Tag Archive: family support

  1. How to Support Your Child’s Recovery Using Mindfulness

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    mindfulness for the family

    No matter what age group we’re discussing, family and peer support are critical in rehabilitation. This can be said for addiction or mental illness. However, children are at an age when they need tons of support in all aspects. Whether we realize it or not, children appreciate structure in their life, and the most immediate structure they are familiarized with is their home structure. Parental support is vital to your child’s development. They need the motivation to complete treatment and maintain sobriety. Feeling empathy and compassion from their family helps them maintain a sense of confidence and well-being, which will promote success in their recovery.

    Mindfulness Activities to Practice as a Family

    There are quite a few mindfulness exercises to choose from and not all of them work for everyone. Finding exercises that fit your child’s needs is critical. Here are three activities to get you started at home with your child, either one-on-one or as a family.

    Focus on Breathing

    This is a common technique used in the teaching of all meditation. The reason why focusing on breathing is a cornerstone of meditation is because it creates a sense of calm and control. Rather than becoming upset by things we have little control over, we focus our attention on something we can control: our breathing.

    Try creating a time where you and your child practice breathing exercises. Inhale through your nostrils and out through your mouth, trying to fill your lungs as much as possible and emptying until you can’t any longer. Focus on the sensations this creates, whether they are physical or emotional. The more this is practiced, the better you will become at controlling your breathing patterns.

    This exercise doesn’t have to only be practiced in a quiet setting. This method can be used anytime your child feels urges to use or is facing negative emotions. Explain to your child that this can be practiced in places like sitting at a desk in school, waiting in line at a store, or while riding in a car—anywhere that they feel stress is becoming overwhelming.

    Be Still

    In general, we tend to view being busy as being productive. We equate worthiness with what we succeed in accomplishing. Therefore, multi-tasking has become a virtue in our society. But is it healthy to remain busy constantly? No; it simply is not. The practice of mindfulness has always suggested that stepping away from the business of life and to simply “be” is vital to well-being. Science is beginning to suggest this, also.

    The Taoist philosopher Lao Tzu asks, “Do you have the patience to wait until the mud has settled and your waters are clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises on its own?” This is an excellent meditative phrase to promote the idea of stillness. The practice of stillness is a great tool for impulse control, which can help your child deal with cravings. Stillness also helps us understand that recovery is not a destination, but a journey. Sometimes we need to be still to see how far we’ve come.

    Stillness can be practiced by watching ripples in the water of creeks or streams, watching the flight of birds in the sky, observing an animal in their moment-to-moment actions. It is the simplest form of mindfulness meditation and can be performed anywhere and anytime necessary. You can practice this with your child by finding a location to sit peacefully. Holding a conversation with each other is not necessary, but perhaps the stillness will open a door for communication with your child about their recovery.

    Practice Loving Compassion

    The practice of loving compassion allows us to reconnect with our humanity. Humans have a natural need for human connection and companionship. Often in addiction, people feel like they have lost connection with their friends, families, and selves. Loving compassion helps your child to learn tools of self-love. This is vital to recovery. With self-love comes acceptance of what is, and through acceptance, we find progress.

    If you feel like you’ve lost connection with your child, practice loving compassion. This will be your opportunity to repair damaged connections between you and your child. This is also a time to show your child you love them and support their recovery. Perhaps it will also build trust as an avenue for more open dialogue about their feelings. Sometimes, telling your child that you support them is not enough—they need to see it, or feel it, to realize it’s there.

    Using language that promotes empathy is key to loving compassion. Talking to your child about the struggles of life is important because we all face them. Using phrases such as “just like me” can create a sense of connection. Your child needs to hear that they have urges and emotions just like everyone else, and most importantly, just like their family.

    While these are the simplest ways to practice mindfulness with your child, they are also the most important. They lead to success in other mindfulness practices. True Buddhist meditation is hard to accomplish when dealing with impulses and stress. Even the Zen Buddhists realize this and formed their type of Japanese zen meditation called Zazen, which is done with open eyes. This type of meditation is designed to give you a connection to your environment. Apply this to stillness and you can see how the practice of mindfulness translates throughout many societies and periods. It translates into recovery, as well. Supporting mindfulness techniques in your child’s recovery is key to their success.

