Go Within to Find Your Peace
I’ve heard it said that all of the spiritual work we have done up until now has been practice for the real inner work we must do now to keep our balance in these life-and-death times.
For those of us dealing with a struggling loved one, the real work has been going on all along, as we have done our best to stay sane while working to contribute to our loved one’s ability to stay alive and get recovery.
And yet, the coronavirus adds a new dimension.
Whereas before we were worried about our loved one’s ability to stay alive, now we are still concerned about that, and to it we add concerns about our own ability to stay alive.
Whereas before we were learning tools and techniques to deepen our spiritual practice so we could be more present for our loved one, now we know, if we didn’t already, that our sense of inner peace may be all that stands between us and the abyss in each moment. Now everyone we come in contact with, including ourselves, desperately needs us to Be the Peace so we can have objective, loving, nonjudgmental conversations that have the best potential to be helpful.
Whereas before we were alone in the realization that this moment is all we have, now it seems the whole world is being confronted by a fact we parents and family members of those who struggle with addiction have had to learn how to face: that this moment alone is guaranteed. Tomorrow is simply a thought—neither a reality nor a guarantee—and when it comes, it will simply be today.
In the BALM Program, we have 12 Principles, the third of which is
“It is important to let go without giving up or giving in.”
In “normal” times, we talk about how the thing we need to let go of is not our loved one, but the inner obsession we have with fixing things, with ensuring our loved one’s recovery, with making things turn out the way we want them to.
When we let go of obsessing, we are better able to live in the moment, to think clearly, to discern which actions can bear positive fruits and which of our loved one’s words are fact-based versus lie-based manipulations. The ability to do so can mean the difference between life and death.
The value of letting go of obsessions is seen in its ability to allow the family members to release that which is uncontrollable from our mental/emotional load so we can focus on those areas where we can make a difference.
In today’s situation, we have information coming at us from all angles, as do our loved ones. We can push at those around us to do the “right” thing, or model it calmly and powerfully, while lovingly sharing the facts as we see them.
The option to be present in our own lives, to be present to the reality presenting itself, can be very frightening, whether we are dealing with a loved one’s use or an invisible viral illness.
And yet presence—mindfulness—is our best start as we move in the direction of being our loved one’s best chance. On the other hand, the old ways of obsessing, controlling, having to be right—these lead only to more confusion and disagreement with those around us.
Go within to find your peace. It’s there. Not in the world around us. And on that basis, of finding peace within, we can calmly, lovingly be there for those we love as we have conversations and make decisions in these very challenging times.
Beverly Buncher, MA, PCC, CBFRLC, CTPC, known as the foremost family recovery life coach in the nation, is the founder and CEO of The Family Recovery Resources LLC and the BALM® (Be A Loving Mirror®) Training Institute for Family Recovery Services and Family Recovery Coach Training. The BALM® program makes the concepts and tools of family recovery accessible to all whose lives are affected by a loved one’s struggles with substance and other use disorders. Her book BALM® The Loving Path to Family Recovery tells her own family recovery story and gives families the skills to keep a loving connection alive while moving forward on their recovery journey. She is also the author of the forthcoming book Transformation: The Family’s Developmental Recovery Journey, numerous blogs and articles, and several workbooks and manuals for students of the BALM® programs.