Having a strong support network is a crucial part of building the foundation for a lasting recovery. When you’re surrounded by people who celebrate your accomplishments, hold you accountable for your mistakes, and motivate you to continue striving to be the best possible version of yourself, you’re better equipped to deal with cravings and other recovery-related challenges.
Support for Your Recovery
Although we encourage our clients to rely on their families as part of their sober support network, we understand that everyone’s circumstances are unique. In some cases, family members are unable or unwilling to be part of the recovery process.
Dealing With Rifts Caused by Your Past Addiction-Related Behavior
Addiction can make us say and do things that hurt the people we care about the most. Even if your family members logically understand that your past actions were the result of substance abuse and not a reflection of your genuine feelings, they may find it difficult to move forward.
Unfortunately, you can’t make a loved one forgive the mistakes you’ve made in the past. You can express your remorse and take steps to change your behavior moving forward, but it’s going to take time for the relationship to heal. In this situation, the best thing you can do is continue to focus on your recovery while being patient with your family members as they process their feelings.
Family Members With Untreated Substance Abuse Issues
Research has shown that there is a strong genetic component to substance use disorders. Sometimes, family members who aren’t supportive of your recovery might be dealing with their own substance abuse struggles. Untreated addiction affects judgment, communication, and problem-solving skills. This makes it extremely difficult for your family member to provide the type of support you need.
Another possibility is that your family member may worry about how your newfound sobriety will affect their life. They may fear that you blame them for your addiction or that your relationship will change if you’re no longer drinking or using together. Or, if they’ve sought treatment or have been contemplating getting help, they may feel threatened by your success.
When family members have substance abuse issues of their own, the best thing you can do is strive to be a positive recovery role model. Share updates about your progress and encourage them to seek treatment while minimizing the sort of contact that could put your sobriety at risk.
Handling Toxic Relationships
Although we often hear the term toxic used to describe romantic relationships, bonds between parents and children, siblings, or extended family can be toxic as well. Toxic relationship behaviors can include:
- Physical abuse
- Name-calling or bullying
- Dismissing your feelings
- Belittling your accomplishments
- Excessively criticizing your mistakes
- Blaming you for things that are beyond your control
- Gossiping about you to others
- Isolating you from others
Family therapy can help your family identify toxic behaviors and work toward developing healthier relationships. However, therapy is only effective when family members recognize the need for change. A family member who is unwilling to change will inevitably put your recovery at risk. Minimizing contact may be the only way to proceed in this instance.
The Power of Chosen Family
It’s natural to feel hurt and upset when your family members aren’t supportive of your recovery efforts. To move forward, you may need to rely more on your chosen family.
A chosen family is composed of people who’ve made a conscious decision to nurture, love, and support each other without a connection via blood or marriage. These are people who started as friends but developed a deeper connection over time. They’re the ones who accept you without shame or judgment while encouraging you to continue moving forward in your recovery.
Your chosen family may include people you’ve known for years, but it can also include the ones you’ve met while seeking treatment for your substance use disorder. The people you meet in residential treatment and in self-help or 12-Step groups have a unique understanding of what it means to get sober—and this can be the basis of an incredibly strong bond.
We’re Here to Help
At Mountain Laurel Recovery Center, we realize that no two families are exactly alike. Whether your family is working on healing old wounds or you’re relying on your chosen family as your primary source of support, you can count on us to connect you with the resources you need to be successful in your recovery journey. To learn more about our Pennsylvania drug and alcohol addiction treatment center, contact our admissions office today.