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Mr. Hallelujah -- Families in the recovery process

Mr. Hallelujah -- Families in the recovery process

And frequently the casualties of getting to a healthier weight, just as in the journey of sobriety, are the relationships that we had previously relied upon while we were still suffering. Recognizing some common dynamics that can emerge between the person recovering and his or her family, however, can go a long way to turning what can end up  bewildering or even bitter between loved ones into something easier, less tense, and more conducive to healthy, happy relationships for everyone.

Do you recognize yourself or someone else in your post WLS support family in this description?

Uncle “Hallelujah, I’ve Seen The Light”: This is someone who has not only overcome their own issues with cheesecake, or gin and tonics, or the poker table, but is now hellbent on helping everyone around him change as well. It doesn’t matter if those people have a problem or not, they will when Mr. Hallelujah is done with them! Lectures abound, on anything from the danger in cigarettes, to the importance of situps, the evil of cupcakes or the importance of accomplishing the fifth step of a 12 step program, depending on what challenges Mr. Hallelujah himself has overcome. What worked for him will undoubtedly work for the world, according to the well-meaning and exuberant Mr. H.

If Mr. H is your family member or friend, first, try to set aside your annoyance  and be glad he's getting well. Better that he's trying to convince you to yogacize/attend a meeting/benchpress than say, take one of his insecure Doberman puppies or buy into a pyramid skin-care product scheme, right? Recognize that his zeal is about insecurity, the fear that if he leaves any room for someone to do something different … that his newfound life changes might disappear into the ether as well. He's a beginner at success, and for that reason he doesn't trust it enough not to oversell it.

If you’re reading this thinking, uh oh, you might have become Mr. Hallelujah to those around you … well, first, take a bow for recognizing it. And then try to let go of everyone else’s progress but your own. The best way to change people around you is simply to live your best and healthiest life. After all, it took an incredible amount of courage for you to embark on this path. In the end, you yourself made the decision to change. Let others be free to make the same choice as well — or not, as painful as that might be to watch. Keep in mind, we’re all like flowers — or turnips, depending on who you’re talking about — but no matter what, everyone grows at their own pace.

In a family system, if one person steps out of line, everyone must readjust their own steps to compensate. These readjustments take time to figure out and to put into practice. Recovery -from food or alcohol or shopping addiction — takes patience. Patience with yourself … and those around you, to learn the steps you yourself are starting to master.

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To read more about addiction and recovery, check out these titles on

The Emotional Eater's Book of Inspiration: 90 Truths You Need to Know to Overcome Your Food Addiction

7 Tools to Beat Addiction

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