The family will always play an integral role in recovery. