Be A Loving Mirror (BALM®) Family Recovery Education Class
The Be A Loving Mirror (BALM®) Method What It Is
BALM® (Be A Loving Mirror) programs provide family members of individuals with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) a path to peace and loving kindness that leads to freedom for the family and their loved one. BALM® family members make the conscious choice to BE peaceful, non-judgmental, observers in their loved one’s life. On that basis, they share the facts of what they are seeing and are able to give their loved one the opportunity to hear those facts without getting defensive.
This approach changes the atmosphere in the home from one of fighting and conflict to one of peaceful acceptance of the reality facing the family. Rather than becoming a doormat, the family member has become someone their loved one can rely on to be real with them.
When they hear reality being shared without the anger, bitterness and judgment they have so often had to endure from those who witness their life choices, it is easier for individual with SUD to digest it.
With this new approach established, family members give the person they love the chance to listen and learn and to potentially choose a new way of living.
This way does not guarantee your loved one will choose the path of recovery, though it does increase the chances that they will. In addition, it allows the family members to ‘be there’ for their struggling loved one in a way that leaves a loving space open for their loved one to make healthier choices sooner than they otherwise would.
CLIENT TESTIMONIAL "This course has helped me so much with my boundaries and anxiety, and to see what I can fix and what I can't. I've been in 15 yrs of counseling/therapy, and this course has made more difference for me than all that. It's changed all my relationships. I actually feel like I'm going to be OK." ~ Deb
Summary of The 12 BALM® Principles
Developed by Beverly Buncher, MA, PCC, CTPC Family Recovery Life Coach and Founder of Family Recovery Resources, LLC
While these 12 Principles of BALM® Family Recovery may seem familiar, they are all infused with our special concept of Be A Loving Mirror. Everything we do, everything we suggest, and everything we teach is based on this concept. We do this because we see the changes in families that use the Be A Loving Mirror approach.
Principle One: The Family Has a Crucial Role to Play in Early Recovery
The family has a powerful role in a loved one’s recovery. Research shows when the family gets well, the individual with SUD has a better chance of getting well. This lesson maps out how the family can most effectively help a loved one choose to recover emphasizing 5 Tips and 7 C’s.
Principle Two: Change Happens in Stages
Change happens in stages. This is important for families to understand. Often, we have a substance-using loved one and all we want is for the use to stop. We ‘put them in treatment’, expecting everything to be all better. If only it were that simple. This week, we will look at how change happens in a person struggling with substances. We will also learn ways to communicate that can help you help your loved one move from one stage to the next. As we do so, we will look at the importance of being patient with yourself.
Principle Three: It is Important to Let Go Without Giving Up or Giving In
In this lesson, the focus will be on how to develop a sense of persistent inner calm in the middle of the storms that your loved one’s SUD will inevitably bring into your life. To many people, letting go means ‘standing back and doing nothing’. Using the Be A Loving Mirror approach, we will teach you to stay involved without holding on too tightly. Learn what kind of interaction is and is not beneficial with your struggling loved one. This is the work before you as a student of family recovery.
Principle Four: You Can Be Your Loved One’s BEST Change at Recovery
A family member can either contribute to a loved one’s SUD or their recovery. You will learn about enabling their SUD vs. helping their recovery; how to stay out of denial; the importance of setting and sticking to boundaries; making conscious decisions about your own behavior; and when to get outside help. With case histories, examples and guidelines, you will learn what it takes to become your loved one’s best chance at getting and staying sober!
Principle Five: Keeping Your Focus On Yourself and Off of Your Loved One Will help You Both!
The importance of self-care is almost a truism. Yet, how does one justify taking their eyes off of a suffering loved one and putting their attention on themselves? This is the focus of week five. Replete with charts, lists and tables, this week’s work book will give you many ideas to help you put self-care high on your list. In addition, you will learn about how dependency develops and how the phenomenon of addiction switching affects individual with SUDs and family members.
Principle Six: Your Primary Task is to Be A Loving Person
“All you need is love.” When the Beatles sang that line so many decades ago, a whole generation fell into an understanding of love both romantic and passive. BALM® Family Recovery turns this definition on its head. There is a difference between being loving and being ‘nice’; between doing things for others and encouraging them to take responsibility for themselves. We will look at the power of love to help you help your loved one get well.
Principle Seven: Don’t Set A Boundary Unless You Are Determined to Stick To It!
If you ask any family member what is most difficult about dealing with a loved one’s SUD, most will say setting boundaries and not giving in to manipulation. This lesson discusses what it means to set healthy boundaries, how to set them, the obstacles standing in the way of setting boundaries, and how to stick to the boundaries you set. If you have ever had to say no to a demanding individual with SUD, you will appreciate this lesson.
Principle Eight: Getting Support Will Greatly Enhance Your Recovery
One of the hardest things for a family member to accept is the fact that they need help as much, if not more, than their loved one. Yet it is true. And there are two reasons for this: one, the family member witnessed and remembers all that their loved one did while the individual with SUD may not. Two, when the family gets help, the user has a much better chance for recovery. We will also look at resistance and how to get through it; the types of help and support available; and how to pick the help that’s best for you.
