How to Talk About Your Recovery With Your Family

talking to family about addiction

For many people in recovery, the idea of "anonymous" recovery feels beneficial. After all, there is still some stigma attached to addiction. Not everyone deserves to know about your recovery, and that's okay. Some people can be insensitive or stubborn about their wrong beliefs. Even members of your family!

While the FDA now recognizes addiction as a disorder of the brain, there's still a lot of myths out there. Sometimes these stereotypes can be hurtful. It’s understandable you may be nervous talking about your recovery with people in your family.

Remember that Family Can Be A Stressor

Family can be an excellent support network or a trigger that fills you with intense feelings. Usually, a family falls somewhere in between, even if you're estranged. Many people have a few family members that they trust or talk to. Other members of the family may not be people you trust or want to confide in. If you're going to talk about recovery, it's important to make sure you're with somebody you trust.

You choose what you share with whom. And if you are at a family event and you're feeling triggered, it's okay to make an exit plan. Staying clean and sober is the most important task for a person in recovery day-to-day. Your sobriety is precious, and you deserve to keep it. So use the tools you've learned in recovery; pick up the phone and call your sponsor, text a recovery friend, or look up the closest 12-step meeting and grab rideshare to get to it.

Talking About Your Addiction

Take the time to set up a meeting with your loved one where you can have privacy.

It's fine to limit what you share with your loved ones. They don't need to know about the desperate things you did during addiction. However, now is not the time to speak about amends you make; that comes later in recovery when you are ready for the ninth step.

Here are some things you may be willing to share with them:

  • Your drug of choice and how long you've been using it.
  • What kind of trouble it has caused you or others. (Such as DUI charges, lost jobs, etc.)
  • How long you've been sober and if you've ever relapsed.
  • If you have completed a treatment program or are in sober housing.
  • Is there anything that your family member can do to help you?
  • What kinds of challenges are you facing?
  • Do you attend 12-step meetings? How do you feel about your sponsor>

Your family members may simply be curious or they may misconceptions about addiction. If they say something mean or hurtful, it's okay to end the conversation. They may be coming from a place of hurt or past experiences with addicted people. It's not your job to argue with them about the science of addiction. Sure, you can get their email to forward them some information. But you don't have to prove that your addiction is a serious disease that deserves treatment.

Consider Sober Housing

Many people who have attended either outpatient or inpatient treatment transition to sober housing once they complete the program.  It's a place to start to spread your wings and grow! There's both structure and independence, and you'll have the added benefit of living with people who are working towards similar goals.

Learn more about our programs and how we can help by calling us at 760-216-2077. We're happy to talk about your options.

Many people who go to drug treatment have experience with a lot of types of therapy. However, one type of therapy that doesn’t solely focus on you is family therapy, which can be an important component of recovery. Your family members, after all, are a part of your addiction. Children are significantly affected by addiction in the family.

Family Therapy Focuses on Healing for All

Family therapy helps the people that love you learn to live with the “new” you. It’s also a way for your family to learn new coping methods and behaviors. People who enable you need to learn new coping mechanisms. They also need to have healthy boundaries with you.

Many people who are addicted to something have a family enabler. Did somebody always bail you out of jail or pay your utilities? Well, that person needs to heal too. They have given a lot of their time and life to your addiction. They may feel strange and even scared when you get sober. They may have expectations that you don’t know about or even resent your new friends or lifestyle.

Your child or spouse may have trust issues or fears surrounding your addition. Going to therapy as a family can help you learn what effect addiction has had on them, what they need from you now that you're sober, and how to repair those relationships.

Why Go To Family Therapy?

You may think that recovery is about you and your growth alone, but that is a selfish view. Your actions always affect more than one person.

Addiction is a family disease. You’re not responsible for the disease, but you are responsible for your recovery. Relationships can recover when you put in the work. People who love you may have been manipulated, stolen from, or verbally abused during your active addiction. That kind of behavior has a lasting effect on relationships, and it’s up to you to begin to make up for it and mend the trust. It can happen, and it takes willingness and time. A therapist can help you figure things out.

The goal of family therapy is to help people with their relationships and help repair wounds. When substance use disorder is part of a family dynamic, there are many wounds. The therapist and your family will talk about their perspectives and emotions.

Consider Sober Housing

Sober housing can be a vital springboard from treatment to everyday living. In a structured environment, you can begin to become more responsible as you focus on your recovery. If you’re not ready to go home after treatment, consider a sober living residence. You’ll have community and structure as you begin to rebuild your life in recovery.

Call us at 760-216-2077 to learn more about how we can help.

