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In the last section, we discussed the task of early recovery, and the phenomenon of release.
In this section, we will discuss the middle stage of family recovery from addiction and three major characteristics of this stage. These characteristics are, the family develops a new vision, more family stability, and moving from borrowed values to integrated values.
As you will see with Joann, as the family of an addict enters middle recovery, the members are becoming consciously aware that they have experienced some of the benefits of recovery. For example, Joann stated, "For the first time in years, I know I can expect a degree of sobriety from Roy. I know he’ll go to his meetings, and that when I come home and want some peace and quiet, I’ll usually get it. I used to be scared to open my door after work. Now I’m even feeling hopeful again."
In the middle stage of recovery, both Joann and her husband Roy began to understand and accept the true nature of Roy’s alcohol addiction, and how it affected the family, and each of them as an individual. Although Joann remained watchful towards Roy, especially concerning his AA meetings and efforts to stay sober, she was also able to feel more accepting of his mistakes. In this stage of recovery, Joann and Roy were able to be more receptive to each other’s feelings, and also began to exhibit genuine remorse, even though the wounds of their past were still very much in the process of healing.
♦ # 1 - New Vision
Joann stated, "Last week I found myself looking through the golf clubs at the sports store, thinking that our anniversary is coming up next month, and a new driver would make a great gift for Roy. Then I remembered… just two years ago thinking about our anniversary made me consider calling a lawyer to start drawing up divorce papers! And Roy has started golfing again! He always loved it, but when he was drinking he lost all interest in it."
♦ # 2 - Greater Stability
For Joann, she also found she was able to take risks and connect with others again. Joann stated, "I couldn’t leave Roy alone at night before. Now, once a week, I go to the local Ladies Association meetings. Not having to worry what I’ll find when I come home every time I go out lets me really relax there, and I’m making some good friends! Last week, I even met some of the women I met for brunch!"
♦ # 3 - Integrated Values
Joann stated, "I didn’t believe in it at first, all this honesty, understanding, acceptance things, and neither did Roy. But we kept using them anyway. And you know, they really were powerful. We started adding more, practicing more. Now I completely believe in them, and I feel frustrated, I can sometimes here them guiding my choices." I explained to Joann that she was beginning to develop a conscious contact with her new values, and that the values she and Roy had borrowed from their recovery programs were becoming skills for them as they practiced.
♦ Technique: "Heavy Burden"
Recently, she stated, "The other night, I saw dad on the couch looking sad. He asked me to come over and sit with him, and told me his sponsor had been having him look at how he had
As you can see, Jenny’s dad was starting to act like a father again. I find that one of the tasks of middle recovery is for family members, like Jenny, to begin to decide whether to let themselves be vulnerable, and give the addict second chances. Since Jenny was struggling with past hurt feelings, I recommended that she try the "Heavy Burden" exercise with me.
5-Step Guided Meditation
In this section, we have discussed the middle stage of family recovery from addiction and the three major characteristics of this time. These are, the family develops a new vision, more family stability, and moving from borrowed values to integrated values.
In the next section, we will discuss the spiritual principles that I find most important in middle recovery. These are, accountability, humility, gratitude, and discipline.