If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.
-Ram Dass

For better or for worse—and usually a mix of the two—our families, in concert with our genetic coding, establish our emotional default mode. Family refers to the group or groups of people who guided us through our early development. They are the community that builds the foundation through which we develop the rules and expectations that will consciously and unconsciously influence our movement through life. For those of us with addiction problems, this default mode needed some fine tuning. But even after this fine tuning has been successfully done and our default mode has been consciously altered in such a way that we no longer have to rely on our addictions, we will still feel the pull towards our old selves from time to time. Those patterns established in childhood are deeply rooted and will often tempt us to fall back into the familiar roles that guided us through our earliest experiences of love, connection, attachment—and protection. And there will be no time that we feel this pull any stronger than when we spend time with our families. Of course if we are lucky, our families also represent our greatest source of support and belonging, so we must learn how to develop boundaries that allow us access to this vital source of connection while simultaneously ensuring that we remain our updated, unaddicted selves.

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