Many people in recovery make a lot of changes in what seems a short time. Sometimes, you may feel more emotional or stressed. This can affect the people around you who love you. As time goes on, you learn new coping skills. While this all happens, your family and other loved ones may

Helping people who love you adapt to your recovery isn’t a requirement, but they do need their own recovery plan as you begin to grow and change. Your family may walk on eggshells around you because they’re not sure what to expect. Or they may make assumptions about your behavior because they’re not used to trusting you. After a while, this can cause conflict or create anger or resentment.

Family Therapy

One of the first ways to help loved ones learn more about addiction and recovery is by having them participate in your therapy. Most treatment centers offer family therapy. Sometimes it’s more helpful for certain family members, such as your parents, to seek therapy for themselves. Addiction takes whole families prisoners.

If you have kids, therapy one-on-one can help them work through difficult emotions. Ask your own recovery teams for referrals if there are children involved.

You’ve been through a lot, but your family has too. If you’re not sure of a good place to go for therapy, ask your treatment center or call your local mental health department.

Groups for Family Members

Al-Anon and other 12-step centered groups can help families cope with the effects of your addiction. For many family members, there are a lot of wounds from your drug and alcohol use. You can’t fix them, but you can help them find a group.

If family members are hesitant to go in-person to a group, there are many addiction-related message boards online that they can check out, too.

Books and Self-Care

Many loved ones feel stressed as they watch your recovery from a safe distance. They may be worried about getting their hopes up. Or they simply may worry about you.

It’s hard for family members to let go. But many of them may feel empowered by books on addiction and recovery.

Self-care is also something that can help family members learn to let of stress and take care of themselves. Go with them for a long walk or a lazy day at the beach. Suggest ways to have fun together.

Sober Living Homes Can Help You Transition

You may want to take it slow when you’re exiting treatment. After all, your focus on recovery is paramount. Learning to work your recovery program is important. Sober living is a good option for people who need to have a transition period before returning home to their family situation or their own living quarters. You’ll have a safe, comfortable space that you share with people who also are focused on recovery.

Learn more about your sober living options by calling us at 760-216-2077.

It’s that time of year again. The holiday season in America can bring out some of the best and worst emotions in everyone. Recovering people and their families are often a complicated dynamic. There are people in many families that are in recovery. Families can and DO recover. But this may not be the case in your situation. How you choose to spend your holiday season, and who you spend it with, is 100% your decision.

Holidays Are Hard for Addicted People (& Families)

Holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, love, and acceptance. That’s what the countless tv commercials and shows seem to advertise. But don’t be fooled or feel bad if your personal situation looks nothing like what you see portrayed in the media. There’s no perfect family out there, and many people have circumstances that make the holiday season difficult to experience or enjoy.

Family is “supposed” to look a certain way if you pay attention to marketing messages. Those messages are just meant to sell things and rarely even reflect what everyday people look like and live. Your family is never going to be perfect, and it’s your choice how you react to that or choose to conduct your relationships.

You don’t have to spend time with people who have caused (or WILL cause) pain. There may be family members uncomfortable with you, too, if there is baggage from your addiction. Accept where you are at and focus on what you CAN do to enjoy yourself this holiday without the use of alcohol or drugs.

Identifying Your Needs

If your situation this holiday season is less than ideal, you have the power to change the way you celebrate it. This may mean making changes in who and where you celebrate this season.

If you want to avoid a hard-drinking family, you can always plan to have a separate dinner that’s more intimate with your parents and others who understand your struggles. If your family itself is toxic, find out about 12-step meetings and other events where sober people are gathering.

If you choose to spend your time with your family but worry about triggers or stressors, ask your sponsor to help you create an “escape” plan. Make sure that part of this plan includes a ride home or to a meeting. Even better, make your escape plans ahead of time and commit to helping out at the 12-step meeting or event when you get there.

Be gentle with yourself if you experience triggers, anxiety, or depression when you’re celebrating. Please remember that you’re not alone. Reach out to other people in your network if you need help. Text people, go to meetings, and try to relax when you can.

Staying sober is the most important goal in recovery. People who stay sober do it a day at a time. That means just for today, no matter what, you're not picking up a drink or a drug.

Remember that getting drunk or high just causes you more problems and fixes nothing. Give yourself a chance and commit to stay sober no matter what this holiday season. Use the tools that have kept you sober, and reach out to others in recovery if you’re struggling.

Things to Do This Holiday Instead of Using Substances

  • Help in the kitchen. There is always something that needs to be done. Wash dishes, shape cookies, and avoid the outside crowd.
  • Set the table or vacuum when preparing for guests.
  • Offer to look things up on your cell phone or help an older relative fix their new cellphone.
  • Go outside and throw a football with somebody. Or, take a younger family member on a bike ride or to the beach.
  • Help with Christmas tree set-up and decorations.
  • Go to a movie with sober family or friends.
  • If you are religious, attend service with loved ones.
  • Go to a 12-step meeting or holiday event.
  • Help mix a pitcher of alcohol-free drinks.
  • Watch movies on Netflix or host a movie/tv show marathon.
  • Take a long bath or shower.
  • Meditate or take a short walk to gain mental clarity.
  • Call your sponsor for more ideas.

