Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Twelve Steps for Family Caregivers

The Twelve Steps are central to my life, and probably to yours too. No matter how long we’ve been around, the steps are at the center. I have found that I can apply them to many parts of my life and to substances, behaviors and relationships. Whether or not we are struggling to address an addiction, or an addicted family member, the philosophy of the steps is both practical and inspirational.

Another big part of my life is caregiving. I’ve been a family caregiver for many years and I teach and coach caregivers, blog about caregiving, and give workshops on cancer caregiving and “sandwich generation” caregivers.

And now I have found a book that applies the practice of AA’s Twelve Steps directly to family caregiving and caregivers.

The book is, “Self-Care for Caregivers—A Twelve Step Approach”, by Pat Samples and Diane and Marvin Larsen. Pat is the editor of The Phoenix—a personal growth newsletter and Marvin and Diane are experienced family caregivers. This book is published by Hazelden.

Given the current demographic bump of Baby Boomers and the rapid aging of our region and nation this is a great resource. With changes in health care—including the unintended consequences of better healthcare—that we will all live longer but with multiple disabilities—there is a greater than ever demand on family caregivers.

Of course the millions of us who are in recovery will eventually become family caregivers and so the book offers us guidance on how the 12-steps can help us in that phase of life. Stay sober long enough and you will be a caregiver and you will need one too. How we will do “life on life’s terms” in that scenario may be the ultimate test of our recovering lives.  This book can be a help.

No comments: