Guest Blog: Steve Makofka
Family Recovery: Build the Family You Need with the People You Already Have
By Steve Makfoka
Hi, my name is Steve Makofka. I am the product of a strong, healthy, supportive family. I am ever grateful for it. It has shaped the very person of whom I am. My gratitude runs deep for this.
Now, My parents were not so blessed. This is how I know that change is possible. This is how I know that you can change your family tree in one branch. I know it’s possible because I have seen and lived it.
In twenty years as a pastor, I’ve seen the difference that having a family makes. I’ve seen brand new congregations become a family for those who had none.
In 2013, I started working in mental health in an adolescent inpatient unit. I sat day after day and listened to kids describe what they wanted and needed from their families.
I listened to the tragic stories of abuse and neglect that these kids had suffered and survived. Either biologically, psychologically, or sociologically, almost every issue they were dealing with was family related. I started to see that if the problems were family related, the solutions also had to be family related.
In 2017, My search for family solutions led to the community group Families of Addicts. Dayton, Ohio, had been dubbed “the overdose capital of the United States,” and FOA was using a family-based recovery model to help fight the epidemic and support the recovery of families affected by addiction. Again, I sat and listened to stories of tragedy, loss, and also stories of hope and recovery. These stories, backed up by hours of research and years of life experience, formed the content of my book, Family Recovery.
When I say “years of experience,” I mean the years of personal experience as a parent. I have four children, two girls, and two boys, close enough in age that they were all teenagers at the same time for one year. That was an interesting year. My wife and I parented through an extensive catalog of teenage issues, including alcohol, drugs, self-harm, teen pregnancy, and run-ins with the law, along with the usual rebellion, school, dating, and attitude issues. We survived.
Actually, we more than survived. As of this writing, all four kids are doing well, and we have good relationships with all of them. We also now have four grandkids, including one teenager, whom we see almost weekly. And on top of that, my parents moved in around the corner from us a few years ago. We manage four generations of relationships daily, and I am very grateful for the opportunity.
As I mentioned earlier, this is very different from my parents' families. Growing up, I didn’t have functioning grandparents, and now I’m trying to be one.
My book Family Recovery is subtitled “build the family you need with the people you already have.” My parents did it. I’ve done it. I’ve seen people struggling with mental health and addiction issues do it.
By using a simple four-step process, you can do it as well. You can learn how to “Show up, Listen up, Speak up, and Grow up” in a way that breaks multigenerational curses and turns them into multigenerational blessings.
My company's slogan, Family Dynamics, is “make it good to be home.” Imagine coming home and being grateful to be there, thankful for every person that is there. Imagine a strong, healthy, supportive network of people, some relatives, some not, where you receive belonging, acceptance, support, sharing, and love spending time. Wouldn’t that be good? It’s possible. I believe you can do it. Let’s get started.
I provide resources for complicated families that make it good to be home—and the gratitude to have such a lovely home.
Learn more about Steve
Steve Makofka has been working with families and adolescents for over 30 years. He is a Certified Family Life Educator with the National Council on Family Relations and a member of the Family Life Coaching Association (FLCA).
In 2019 Steve founded Family Dynamics LLC to help provide resources for groups that help build families. Steve has a BS in Education and a Master of Divinity degree. Before becoming a Family Life coach, Steve was a pastor of youth and family ministries. His years of pastoral experience have given him knowledge and experience in dealing with a variety of family issues.
He has also worked the last seven years teaching as a psychoeducation group leader on a mental health inpatient unit, teaching life skills to adolescents and adults. He has been married to his wife, Lorrie, for 35 years.
Together they have raised four children and are now enjoying their four (so far) grandchildren. Steve's parents, who have been married for 60 years, live nearby him. This extended family network has given him expertise in understanding multi-generational relationships.