Wednesday, September 19, 2012

You don't need to be asked to help someone

This is a true story that happened yesterday in our addiction education group. I was contracting out in another helping community and was waiting for the group members to come into our room. Directly in front of me was a woman who was dropping off her son as it turns out. Her son was not to hip on going to the group it appeared from his body language. As I began to shut the door, I noticed the woman was writing down somethings on her pad, while taking quick breaks to look up into the ceiling, and then jot more things down. I'm facilitating our group, and it was time for a break. The group members scatter outside, and I see the woman that was once there in the chair outside of our meeting place was gone. I walked outside for some fresh air, and there she was again. This time sitting behind a tree and appeared to be writing things down again, but this time four of my group members were over there. Her son, was 5 feet in front of me, smoking a cigarette. I asked him what was going on over there by the tree? He replied, go find out dude! Well, my curiosity was a running. I walked over to the tree, quickly, we only had 5 minuets left before group started. I then witnessed the lady on the ground, drawing what looked like tiny faces, and as I looked closer, hey- one of those faces was mine. Then the other people I saw my group faces. The group members were telling the lady what they were feeling, and how the face she was drawing, appeared to be accurate with the person. I asked respectfully to the lady, what made you draw these wonderful faces. She looked at me, and wrote, you don't need to be asked to help someone. I was in awe, a smile came across my face, a energy that was so strong, I almost felt dizzy. She was deaf, but she was there to help others. Wow, what a moment. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Being bullied but listening first!

Yesterday we had the wonderful opportunity to revisit our friends on the reservation. We did our reflection walk, and enjoyed the chants as we talked about what we saw and heard during the journey. As a group we decided to draw our experiences in the sand with wood sticks! Then the strangest thing happened. One of our new group members, he is 17 began to tell us about what it is like to be bullied by others. I decided to let him play out his words, almost stopping him twice in mid sentence, but was using the spirits above to guide him. As he talked, and spoke with rage, I followed the other teens faces and their body language. It appeared to me then, that this was not a time to intervene, or give counsel, just listen. Then as he wrapped up, we heard a loud noise, a howling. I thought for sure it was a dog. There are a plethora of dogs running wild all over up here. Another girl in our group, she was 19, began to chant, then the members all began to chant. I listened, and heard the howling again, it was surreal. I wanted desperately to talk about what the boy had just told us, but I bit my tongue, so to speak. We then got up and began our walk back to the community center. As we were walking this time, we could talk. At that time, one of the new members began to give advice to the boy who was being bullied, then everyone soon began to give advice. I then stopped right there. In my tracks. That was it! I was able to break down barriers by listening, then allowing the teenagers to feel comfortable and not forced. You see in this population, we always, respectfully, this writer included, force them to talk, and tell. This time they talked and shared on their own ground, their own time. We went back to our group place where we meet, and then talked about what it is like to be bullied. The unfortunate thing was my time for group was over, and the kids were pouring out running back to their Sunday fun. I wanted to run with this topic, and hear, feel all that I could. But, in reality, I did. Just not on my time table, but theirs! We as helpers, parents, teachers, all need to understand that meeting kids, teenagers on their level is what it is all about! Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Family Dynamics

Over the years I have found, like many helpers, that most people who suffer from addiction surround others with the affects and turmoil. When you are in a family where addiction is present, everyone needs help. Change in one person, will affect the whole family system. What happens is family member roles are re-defined. Each family member will have more to do and less to work on self. Marriage's sometimes become very strained when one partner is enabling the addict, or the other partner is trying to handle all the stress with the addicts behavior. Children of the addict or sibling's of the addict appear to change their role in the family system. When families contain more then one addict, usually there are layers of addiction in families. Often I find when clients are working their program, and remaining clean, that there biggest trigger or urge will come from their current family system. Family dynamics can be present in the addiction cycle and the recovery cycle. Members of the family who are not addicts will need support. One of the things that I see monthly with clients who are in recovery, and are staying in their health is the expectations of the client and family member are unrealistic. For example, addiction is not a primary need, it is secondary. Addiction is the substitute satisfaction of a unmet need. Meaning, the addicts flaws with the interpersonal relationships within the family are not going to go away instantly when the addict is in recovery, and staying in their health. The same goes for the dysfunctional family member who is not a addict, their behavior will not change if the addict is clean. Everything is a process in recovery. Family dynamics are important for the addict and the family to understand and identify. Behavior is the key here. Addicts and family members must learn how to balance their thoughts and control their behavior in a healthy way. The reality is some families will not be healthy all the time, and it is up to the addict, to be able to set healthy boundaries and understand that unrealistic expectations can be a gateway to relapse. As the family and it's core members will need to ascertain that the addict will not change overnight when he or she is clean, but may continue to struggle with their own mental health. Trying to fit back into the family will be a struggle but it does not need to be a unhealthy struggle if everyone is able to clearly define their roles in a positive approach. I tell all of my families of addicts and the addicts themselves, that time is on your side. Slow down, control your thoughts, work on self, balance your behaviors, use your higher power for guidance, and allow self to have fun in new and creative ways that validate you and your reconnection with your family! Stay in your health, stay in the moment.