Healing a family through troubling times

Hardship and loss are huge challenges for a family. Parents who have to work many hours to provide for the family, taking them away too long … Someone in the family with mental health issues that affect everyone in the household … Rebellious teenagers trying to find their ways in a world they don’t understand … Not enough of anything in the way of resources to meet the physical and emotional needs of each family member. Too much conflict. Too little reason to feel peace in a home filled with turmoil.

What do you think of when you think of home? Is it a warm, cozy, safe haven from the storm that exists outside of your house? How close is that to reality for your family, for other families around you? Do you consider how you can make and keep your family strong? Do you have good follow-through on your resolves?

The RIDGE Project urges, “Having a healthy, resilient family is not an accident, it’s a habit.” The RIDGE Project focuses on helping families across Ohio to become strong and resilient through troubled times. “To enjoy a happy family you have to be there.”

How can families heal from the events that threaten to tear them apart?

In last week’s article we defined what love is and how important it is. When you spend time with people who truly care about you, you begin to heal. People you trust, but who aren’t as close to your troubles, may be of help just by being around to listen when you need to talk and the talking helps you to heal. Just knowing that someone else does understand what you are going through because they have been there can make a difference for you. You may not be in a place where you want to think about tomorrow, but you can still see things that remind you that times will not always be difficult and you won’t hurt forever. But for now you have to grieve the loss so you can move forward with your life.

Faith in something bigger than yourself gives you hope that you will come through the troubled times and make it to the other side of them. And sometimes, when you can’t think straight, you can’t find that clarity that you need to make sound choices, you need to talk to someone who has more objectivity, more practical advice that can get you and your family to a better emotional place.

Like all other families, there were challenges to our family when my brothers and I were growing up. Everyone can’t go buy a camper and hit the highway every weekend like we did. It took planning and sacrifice by our parents to do that. But some of the best memories I have are from camping trips on the weekends. We walked trails, sat still for nocturnal creatures to wander through our campsites foraging for food, or sitting around the campfire talking and laughing while we made s’mores and pie iron pizzas. Sometimes we went to sleep listening to rain falling against the roof of the camper. And I could sprawl under the trees with a good book and read the afternoon away. That was the good life. We found things together that encouraged us and connected us to each other and to self.

Troubles? There will always be troubles. But family can make a big difference in getting through them.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County