change equals Awareness of a problem combined with the practice of New Action. Notice the emphasis of "practice." The new action is practiced again and again over a course of time until change comes about.
When the pain
of not changing
the pain of changing,
~ Mike Speakman ~
The Four Seasons of Recovery
for Parents of Alcoholics and Addicts
For family, the need for change often requires that boundaries be put in place. As we accept some of the "real reality" of the circumstance (See "Seven Statements of Sanity" in Core Lesson #1) we gain clarity and greater awareness. We examine the problem and decide new actions that need to be put in place. These are new actions that will bring healthy changes. Often this comes in the form of boundaries. We communicate our need and put the plan into action.
"This boundary is put in place to protect me - not to punish you."
"My little brother was well into his 30's before I accepted the reality that his alcoholic demon was terrorizing
my life. My husband and I moved out of state shortly after we were married. Yet when life gets hyper out of control for my brother - he shows up at my front door. We've gone through many seasons of him moving into
our guest room, living room and even in our camper. I've played the role of his detox specialist, chauffeur, accountant and marriage counselor. Last year, my husband and I were in counseling and became aware of
the stress and isolation we experience when my brother invades our life with his baggage of demons.
It took us time to examine the whole circumstance, but with the help of our counselor and some friends, we talked through several boundaries that we could put in place to keep sanity in our marriage. The conversation we had with my brother went well. He even apologized for the chaos he contributed. We outlined the steps we would put in place if he attempts to use us as his safety net. We were surprised at how agreeable he was.
"For I know the plans
I have for you,"
says the Lord.
"They are plans
not for disaster,
to give you
and a hope."
~ Jeremiah 29:11 ~
Five weeks later, we weren't as surprised when he showed up at our front door. As agreed, we stepped outside with him to talk and to check out his condition. He was in bad shape. We gave him the list of nearby facilities where he could receive help. He chose to sleep in his car. A few days later, he called asking to come over to talk. We agreed to talk. But we chose to meet at a diner for coffee. We listened. Offered to pray. Gave him the phone number of our counselor who had agreed to meet him - for coffee - at the diner.
I think my brother is at a motel downtown. After a series of
harassing phone calls, I texted him my pastor's phone number
and, once again, the list of facilities where he can receive help.
I also encouraged him to have coffee with our counselor.
Then I chose to block his calls. This hurts. But I love him enough to do the right thing.
He is an adult.
He has a path to recovery.
He can choose when and how to take his own step.
Remember: Resistance to change is natural!
We often identify problems as a process God places in our life.
* court date dealing with DUI *
* overdose that ends up in intensive care unit *
* losing custody of children *
These can be consequences that impact the life
of those who battle against addiction and alcoholism.
But these are not desires from our loving Father God!
"The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.
My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."
~ John 10:10 ~
Download the lesson. Check out 2nd page and read
"What Process Does God Design?"