Principle Nine: You Can Explore and/or Heal Your Relationship with Spirituality
Figuring out what spirituality means to you and developing a relationship with that deeper reality, can offer a meaningful addition to your recovery journey. Yet, people whose lives have been touched by a loved one with SUD, often experience anger and disappointment in relationship to that which is sacred or holy. If, however, you are open to finding or renewing an ongoing relationship with spirituality that works for you, this lesson can help.
Principle Ten: You Can Heal Your Relationship with Yourself
In this lesson, you will have the chance to better see your strengths and the potential for growth, as you discover a path to inner development. This powerful lesson gives you ideas to consider and explore which helps you develop a stronger, more positive relationship with yourself. The stronger and more self-aware you are, the more you will be able to help your loved one.
Principle Eleven: You Can Heal your Relationships with Others
Being in relationship with a struggling loved one can be very painful. This lesson is about how to keep that pain from turning into suffering. The five ideas explored and developed in this lesson are: we are all connected; actions and reactions have an impact; it only takes one person to heal a relationship; moving from reacting to responding can change a relationship from toxic to healthy; and the value of working on yourself.
Principle Twelve: Be A Loving Mirror Is the Journey and the Destination
This culminating lesson brings together the other eleven lessons and shows how Being A Loving Mirror can and does change the face of family life for the better. This simple concept has the power to change the way you relate to yourself and others in the long run. It can give you the power to live a more fulfilling life.
(Used with permission of Beverly Buncher and Family Recovery Resources, LLC)
I'm excited to share this opportunity with you. It has changed my life and relationships profoundly to practice the tools in this course, and I trust it can for you too.
BALM® Parent - South Carolina With a large diverse family that has been affected by alcoholism and addiction, I can shout out from the mountain top that the BALM® Program has saved my life over and over again. As a longtime member of al anon, the BALM® Program has enhanced my program and given me additional tools for living life to the fullest on life's terms. I would recommend the BALM® Program to anyone who is being consumed by a loved one’s life of addiction. The peace and serenity I have gained by practicing the BALM® Program is a priceless gift that has helped my entire family.
A BALM® Parent - MA As an employee of a state Family Court for thirty-seven and one half years, I dealt daily with families in crisis due to addiction to alcohol, street and/or prescription drugs, gambling and other similar addictions. Then my own family was touched by addiction. After my loved one became sober, their addiction counselor referred me to the BALM® Program, developed and run by Beverly Buncher. Through the BALM® Program, my family was able to learn and develop skills for dealing with an addicted loved one in a positive and loving manner. It contributed directly to the well-being of our family and its’ members. It also teaches you to be calm through meditation, breathing and other techniques that contribute to your healing. Through the BALM® theory, you learn to heal and nurture yourself after the devastating realization that your family has been touched by addiction and to use your skills to help your loved one through the difficult process of obtaining and maintaining sobriety. BALM® teaches you to “Be a Loving Mirror”, to teach through your example. You will learn how to use the skills taught by BALM® to better deal with the issues that come up with your loved one. It is true that what BALM® teaches you, it helps you be “your loved-one’s best chance at recovery.” As a BALM® participant through its’ several programs, you will hear from professionals in the field of addiction and recovery as well as from recovered addicts themselves. They relate their own personal stories leaving you with the understanding that you are not alone. BALM® has lifted a great weight from my shoulders and has left me with skills that not only work to help me and my loved one, but also with skills that can be used in other areas of life where you interact with others, such as at work and other social groups. BALM® ’s website is easily accessible and gives you 24/7 access to the Lessons taught and testimonials given to let you listen again, past and present. BALM® is truly a lifeline for everyone who takes advantage of its’ many offerings. I will be forever grateful to the BALM® family.
BALM® Parent - Nevada BALM® is about communicating with love. I learned every addict deserves love, dignity and respect. My son, a type 1 diabetic @ age eight went to college and lost himself. His erratic behavior baffled me. For two years he had mental health professionals telling us it was me and my protective ways. "He is fine, simply clip the wings." Insulin dependent children can make the most laid back parents somewhat controlling. I was convinced I was the problem. I did a lot of inner work "letting go" yet his behavior continued growing out of control. When I discovered he was using Kratom a synthetic drug undetectable via testing I was happy to know I wasn't crazy but now what? Heartbroken, lost and confused a physician friend recommended coaching/ BALM® for this difficult "journey." Journey? I wanted this fixed immediately. I recall my words, “just stop." I had no idea he'd require treatment. Sadly, with passage of time, he had developed the "art of refusal" and convinced me he would die before going to treatment. I knew my conversations needed to be heard at the deepest level imaginable. BALM® taught me how to have loving conversations with healthy boundaries. Thanks to BALM® I was able to have a calm face-to-face intervention conversation with him. He heard my heart and knew I was committed to "loving him to life vs loving him to death". He agreed to an intense wilderness program and transitioned into a long term structured sober living home. He is 10 months sober and the insanity has stopped. Initially I signed up for the twelve week (continues throughout the year) course with coaching and then opted to take the seven week course. I re-enrolled this year and suspect I'll be a BALM® er for life.
Spreading Peace Together Each time you invest in yourself through one of the programs, 10% of your contribution goes towards a non-profit initiative for drug awareness, prevention and treatment. You’re not only helping yourself, you’re also helping others along the way.