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.

Stress is a fact of life for so many people nowadays. It’s not limited to those in recovery. However, this time of year is especially stressful for people new to recovery and old-timers alike. How can you use stress in a way that helps you?

Ways to Reduce Stress

Stress happens, but avoiding it may seem impossible when you’re in its grip. For many people, feeling stressed and anxious can be a trigger for drinking or drugging. Stress is no reason to get high, but may not know what to do with an urgent-seeming emotion, or maybe you feel anxiety take over and have trouble taking action. Luckily there are ways to reduce the impact of stress in your life.

While you can’t eliminate stress from your life in recovery, there are ways that you can minimize it. For example, if you know that you have to do something that makes you feel stressed out, you can make plans for the aftermath.

For example, maybe you have a large family gathering that you’re planning to attend, and you’re not sure how you’ll cope with any questions. Talking to your sponsor and preparing your answers to challenging conversations can help you feel prepared. If your Aunt Sally wants to ask you about your recovery in front of people you’re not comfortable with, you can go ahead and tell her you’d love to catch up with her later. Or maybe you’re worried somebody will bring you a drink. If so, prepare to have a way of saying “no” that you’re comfortable.

Identifying your triggers and learning ways to react that are healthy is part of recovery. Nobody is perfect, and that’s true about others in your life, too. Learn to respond with empathy and kindness when possible, but don’t go out of your way to make others happy if something makes you feel uncomfortable.

Coping With Stress Through Self-Care

Self-care is a way that you can handle the stress that life throws at you. There’s no way to eliminate most types of stress that people experience, so coping skills are needed to help you get through your tough times. Many people in recovery use self-care to feel a little better.

Meditation, exercise, relaxation exercises, and even doing something as simple as reading or watching a television program all count as self-care. Take some time for yourself and do something that makes you feel better or re-rejuvenated. There are many types of self-care available, so choose what works for you and leave the rest.

Going to a 12-step meeting or calling your sponsor are essential types of self-care in recovery.

Sober Living By the Sea

Many people new to recovery benefit from living in a sober housing situation. In sober living, there are rules as well as recovery adventures. You’re surrounded by 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.

The first few months of recovery can be a bumpy road if you’re not prepared. New feelings, friendships, and a new way of life take adjusting to. You may also still be experiencing withdrawal after years of using substances. If you don’t know it already, it’s important to be aware that this too shall pass. Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help you hold on while you’re waiting for negative emotions to pass.

What is Mindfulness?

According to Wikipedia, “Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.”

Sounds like a lot of work, huh? Actually, mindfulness is pretty much the opposite of work. When you take the time to slow down during a busy day, close your eyes and live in the moment, you’re doing a form of meditation that focuses on your breathing. For a moment, all you can do is be.

Learning Mindfulness

The simplest way to learn mindfulness is to practice being aware of the world outside yourself. Take a mindfulness walk, where you only focus on the squirrels, trees, and the sounds around you. Don’t use your phone or listen to music. Take a nice, slow walk and just be.

There are also breathing exercises you can use when you’re stressed. Practice mindfulness by closing your eyes and taking a deep breath through your nose. Exhale through your mouth and pay attention to the sound and feeling of your body as you do this. Keep your eyes closed and mentally count backward from ten for each breath. As you breathe, pay attention to the sounds around you and the sensations of your body.

You can also learn mindfulness on various websites dedicated to the topic and video websites such as Youtube or Vimeo. Do what works for you and leave the rest. Mindfulness is a great way to relax on a stressful day. It’s also a tool you can use when you feel triggered to use or do something self-destructive.

Sober Living Can Help, Too

Not everyone finishes treatment feeling safe and prepared for the real world, and that’s okay. There are many options available for people who want to live with others in recovery for added stability and understanding. We have some fantastic sober housing options for you to check out. Please give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options.

In recovery, you quickly learn that stress is still a part of your everyday life. Whether you’re in groups all day, working part or full-time, or returning to school, there can be little things that set you off or frustrate you. Recovery doesn’t make anyone immune to stress. In fact, you might discover you’re more sensitive to it at first. It’s normal to feel stressed or overwhelmed when you’re re-entering the world. What is important is that you learn that there are things you can do to lessen the effect of stress.

Here are five great ways to tackle daily stress:

  1. Take a break. In fact, it’s healthiest if you take 5 or 10-minute breaks throughout the day if you can. If you can take breaks at your workplace, take a short walk around the building when you can. College classes with intermissions are a chance to sit on a bench and practice deep breathing. If you’re at home and you’re stressed while paying the bills, take a breather. Water the plants outdoors or spend a few minutes sitting and soaking up the sun. Everyone needs a break now and then. Give yourself that precious time to recuperate.
  2. You don’t have to be a gym rat to benefit from exercise in many ways. Use exercise as a de-stressing tool. It's been proven to keep blood pressure low and help prevent obesity and heart disease. People who exercise often get better sleep. It’s also an excellent way to release “feel good” chemicals in the brain called endorphins. These chemicals can prevent anxiety and help you better regulate your moods. Listen to uplifting music while you’re moving.
  3. Do some household chores. Believe it or not, getting things done and making our homes more liveable is a way to de-stress that is often overlooked. For one thing, clutter and dirt in an environment can easily cause stress and depression; looking at things that need to get done is never fun! Instead of staring at a mess, choose to get it done. You’ll be happy you took the initiative, and you’ll also have worked up a sweat.
  4. Take a long, hot shower. A long, hot shower at the end of a day is a great way to relax. Imagine all of the weight of the stress is with you in that shower, and as you clean yourself, the stress goes down the drain with the dirt. Breathe deeply and take your time.
  5. Hang out with your support network. Sometimes the best way to get away from our stress is to share it. Go to a 12 step meeting, call your sponsor, or meet up with sober friends at a coffee shop. A burden shared is a burden lessened. You’ll get through this stressful period one day at a time.

 

Stress is a regular part of life, but the more you cope with it, the less it will get to you. Learning new coping skills and applying them in the "real world" is an essential aspect of recovery. Take care of yourself, and reach out when you need to.

Are you looking for more information on living in a safe, supportive, sober environment? We can help you find out more about your options. Just get in touch at 760-216-2077, and we'll be happy to discuss living choices with you.

 

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