It’s a program of action. How many times have you heard that in the recovery rooms? And indeed it is. For the addicts and for the family members.  Here’s a guide of some powerful actions you can take to help your family situation TODAY!

If you have lived with and loved a person who is using substances or acting out addictively, you know the routine:

  1. they display some ‘weird’ behavior
  2. the family member’s antennae go up
  3. the family member gets up real close to either smell their breath or get a really good look at the pupils of their eyes
  4. they get defensive (and sometimes aggressive)
  5. the family member makes accusations or backs off in fear
  6. a fight ensues
  7. the loved one storms off

This of course is only one of several possible scenarios in homes where there are addictive issues.

But it doesn’t have to look like that!

What if it were to look like this:

  1. They display some ‘weird’ behavior
  2. The family member notices it and quietly takes a deep, calming breath, getting centered for whatever is to come.
  3. The family member does not react, but rather, simply observes their loved one’s behaviors and makes mental notes of any behaviors worth feeding back to help the loved one get a glimpse of their own behavior through loving eyes.
  4. they sit down and start to talk and aren’t making much sense as they do.
  5. the family member listens, participates respectfully and treats them with respect.
  6. they either fall asleep or walk away or the family member walks away when the conversation is over.
  7. the next day, when the loved one is sober,  the family member shares the behaviors she saw objectively, just the facts, without judgment.
  8. the loved one only half believes her and is defensive.
  9. the family member shrugs and says, “Just thought you’d want to know, in case you didn’t remember.” no accusatory tone, not criticism. just the facts.

What are five things you can do today to be a loving mirror?

How about:

  1. Meditate in the morning so you begin your day with a sense of calm
  2. Make it a habit to breathe through uncomfortable moments instead of reacting to them
  3. Listen to the person you love, allow them to be themselves, without having to check them out or figure out if they are high today.
  4. Be observant of their behavior and words. Remember them so that you can share what you are seeing when they are sober and can hear you.
  5. Enjoy the rest of your day (by keeping the focus on yourself and your life) and tomorrow or another time when they are back to ‘normal’, share the facts of what you saw.

You CAN Be a Loving Mirror (BALM) !

You have it in you to live in a Loving Mirror way.

When you do, you become your addicted loved one’s BEST chance at recovery!

Would love to hear about your Loving Mirror experiences!


Coach Bev




786 859 4050


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Hi Everyone!

Dealing with an addict’s behavior is one of the toughest things a family member, friend or work colleague can be asked to do! My colleague Melissa Killeen calls the harm done to the family part of the collateral damage of addiction and she asked me, as an expert in family recovery coaching, to list some tips to help family members deal with their addict’s behaviors. So I did. Click here to see that post.

Melissa is a recovery coach for business owners who are in recovery, perhaps just getting out of treatment,  go the the next step by dealing with the collateral damage of their addiction. She has the coaching, recovery, and business expertise to help the newly sober do the work to reestablish their lives effectively.  We work well together, she with the business owner and I with their family.

In addition, once a person is established in their sobriety, one thing I do is help them figure out the contribution they are meant to make in their life through my Life Purpose in Recovery Coaching. (To learn more about this or any other services I offer, click here.)

Hope we will have the opportunity to serve you! Check out the recent post I wrote for Melissa’s blog by clicking here. Once you get to the blog, you will also have access to her wide range of recovery coaching information  as well!

Best to you and yours,

Coach Bev


To set up a complimentary coaching session with me, click here.

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This week ends my month long visit to Addictionland as their Expert of the Month. Here is the link to a blog I wrote about what it is like to watch a loved one kill themselves with substances and options of ways to get help for YOU…



Thanks for reading!


Coach Bev

Beverly Buncher, MA, PCC, CTPC



786 859 4050

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Think about it: What role do you play in whether or not your loved one chooses to get clean and sober? Are you their savior? A supportive friend? A boss/controller? A begger? An enemy? Or simply a minor character in their process?