    At Sustain Recovery, we work with you and your child to create a customized treatment plan, founded on evidence-based therapies. To learn more about how meditation and mindfulness can help your child as they navigate their recovery, please contact us today at (949) 407-9052.

  2. Beware These Enabling Behaviors

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    At some point, most people with addicted loves will be pressed with the question of whether they’ve ever enabled that person’s addiction. It’s natural to get a little offended by this question, but in reality, the line between the right kind of support and the wrong kind–the enabling kind–can be a tricky one to dissect. It’s hard to imagine kicking an addict out of the house, cutting off their food funds, or ending the friendship between you and them.

    Helping or Enabling?

    How do you know that you’re enabling a drug addict or alcoholic? If you’re making it easier for them to abuse drugs, either emotionally or practically, that’s enabling – even if you’re keeping them housed, bathed, and sane in the process. If you have to leave work early to pick up your daughter after your husband drunkenly forgot, that’s not enabling, but  if you’re picking your husband from the bar because he got too drunk to drive home…that’s enabling.

    On a broader note, if you find yourself doing anything more than your share in the relationship or friendship for the sole reason that an addict is using drugs or alcohol…you’re enabling. It’s a difficult urge to shake, the natural instinct to help our loved ones however possible, whenever possible. What you determine to be helpful in a single powerful instant, may not be helpful at all.

    What To Do

    This is a lot more complicated than “nothing vs something.” The point isn’t to send the addict to dig themselves even deeper, it’s to encourage them to get out. Say you have a child who refuses to wash his sheets. If you do it every week for him, he’ll never do it himself.

    You don’t have to let an addict hit rock bottom in order to stop enabling them. You need to try to get them into treatment before that time comes. After a while, your words may feel useless to you, but for the person struggling, that persistence can make all the difference when a moment of clarity strikes. Additionally, you can and should seek out services for this purpose exactly (conversation).


    To get into contact with an interventionist, or to get your loved one into treatment today, give us a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

  3. Love is the Central Ingredient of Recovery

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    Love is the Central Ingredient of RecoveryDrug addiction and alcoholism are diseases of selfishness and self-centeredness. Overcome by the mental and physical craving for drugs and alcohol, and addict or alcoholic lives to serve the needs of only themselves. Addiction rarely leaves room for the presence of true, unconditional love. It better serves the cycle of addiction to feel alone, unwanted, unlovable, and angry towards others. Addiction and alcoholism are riddled with shame and guilt. Experiencing the resurgence of love in recovery is part of rebuilding a normal lifestyle which places love above misery.

    Love starts in a recovering young adult addict’s home, yet the people who are closest to him in his home may have the most difficult time in sustaining their love for him. Drug addiction interferes with normal loving interactions that are found in healthy homes. Loved ones who are living with recovering drug addicts will need high levels of patience and perseverance. As well, the recovering young person will need to have patience for themselves. Recovery counselors will strongly encourage participation in support groups which can aid in gaining and sustaining these traits. These characteristics are best appreciated by people who can speak from personal experience in dealing with the same issues. Support group participants fill an important gap outside of the recovering addict’s home by giving them a welcoming and accepting community without judgment or condemnation.

    Emotional instability and mood swings will at times reflect everything but love. Early recovery is a roller coaster of emotions and experiences as the brain recalibrates. In therapy, young adults and adolescents are coping with their lives in ways they never have before, without the help of drugs and alcohol.

    Young adults who have had the most success in their recoveries often report that they made a firm commitment to get sober, and then found a new purpose in their lives that shifted their focus away from themselves. They find that activities such as volunteering in their communities or offering to help other addicts who are struggling in their recoveries give them a sense of purpose that also brings greater love into their lives.


    Love can feel like it goes missing when a home is taken over by an adolescent loved one’s  addiction. Sustain Recovery provides comprehensive family programming every weekend as part of our unqiue approach to extended care services. Offering a continuum of treatment for young adults in recovery, Sustain brings love back into life. For more information please call 949-407-9052.

I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.

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