Six Tips for Handling Family Relationships During Recovery

Navigating the road of your recovery will be fraught with all kinds of dangers.  You will need to navigate detox and then the rehab process, which includes different kinds of therapies and different kinds of treatments.  When you are in rehab, it will be important for you to have a good support system.  Many times, this support system is made up of family and friends who care about you and want you to succeed.  Even though these people love and care for you, your addiction has been difficult for them too.  Sometimes, your family is part of the reason that you turned to drugs or alcohol in the first place.  The family dynamic can be difficult to navigate as well, particularly in a rehab situation.

family bonding during recovery from addiction

Here are six tips for handling family relationships during recovery:

1. Educate

Your family is going to need to understand your specific addiction and how it has effected you.  They should be taught about what kinds of things you have gone through in order to be rid of your addiction.  They need to know if there are some specific triggers they should be aware, especially if you are going to be living with them.  The more they understand the disease, the better you are going to be able to navigate the situation together.

2. Tell the Truth

Some of the events from your past are going to be painful and difficult for you to deal with.  You are going to need to share some of this with your family.  They may not want to know everything, but you will need to share anything that directly involves them.  This all might be best discussed in family therapy so that a counselor can be present to help your family deal with some of the events from your past.  In order for them to be able to trust you again, you will have to be honest and not hold back.

3. Make Amends

You may have done some not so great stuff to your family while you were actively abusing drugs and alcohol. The family is usually the first group of people to get hurt when someone has an addiction problem.  Make amends if you can for any wrongdoing.  Make sincere apologies, ask for forgiveness, and then move on.  Do not dwell on the past.  Move forward into the new life you are creating for yourself.

4. Keep them Involved

As you work your way through the recovery process, it will be difficult to think about anyone but yourself.  This is not to say that you are going to turn into a selfish person, but you will be dealing with a lot of important things and sometimes you need to simply focus on yourself.  If is important for you to make some time in your schedule to keep your family involved in what you are doing and how you are doing.  If you can keep your family involved during the process, they will be better equipped to help you with your aftercare and to remain involved in the future.

5. Be Patient

Your family is not perfect.  No one’s family is perfect.  The more information they have, the better they can help you, but nothing happens overnight.  Just as your recovery is a process, so is you family’s understanding of what you have been through, what you are going through, and where you are headed.  It will take some time for them to understand how they can help you and what they can best do to be of use.  It will take them some time to get used to the person who you are becoming as well.  Give them the time and space that they need just like they are giving that to you.

6. Know When to Walk Away

With the help of your recovery counselor, it is possible that you will need to walk away from someone who is not going to be able to support you on the journey of sobriety that you have committed to.  If someone you love is not going to be able to be supportive and is really detrimental to your recovery, you will need to take a step back and evaluate your relationship with that person.  It is important to your recovery and important to your new life that you make a clean break.

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