Many of us try each of these roles on to see if they will work. When we first see the person we love using substances or acting out in ways that frighten or confuse us, we can’t believe our eyes. We ask them what is going on and when they tell us it’s us, that we are imagining things, we often believe them. We find ourselves shaking our heads and rubbing our eyes. We don’t want to believe that someone we have loved so dearly as a friend, lover, child, parent or co-worker is seriously caught in the web of self-deception and destructive behavior that it appears we are seeing.

We ask again, when we see that the behavior isn’t changing, and as their denial grows, we either go into a shell, or we start to cry, beg, and scream at them about what they are doing to themselves and to us. Usually, our words, tears and yelling fall on deaf ears. Sometimes they threaten us that they will leave or hurt us if we continue to bother us. Their intimidation frightens some of us and enrages others. Regardless, we are a loss as to how to proceed. So we try something else…

In some cases, that something else means moving out or kicking them out, but, either way, we often  go back or let them back in even though nothing has changed. In other cases, we stay put but ignore them as best we can. Sometimes, we berate them every chance we get, while allowing them to continue to abuse and berate us and put our families in danger  by driving high, having illegal substances in the car and/home, missing work and losing jobs, having guns in the home that they could be using while high or drunk, etc. And of course, this list of possible ways we may react and they may behave is hardly exhaustive.

This concludes part one of a 3 part blog on Key 7. Stay tuned for part two in which we will discuss a new way of relating to yourself and your loved one that could make a big difference!

Until then I am still,

Coach Bev


786 859 4050

Visit Addictionland this month  where I’ve been asked to write a weekly blog under the Expert section.

If you would like to experience a coaching session to see if it is for you, sign up here for a complimentary consult.

By the way, stay tuned for more information on my upcoming freeLoving Mirror teleseminar with author Lisa Espich, author of Soaring Above Co-Addiction, who will share her experience of being HER loved one’s best chance of recovery!







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If you have ever tried to change a habit or behavior and it hasn’t worked, you’ve experienced the first half of stage six of the 6 stages of change: Recycling. If your change has worked and you’ve gone through the first five stages successfully, you may have reached what Researcher James Prochaska calls Termination.

This post will give you an introduction to both. For a more detailed account, you can read James Prochaska’s book Changing for Good.

Stage  Six – Recycling OR Termination –

First we will look at Recycling. When the changer gives up on “the grind”, he goes through what Prochaska calls Recycling or “Learning from Relapse”.

This stage is when a changer, even after great progress, goes back to the behavior they changed earlier. They start drinking or eating or gambling again and their life begins to deteriorate, sometimes slowly, sometimes rather quickly.

Relapse may come on the heels of a family tragedy or due to letting go of the supports that have kept the maintenance going. Or it may be the result of not having been ready to make the change in the first place.

Whatever caused it, when recycling comes, it puts the changer back to the beginning, but not quite. The work and learning she went through is still in her somewhere. Most recyclers don’t give up and are willing to start again. So, this is truly a learning stage.

Harm Reduction expert and author Patti Denning calls this stage “Back to the Drawing Board” and Prochaska says that his research shows that recycling often leads to contemplation, preparation and action again and that most changers need to go through the cycle 3-4 times before being able to get to the final iteration. If self change does not work after several tries, it may be time to get help or to try a different path than the one you have tried again.

Termination – Termination occurs when the changer is finished cycling through the Stages of Change on a specific change. The point is, the struggle is over, the person no longer has the problem in their life. It is resolved.

Some say this never truly occurs. Others believe it is possible.

Prochaska calls this stage “exiting the Stages of Change” and Denning calls it the “I’m over it” stage. While it can take awhile to get there, it is the aspiration of many to do so and more research and writing points in the direction of it being possible.

The 6 Stages of Change, taught in treatment centers, by coaches and by therapists, are useful for the addict to know about and for the family as well. Anything that leads to empathy for oneself and others can be useful as one works through life’s challenges!


Coach Bev

Beverly Buncher, MA, PCC, CTPC

Facilitating Family Recovery


786 859 4050



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When it comes to changing a habit or behavior, there are, according to James Prochaska (author of Changing for Good: The Revolutionary Six Stage Model to Changing Habits and Behaviors), 6 stages of change. The first is pre-contemplation (also known as denial). The second is contemplation, also known as yes, but. The third is preparation and that’s what this blog post is all about.

