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Centerstone, a not-for-profit organization, is a national leader in behavioral health and addiction services. For over 60 years, we have helped individuals and their families find hope, healing and recovery. We offer a full range of mental health services, substance abuse treatment and intellectual and developmental disabilities services in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. Each year, we serve over 170,000 individuals and families. Centerstone is delivering care that changes people's lives.

  • Our Hospital and Addictions Center in Bradenton, Florida is Joint Commission accredited and was selected as an Optum Platinum provider in 2016.
  • We offer a full range of treatment options for substance use and mental health disorders.
  • More than 200 facilities and outreach in over 220 schools and community partnership locations throughout Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee
  • CARF accredited in Illinois, Indiana and Tennessee
  • Joint Commission accredited in Florida and Kentucky
  • On the forefront in research and technology

We are here to support you in every step of your recovery though medical and therapeutic support in a private and confidential setting.  For more information on our Addiction Center and our full range of services call or visit our site: https://centerstone.org/florida-addiction-center.

7 Tips For Family Survival This Summer

07 July 2017 Written by 

George Burns once said that happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family…in another city. Summer is a time for celebrations, reunions, and family get-togethers.

While reconnecting with loved ones is an exciting opportunity to catch up and have fun, consider the following tips to keep your occasions light, polite, and fun.

Family members are more alike than different. Family differences, however, are always more compelling and distracting. That means tempers can run high at any moment and create bad feelings instead of good ones. Celebrating your commonality, your fond memories, and love for each other, can be the source of harmonious family gatherings. To get on common ground, your family reunions need some rules and parameters.

1. Plan Activities to Engage Everyone

Even contentious relatives can comfortably watch football, baseball, or soccer without having any difficulties. Plan for just such an activity. Everyone will appreciate it. Watch a local soccer, football or baseball game together. Play a game outdoors like volleyball, baseball, basketball, ping pong—or your own family favorite—that everyone can join in. Go to the beach. Have a picnic where everyone can bring something. Even a beach ball, a Frisbee, folding chairs etc. are contributions. It doesn’t have to be food or beverage.

2. Share the Tasks

Five people hovering around the grill is guaranteed to cause problems. Spread out, even if you’re in the back yard: Clear limit-setting with family members both before and during a get-together are key.  If everyone knows specifically what their role is, it is easier for them to comply. Examples of task setting are: Jim manages the games with the children. Sam arranges the beverage table. Cousin Martha is the swim expert and supervises swimming. Grandma and Aunt Sally set up the picnic table. Uncle Pete grills the hot dogs. Alex manages the basketball game.

3. Avoid “Meaningful Talk”

Sometimes small talk is good talk. “Meaningful” talk, however can be merely an excuse for a verbal root canal. Resentful family members may feel that gatherings are a time to resolve some long-standing disagreements. They are wrong. Family reunions are about coming together. Table that lingering resentment for another time. Bad behavior should not be tolerated. If Uncle George always gets beet-red, yelling at the top of his lungs about something that happened five years ago, he needs clear directions to stop and have a time out.

4. Leave Politics, Religion and Personal Values at Home

Here’s a big one. Politics, religion, personal values, politics (yes I said it twice) need to be taboo where families don’t agree. Even the choice between burgers and dogs can incite someone’s temper. Tell everyone at the beginning that some subjects are going to be off limit. Should disagreements and heavy argues begin, graciously and quickly move the conversation to neutral ground.  That’s probably the reason weather, sports, traffic, and celebrities were invented.  Controversial topics are always high-risk and should be avoided.

5. Rethink Alcohol (avoid marijuana altogether)

Alcohol may be the celebration and relaxation drink, but it also can be the lightning rod for trouble. Rethink the amount of alcohol you have available and encourage people to limit their alcohol usage.  None of the tactics and techniques for family harmony in reunions will work if family members are drunk, or heading in that direction.  Intoxication trumps good manners, civility and perspective every time. Drunk often means out of control. In states where marijuana is legal as a recreation substance, be aware that it’s never good to have any marijuana products around children and teens.

6. Keep Your Personal Space and Have an Exit Strategy

Unfortunately, some families are impaired by substance abuse, personality problems, or mental health issues. The reasoned approaches above are likely to be inadequate. When your personal happiness is at risk, keeping your distance and limiting your exposure to such an environment are the best course of action.  Arrive just before the potato salad and leave just after the ice cream.  Eat and run is the way to survive and thrive where family dysfunction reigns.

7. Don’t Go If Your Family Poses Emotional Risk

For people from families where any exposure is unacceptable, absence is the better part of valor.  Give yourself permission not to spend your precious time with your dysfunctional, or toxic, family members.  Give up some of your mental “musts and shoulds." There is no law that says you must be with people who hurt or put you at risk.

There are many ways to deal with difficult family situations, and there is no “right” way. 

Some people have chosen to form a close circle of healthy friends and celebrate their summers in a peaceful manner.  Any gathering of like-minded and mutually respectful people reinforces the similarities that bring us together. That truly is “family.”

 

A Reach Out Recovery Exclusive: By Robert Boxley, PhD @ Centerstone Florida

Need help finding recovery specialists in your area. Click below to locate support for you or a loved one. 

 

 

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