Try Sober Living San Diego

Sober housing is an excellent way for people new to sobriety to learn to live life on life’s terms. Learn more about your options available in the San Diego area. In sober housing, you will meet people who are sober, working their 12-step programs, and rebuilding their lives in recovery. To learn more about what our programs offer, call us at 760-216-2077.

Mending relationships with your father or mother is a struggle for many people in recovery. You may have caused your parents a lot of pain when you were using drugs and alcohol. Or, you may have had a difficult childhood and now struggle to have an adult relationship with your family. Whatever the case may be, it’s up to you to begin working on your relationship in recovery.

Recovering Your Relationships

No one has a perfect relationship with their family. It’s important to aim for progress, not perfection. You are powerless over other people’s actions. Beginning to heal these relationships is an essential step in life.  But you must be willing to be open to disagreements now and then. Take your relationships a day at a time.

Tips for Better Relationships With Family

There are many things you can do to help improve your relationship with your family. When you get to the 4th, 5th, and 6th steps, you’ll fo some hard work looking at your deeds and flaws. Until then, small things make a big difference.

  • Practice forgiving yourself. Holding on to guilt and shame gets you nowhere. Start by practicing self-care when you are feeling down. Read a good book, go on a walk, or take a long hot bath.
  • Stop comparing other peoples’ lives to your own, especially other family members. No one has walked in your shoes. You may be struggling right now, but you are exactly where you are supposed to be in life. Your parents are also probably struggling to understand your point of view, too
  • Enjoy time with family. Being with them is something that they will likely appreciate. Try to stay out of deep thought and instead try to enjoy being present.
  • Accept that no one, either them or you, is perfect. Sometimes you may harbor resentments against family members, or they may get on your nerves. It’s okay to have these feelings, but if your relationship is turning toxic, it’s time to focus on yourself. Don’t let anyone abuse you or manipulate you.
  • Take relationships a day at a time. Trust is something that people usually earn. You may have hurt a loved one's feelings in the past. These are things you *can* make up for eventually. Offer more time to your parents. Help them with things around the house or invite them out for a movie. Bring them groceries. Call to check up on them.
  • Talk, but focus on listening. Ask questions, and don't interrupt. Try not to argue every time you disagree with somebody. Instead, choose your battles wisely, and remember you’re powerless over their actions and reactions. You can only select your own.

These are just a few ways that you can start rebuilding family relationships in recovery. Just remember that your life is your own. Time sometimes also becomes a significant part of the healing process. As you stay sober, you’ll make new and better memories that will help fade the hurt of some of the older memories.

Aftercare and Sober Living

By the Sea Recovery is a sober living home in San Diego. Our level of treatment services is top-notch and evidence-based. We offer a safe and therapeutic environment to help our clients take the next step in their recovery and learn to live in a safe, supportive, drug-free environment. Learn more about our programs by calling us at 760-216-2077.

 

Addiction is a family disease and affects more people than the addicted person probably realizes. Friends, spouses, parents, and children all may have struggles related to their loved one’s addiction.

When a person gets clean, their families go through several emotions just like they do. There are also a lot of fears and unresolved feelings caused by the addiction that need to be resolved. Families can play a large part in the recovery of a person with a substance use disorder. At the same time, they probably have a lot of questions and concerns about their loved one’s recovery.

A person with an addiction needs to focus on themselves and their recovery. Making amends and gaining trust back can’t happen overnight, just like addiction didn’t happen at night. Family members can’t fix an addicted person, and an addicted person can’t fix their family.

Getting Help for Family Members

If you’re somebody whose loved one is struggling with addiction and recovery; there are resources available. They may include:

  • Support groups for families of people in recovery. Al-Anon, Codependents Anonymous, and other groups can provide vital support to your family.
  • Online resources. There are many online support groups and forums where you can reach out and get help anonymously if you want.
  • Family therapy. Many people in recovery will have a family therapy session available in treatment.
  • Learning about addiction. Read books or articles about recovery. There are many books available for family members of recovering addicts.
  • Individual therapy. Sometimes, a family member will need to seek individual treatment to learn about self-care and the recovery journey.

If you’re a loved one of somebody in recovery, accept help when it’s offered. You are not alone, and you, too, are worthy of love and empathy.  Make sure that you take time for yourself. You can’t help anyone else if you’re not also helping yourself.

Are You Ready for Sober Living?

After drug treatment, many people in recovery choose to transition to sober living homes. Living with other people who have the same goals can help quell your anxiety and gain confidence when you’re new to recovery. Learn more about your sober living options and how we can help by calling us at 760-216-2077.

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