Stage 3: Preparation – Prochaska calls the Preparation stage the “Getting Ready” stage and says that most people in this stage plan to make their change within the month. They have set the date and are involved in activities to help them get ready for the big day.

This stage is important because without the proper planning, the big day may last only that long. The changer at this point may be thinking about what they will do instead of their habit, how they will avoid triggers, how they will begin and how they will keep going.

Whether the  changer is  a parent who wants to stop yelling at their addicted child, an addict who wants to get clean, one who wants to keep using drugs but stop sharing needles, or someone who wants to start flossing every night, without adequate preparation, the change they are planning probably will not last.

There may be a support group to join or a recovery coach or therapist to hire. There may be new activities and friends to find. There may be clean needles or floss to purchase. Thinking about and planning for these are just the tip of the iceberg of what a changer may need to put into place to make their new habit work.

Thus, adequate preparation can have a huge impact on the success of their foray into the next step.  Patti Denning (author of Over the Influence: The Harm Reduction Guide to Managing Alcohol and Drug Use)calls this stage the “uh-oh” stage because plans are becoming real and concrete and the difficulties lying ahead begin to become clearer.

This week, I will be interviewing Kenneth Anderson, author of How to Change Your Drinking: The Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol at 7 PM ET on Wednesday, October 26th.  Ken runs a network for  those struggling with addictive behaviors who wish to explore options other than a 12 step, total abstinence approach.

To learn more, go to: http://beverlybuncher.com/key-5-teleseminar-on-harm-reduction-little-steps-to-big-changes/.

To sign up to join us or to receive the audio by email, godirectly to:http://forms.aweber.com/form/62/1652809962.htm

Looking forward to seeing you then! And, of course, to learn more about the 6 stages of change,catch my  next blog post on the Action Stage!


Coach Bev


786 859 4050


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 Key 5, The 6 Stages of Change,  can make all the difference in your understanding of what your loved one is facing as they struggle to free themselves from their addictive behaviors. The Stages of Change Model can also help YOU understand what it takes to move from your co-addictive behavior, to the detached, loving behavior that will free you from misery AND be most likely to have a positive impact on your loved one. The 12 Keys to Sanity for Family Members are designed to provide family members of addicts  with a variety of strong recovery principles and models to help them face the challenges of  loving anyone struggling with addictive behaviors. This month, our focus is on Key 6: The 6 Stages of Change.

Ever try to break a habit? Not easy is it? And the 6  Stages of Change Model will help you understand why – and how –  to break through to success!

Perhaps you have counted on the 21 day idea to get you through – Namely, that if you practice a new behavior for 21 days, you will have momentum that will allow you to more easily move forward to breaking the habit for good. I like that idea and have used it to get me over the hump of difficult changes I am seeking.

But there is more to the picture. The 21 days start once you have begun taking action on your change. What about the days leading up to the very first day you stop an old habit or start a new one?

According to researcher James Prochaska, PhD, those pre-days are just as important, if not more so, than the first 21 days of the action steps. Prochaska’s research on how people change habitual behaviors has resulted in The 6 Stages of Change Model, which is taught in universities and to patients in substance abuse treatment centers all over the world.

If you want to change a behavior in your life, and according to Prochaska, each one of us is in the process of changing 3-4 things in our lives at any given time, you will want to become familiar with this model, as its stages and how you go through them could determine the difference between your success or failure this time around. Most changes take 3-4 spins through the stages to take hold, Prochaska says. But, by becoming familiar with the stages, a self-changer can improve their ability to handle each of the stages more effectively and perhaps reduce the number of retreads they will need to succeed.

Prochaska outlines the process in his book Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Forward (Harper Paperback, 2006).

If you would like to learn more about the Stages of Change model and reading the book is not on your immediate agenda, keep reading this month’s blog entries. We will look at the Stages of Change model, stage by stage, with tips on how to help yourself or a loved one move forward from stage to stage!

If you would like to begin with an immediate brief overview of the 6 Stages of Change model, click here and I will send you an article that briefly explains each stage for you.

In the meantime, have a Loving Day!


