Finishing a rehab program is a huge accomplishment that commonly comes with a celebration from friends and family. However, not everyone has the privilege of having family members that are supportive of them in recovery. This could be because of ongoing substance abuse within the household or problems that appeared during the person’s addiction that have not been forgivable for some family members. It is important to remember that getting sober doesn’t erase all of the pain and hurt that were caused during active addiction. In any case, there are things you can do to help your sobriety, even if your family isn’t there to support you. Here are some tips on what to do when your family doesn’t support you or your recovery.
Try to Make Amends
Something to understand in addiction recovery is that there may be ways in which you have hurt your family members and other people close to you. Active addiction causes people to change dramatically, including their personality. This can lead to things being said and actions being done that you wouldn’t normally do when you are sober.
Trying to make amends means apologizing with words and actions to show you are genuinely sorry for the pain you caused and that you want to fix it. However, your family members may not be receptive to this. You cannot force someone to accept your apology, but by showing them through actions, they may come around. Even so, you must understand that your family may not accept your attempt at making amends.
Keep Your Distance
Perhaps one of the best things you can do during this time if your family doesn’t want to make amends is keeping your distance from them. If there is ongoing substance use in the household, it could be a potential trigger for relapse. If there is drama caused by the pain and hurt of active addiction, the tension and conversations could cause stress, anger, sadness, and more on your part, which are also triggers for relapse. The best thing you can do is look after your own mental health. It is not worth being around an unsupportive family for the sake of trying to win them back if they are not willing to listen or be supportive. Take care of yourself and keep your distance for the time being.
Offer to Educate
Over time, if you try to make contact with your family, try to do so by offering to educate them about the addiction. Without proper education about the disease, your family may not understand exactly what you went through and how you are trying to heal from it. You can do this by offering to accompany them to a support group for friends and family of addicts that provides education on addiction. The education may help them better understand and be more open to you trying to make amends. Even if they reject your offer, remember that they may one day come around. They just need more time to heal.
Go to a Support Group by Yourself
Even if your family doesn’t want to attend with you, you should still go to a support group by yourself. This can help give you the support you lack from family members because you will be surrounded by individuals who have also struggled with addiction and found sobriety. Some may even understand what you’re going through by not having supportive families themselves. Either way, you can gain advice, resources, and fellowship from a support group. This will be incredibly important to your recovery and maintaining sobriety.
Consider Living at a Sober Living Residence
The first couple of days out of rehab are crucial because they are when you are at most risk of relapse. This is because they can be overwhelming, mixed with emotions of excitement and anxiety. Not having a supportive family that is willing to take you in and provide a proper recovery space within the home is not ideal for your recovery. This is why you should consider a sober living home if this is your situation. Sober living homes provide a transitional space for those just out of rehab to smoothly transition back into daily life in a sober and supportive environment. During your time at a sober living home, you can look for jobs or look into educational programs to help you get back on your feet.
A great way to cope with an unsupportive family is by giving back to the addiction community yourself. You will be able to help those in need that are where you were at the beginning of your recovery. This will improve your mood, outlook on sobriety, and give you a sense of purpose. Consider this when you are feeling down and need to connect with other sober people in the community.
It Takes Time
Remember that addiction is a family disease, hurting not only the person with the disease but also those around them. Just because you have worked on healing from your addiction and are ready to move on, some of your family may not be ready. They were hurt by your actions and it is valid for them to need time to heal. Keep this in mind and make yourself available to talk whenever they are ready and willing.
At Northstar Transitions, we have seen multiple cases of our clients’ families not supporting them in recovery. While it is sad, we understand that addiction is a family disease and family members have also been hurt by addiction. Sometimes taking a step back and learning to cope with your own difficulties while the other person heals is all you can do. We do our best to provide resources and education about addiction for those close to recovering addicts, but we can also help addicts that have families that just won’t come around. We want you to move past their refusal of support to finding that motivation within yourself and your chosen family. There are things you can do to look after your own sobriety and mental health even if your family isn’t supportive. For more information regarding unsupportive families in addiction recovery, give us a call at (303) 558-6400.