How Your Family Can Impact Your Recovery
Recovery is not something you go through alone. You have friends and, hopefully, a family who support you throughout the process. Anyone you are involved with during this time can affect the success of your recovery. Families can influence the direction your recovery takes.
Positive Family Impacts on Recovery
Families that want to help you in your recovery journey are supportive. Their support can make all the difference in the world to your success. Following are examples of positive family supports:
- Drive you where you need to go: This is a huge help, especially if you have lost your driving privileges because of your substance abuse. You know you can make it to 12-step meetings, alumni groups, or mental health counseling sessions when necessary.
- Avoid negative talk of your past addiction behavior: Your family lets you work through your past behavior your way without bringing it up in every conversation you have. The intent is not to ignore your addiction but to permit you to take the lead on your recovery.
- Do not invite old friends over who are part of your past: You will not be ambushed by walking into a room only to find your old using buddies sitting there chatting with your brother. Instead, your family will ask who you want to and do not want to be around. You can always call before visiting to see if it is a good time or not.
- Hold you accountable: You will not be allowed to do whatever you want, go back to your old ways, old friends, without being checked by your family. They will hold you accountable for your recovery promises you made to yourself and them.
Family members who take the above-described steps to support you want what is best for you. That is wonderful for you. Unfortunately, not all families are supportive of their loved ones in recovery.
Negative Family Impacts on Recovery
Families may not realize they are not supporting your recovery. It could be because they do not know how to. In other situations, certain family members may deliberately try to sabotage your recovery.
Families may enable you because they do not want to start a fight or because they believe you may go back to using if they upset you. Either way, understanding how your family may be interfering with your recovery can help you get back on track. Following are typical examples of recovery disruptions by family:
- Agree to help you, then back out: Few things are as frustrating to a person in recovery who has committed to being honest as a family member who constantly breaks promises. Broken promises can remind you of your past actions and may be a trigger for you.
- Brings up your past addiction behavior: Someone who is unwilling to allow you to move forward in your life is not healthy to be around. These relationships can become toxic. Even if it is a family member doing this, you may need to avoid them altogether.
- Uses in front of you: A family member who chooses to continue their addictive behaviors knowing you are in recovery may cause another toxic situation. You are not asking them to change their life for you, but you can ask them to be considerate of your recovery and warn you if they are using, so you do not go around them at that time.
- Make excuses for you: If you fall back into old behaviors, ask to be taken to meet with old friends, and your family supports you, then they are enabling you. It is not a good thing. Families that make excuses for you are just as bad for you as family or friends who thrive in their addiction.
All families are not natural supporters of recovery. Lack of support can occur on purpose or unknowingly. What you believed to be an essential part of your support system is flawed, and now your recovery may be in jeopardy.
Your Role in the Family Dynamic
Relationships within families are not one-sided or static. You also have a role to play. Roles change, and it is up to you to understand your responsibilities in your family.
- Take charge of your recovery: Only you can make your recovery a success. It is because of no one else if you succeed or not. It is not up to your family members to make sure you stay sober. It is yours.
- Set boundaries with family: As with everyone else in your life, it is alright to set boundaries with your loved ones. You may establish different boundaries with specific family members depending on their role or closeness in your life.
- Hold yourself accountable: You are responsible for your decisions and actions. Your family is not. Every single choice you make comes down to you and how you see your recovery progressing.
Determining if your family is helping or hurting your recovery is key to your well-being. You may want to eliminate anything from your life that undermines recovery progress, especially early on in your recovery. Perhaps you can guide your family in ways to support you. If that does not work, you might need to limit contact to phone calls for a while.
You are in recovery and ready to begin engaging with your family again. Once you start interacting with your loved ones, you will need to stay self-aware. Are they too supportive or enabling? Are they undermining your recovery? Is their support precisely what you need? It can get tricky if you love your family, but they are not good for you right now. Family reunification is not always possible right away. Sometimes it takes education on their part to understand how they can support but not enable you. Here in scenic Utah, Mountain Peak Recovery helps you discover your light while in addiction treatment and recovery. We want you to see your true worth and follow your best path to lifelong sobriety. If you are in recovery and struggling with family issues, we can help you. Mountain Peak Recovery provides ongoing assistance to individuals seeking help with aftercare. Call us at (801) 824-8829 to learn more about our alumni programming.