Coach Bev


786 859 4050


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The 12 Keys are a group of recovery principles designed to help you be YOUR best self as you play your role in helping your loved one get and stay clean and sober. This week, as we end our September overview of Key 4, join me for a story from a a very special person with a powerful story to tell. As you know,I love bringing you the recovery stories and ideas of my colleagues and friends!

This month, I’d like to introduce you to author Lisa Espich. Lisa Espich is the author of the award-winning book, Soaring Above Co-Addiction: Helping your loved one get clean, while creating the life of your dreams. After the remarkable transformation in her own family, she is now passionate about helping other families to heal from the devastating effects of addiction. Through her blog at http://www.soaringabovecoaddiction.com/blog.asp Lisa shares continued insight and hope to those who have been affected by addiction. You can also follow her on:
Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/soaringaboveco
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/121882534530941/
A Wife’s Experience With the Four C’s
by Lisa Espich

Dean and I married young. We were teenage sweethearts, and when we found ourselves pregnant (I at eighteen and he at twenty), we decided the right thing to do was to marry. Parenthood may have come faster then we’d hoped, but we were in love and believed that was enough.

As we settled into our new roles, Dean’s addiction came to the surface. His frequent drinking and cocaine use overshadowed what should have been happy times. Denial became my crutch. I didn’t want to face the reality that the man I married was an addict. I kept hoping that he’d grow out of it.

I felt that I was partly at fault. Maybe Dean was too young to marry. Had I somehow pressured him into this? Was he unhappy with our new lives together? I started doing everything I could to be the perfect wife, mother, and homemaker, in an attempt to make him happy. I had not yet learned the first ‘C’: I didn’t cause my loved one’s addiction.

Flash-forward nearly two decades later — Dean had not grown out of it as I’d hoped. On the contrary, his addiction had taken over and consumed our world. The worse his addiction got, the more I fell into negative patterns of my own. I kept trying and failing to gain some control. Ironically, the more I tried to control Dean and his addiction, the more out-of-control life became.

When I found myself in a car chase with Dean’s drug dealer one night, I realized just how insane my life had become. I had come home from work to find his dealer sitting in a car outside my house. When he saw me he quickly pulled away, but I wasn’t about to let him get away that easily. I spun my car around and took off after him.

Weaving in and out of the neighborhood streets, I was determined to confront this man. I knew it was crazy, but my anger had the best of me. When he finally pulled over, I swerved my car up in front of his blocking him from taking off. I then proceeded to get out and tell him off in the strongest voice I could force out.

When he agreed to stay away from Dean, I got back into my car and pulled away. While I felt some relief for finally confronting this man, it was only a matter of hours before he sold more drugs to Dean. That night I learned and finally accepted the second ‘C’: you can’t control their addiction.

That incident was a turning point for me. As if I suddenly had a new set of eyes, I was able to look at myself clearly. I could see that the addiction had not only taken over my husband, but it had taken over me as well. While I wanted to somehow help Dean get clean, I knew that I had to start taking care of myself.

It had been so long since I put my own needs first, that I could hardly figure out what those needs were. I created a detailed plan. It included exercise to improve my self-esteem, saving money for my future security, and putting a focus on my own emotional strength. I was ready to take my life back!

I learned how to use affirmations and visualization, which helped me to become more positive. As the weeks passed, I was amazed at how much I had changed in such a short time. Even though my husband was still caught up in his addiction, I was feeling peace within myself.

As I got healthy, I grew acceptance for the third ‘C’: you can’t cure your loved one’s addiction. Although Dean was still using, I was no longer consumed by his problems. I encouraged him to get professional help and he slowly became more receptive. But each time he got close to admitting himself into treatment, he would get scared and back out.

After being stuck in the patterns of codependency for so many years, I was finally learning to set healthy boundaries. With my newfound strength I was able to follow the fourth ‘C’: you don’t have to contribute to it. I was learning how to detach in a loving way, and I was allowing my husband to face the consequences of his actions.

Well the most amazing thing happened! Through the process of making my own improvements, my husband began to make positive changes as well. Eventually, he admitted himself into treatment, and we are now enjoying a healthy marriage (six years clean and sober).

