ACoAs & RESILIENCE (Part 2)


PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Resilience #1

BOOK:  “Secrets of Resilient People: 50 Techniques to Be Strong (Teach Yourself)” ~ by John Lees

QUOTE: “More than education, than experience or training – a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds & who fails.”  ~ Dean Becker, CEO of Adaptive Learning Systems

❖ DANGER (Part 1)

❖ PROTECTION (cont)
Cont. from Part 1 middle – The 3 major protective environmental (external) factors needed to prevent young people from becoming so rigidly defensive that their heart & mind turns into dark ice:
1. Caring relationships (at least one)
2. High expectations
(for success)
3. Opportunities to Participate & Contribute

Interestingly, Al-Anon provides all 3!
😂 1. Caring relationships: While Program is not a social club to find BFFs or mates, participants gain strength from the group as a whole, which has the emotional & spiritual power to heal.
It gives us a place to be heard & understood – perhaps for the first time. A place to get sane & helpful information without being forced to agree with anyone. A healthy commonality – so we no longer have to feel like outsiders. Sometimes even finding a kindred spirit we can help & be helped by.
Reminder: The Al-Anon Closing says “After a while, you’ll discover that though you may not like all of us, you’ll love us in a very special way, the same way we already love you.”

🌴 2. High expectations – for success: This does not mean perfectionism or a demand to be something we’re not, nor what someone else wants us to be. It does mean that consistently going to meetings will allow us to uncover our own true opinions, emotions, talents & dreams – and permission to honor them!

🎁 3. Participate & Contribute : perhaps the most obvious – sharing in meetings, giving qualifications, holding service positions, making phone calls, sponsoring…..

Resiliency is about:
— the amount of energy stored in one’s “inner battery” for use in the 4 areas (see Traits & Personal posts)
— the degree or level of harmony, balance & stability within & between the areas

👍🏽 Core characteristics (Wagnild, 2009)
⭐︎ Equanimity = emotional balance, taking what comes in life with emotional awareness but without ‘losing it’
⭐︎ Existential separateness = the awareness that every person is unique (not-me), which allows a sense of boundaries, independence & freedom
⭐︎ Meaningfulness = knowing & accepting that each life has a purpose & is worth living
⭐︎ Perseverance = willingness to persist even in the face of adversity
⭐︎ Self-reliance = belief in oneself, depending on our own strengths & past successes to support decisions & actions
⭐︎ Well-being = physical safety, self-care & a comfortable environment

• RESILIENCE is much more than just a reactive skill-set to deal with discomfort & difficulties.
It’s an active process, the gradual development of personal qualities that enrich our lives, so we can deal with every circumstance in psychologically mature ways – being cooperative, responsible, optimistic & persevering.
Highly resilient (R.) people acknowledge distressing situations, learn from mistakes – if any – take the time to process & recover, & then get back in the game, without obsession, bitterness or despair.

Because gaining R. is dependent on individual, family & community elements, it can be reduced or wiped out by too many risk factors. Although a single one is not likely to undermine R., too many in combination can overwhelm anyone, but especially young people, who are still developing their identity. When piled up, it’s becomes much harder for a child to recover from traumatic events, & makes it likelier for them to develop a mental or substance use disorder.   (More… re Families)

Naturally, the reverse is also true. Resilience must have a safe, supportive environment to blossom, originally: from a healthy family, or later: 12-Step programs, good therapy, welcoming church….. .
This is certainly true for individuals.
But what about the way under-privileged people, who’ve grown up with many harmful risk factors, rally to deal with trauma, such as war or natural disasters? They may still need a great deal of outside help, but the one thing that stands out in heart-warming stories is the banding together of a community to support each other in times of great distress, not just emotionally, but in practical, productive ways.

 

NEXT: Resilience & Traits

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