I don’t mean to simplify the process — it did not happen overnight. There were many ups and downs along the road to recovery, and I definitely had my own slips back into codependent patterns. But recovery did come, and I am so grateful for the life we have now.

There is no cure for addiction and recovery is one day at a time. But our story is proof that addiction can be managed, and recovery is possible. The four C’s were critical components of the process that lead my family to healing.

Thank you Lisa, for sharing your powerful story with the readers of 12stepfamily.com!

Click here to check out Lisa’s book Soaring Above Co-addiction!
Lisa will be visiting me for a Key 7 interview in December, when she shares with all of us her experience with the the 7th Key: You are Your Addict’s BEST chance at Recovery!” These free teleseminars are designed to give you, my readers, ongoing information designed to help you learn to get your life back regardless of your addict’s choices AND to communicate more effectively with your loved ones!

Have a Loving Day!!!

Coach Bev

Beverly A. Buncher, MA, PCC, CTPC
Family Recovery Coach
786 859 4050

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Welcome to the 12 Keys series of blog posts which will, month by month, explain the 12 Keys of Sanity and give you detailed ideas and activities to help you bring them alive in your life. This post is the eighth in a month-long series on Key Four. This Key is known as the Four C’s: “You Didn’t Cause It, You Can’t Control It, You Can’t Cure It. BUT, You DON’T Have to Contribute To It.”

The ability to Be A Loving Mirror (BALM) takes motivation and understanding. Last month we learned about the three relationships (that with God, self, and others) and how to develop them to help you regain your peace and sanity. Next, There are four cornerstones to help you build the understanding you need to move forward through the four foundations to the goal of Being A Loving Mirror. The first cornerstone is the Four C’s. Learn the 4 C’s well. They will play a KEY role in allowing you to experience the sanity of family recovery. This post, One Family Member’s Story is part eight of a serialization of my chapter on the 4 C’s in my upcoming book Chaos to Sanity: Transform Your Life with the 12 Keys to Sanity.

One Family Member’s Story

From the time she was a little girl, Mary was affected by addiction. Her dad was an alcoholic, her mom an overeater (though in those days it was just called ‘being fat’) and she was an only child often given the job of taking care of things in the house. The older she got, the more she felt like she was raising her parents rather than them raising her.

Dad was too sauced to make many decisions and mom too scared, so often she got to give her opinions and find solutions for things well beyond her years to find. She cleaned up after her parents, got involved in their arguments, broke up fights, and brought dad home from the bar on the nights when he was one of the last ones to leave. She tried to get him to stop drinking and mom to stop overeating, but no matter what she did, nothing worked.

Still she tried.

After all, wasn’t this what good children did? Helped their parents? Made things right?

When Mary grew up and got married, she found Tom. He was tall and handsome and sober. He didn’t drink or smoke or overeat and neither did she. He seemed as perfectly capable of taking care of himself as she was and together they’d make a perfect couple.

Only, when they got married, something wasn’t right. Tom didn’t want her hovering over him, telling him what to do and how to live all the time, and she didn’t feel she had much of a role in the relationship since the only way she knew how to relate was to take care of the people she loved.

After awhile, she noticed something was amiss. Tom wasn’t coming home as much or as early from work like he was in the beginning and once the children were born, he would go on trips by himself, stay out late in the evenings and she kept finding evidence of his having been with other women – as if he wasn’t even trying to hide it… Mary went into full gear to deal with the situation the only way she knew how.

She began tailing Tom after work to find out where he was going, monitoring his phone and Internet usage and eventually even hired a private detective to find out what was going on. No matter what evidence she found, he denied wrongdoing.

She was determined to win him back. And did whatever she could to get her husband to stop his addictive behavior to other women and liaisons. But nothing seemed to work and while neither one of them wanted to leave the relationship, their relationship with each other had deteriorated to an angry growl of good morning and nothing more.

By the time their children were teens, one of the girls began acting out with drugs and alcohol. This gave Mary a whole new focus. She began care taking, enabling, and trying to fix her daughter’s behavior just as she had been with all of the people she had ever loved.

Only now it was different. This was her child’s life we were talking about and Mary started to get desperate.

After months of dealing with the situation on her own, searching for drugs in the bedroom, grounding her daughter for being out late at night, screaming, yelling and pleading with her teen to stop risking her life and her health, Mary reached out for help.

She hired a family recovery coach who specialized in working with families affected by addiction. Together they worked through the 12keys to sanity for family members of addicts and she learned new ways of being in relationship with her daughter that started to help her daughter look at herself and take responsibility for her own behavior.

With the support of her coach, Mary also started going to family recovery meetings. She chose Alanon and Naranon to help her cope with her daughter’s behavior. After awhile, she also joined S-Anon to help her gain serenity around her husband’s sex addiction.

One of the first things Mary learned was the Four C’s. Once she realized she couldn’t change the addicts around her, she was free to work on herself. This liberated her to begin having a life she enjoyed.

No longer centering all of her thoughts around her sick family members, she learned ways to behave that would not contribute to their illnesses, while focusing the bulk of her energy on building a purposeful, meaningful life of her own.

Coaching Questions to Ponder:

1. How has guilt affected your relationship with the addict or addicts in your life?
2. In what ways have you tried to control your loved ones, attempting to fix them or manipulate their behaviors?
3. How well have your efforts to cure your loved one of their addiction worked?
4. How can understanding the Four C’s allow you a new freedom and sense of appropriate responsibility in relationship to the addict(s) in your life?
5. What will you be looking to learn in the chapters (and blog posts) ahead that you feel will be most helpful to you on your journey?

If you would like to listen to a teleseminar on the four C’s in which I shared my own family recovery story and answered questions from family members, click here .

Keep in touch!


Coach Bev

Beverly Buncher, MA, PCC, CTPC
Family Recovery Coach
786 859 4050

Click here for a free complimentary consult!

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Welcome to the 12 Keys series of blog posts which will, month by month, explain the 12 Keys of Sanity and give you detailed ideas and activities to help you bring them alive in your life. This post is the seventh in a month-long series on Key Four. This Key is known as the Four C’s: “You Didn’t Cause It, You Can’t Control It, You Can’t Cure It. BUT, You DON’T Have to Contribute To It.”

The ability to Be A Loving Mirror (BALM) takes motivation and understanding. Last month we learned about the three relationships (that with God, self, and others) and how to develop them to help you regain your peace and sanity. Next, There are four cornerstones to help you build the understanding you need to move forward through the four foundations to the goal of Being A Loving Mirror. The first cornerstone is the Four C’s. Learn the 4 C’s well. They will play a KEY role in allowing you to experience the sanity of family recovery. This post, What It Means to NOT Contribute to the Addiction is part seven of a serialization of my chapter on the 4 C’s in my upcoming book Chaos to Sanity: Transform Your Life with the 12 Keys to Sanity.

So, What Does It Mean to ‘not contribute to the addiction’?

As you know, there are behaviors you have learned over the years of living with an addict, and though your addict may still be using, those behaviors of yours stay around, hoping beyond hope to fix the situation. In order to stop contributing to your loved one’s addiction, it will be your job to learn new behaviors to replace the old, dysfunctional ones. In order to not contribute to the addiction, you will learn in this book(and through the rest of this year of of posts on the 12 Keys) how to:

1. Stop enabling
2. Stop being judgmental of the addict
3. Stop being unkind
4. Start treating the addict with dignity and respect simply on the basis of the addict being a human being
5. Be a mirror to your addict
6. Set boundaries for your own good
7. Allow the addict to meet her own responsibilities without interference from you in the form of rescuing, providing money, etc.
8. Take care of yourself. Put your own well-being first and be a role model of well-being for the addict.
9. Get support to help you learn how to do all of these things.
10. Stop picking on everything the addict does and says.
11. Stop commenting on every addictive behavior the addict exhibits. She is an addict. How else do you expect her to behave?

You will read much more about these as you traverse these posts and my upcoming book Chaos to Sanity: Transform Your Life with the 12 Keys to Sanity. But this or any book is only a beginning, as recovery IS a lifelong journey. Each of the 12 Keys has a self-assessment to help you see where you are on the journey. These assessments will appear in my upcoming book! Take and retake these assessments to help you keep track of your own growth. And, hang on, we’ve only just begun!

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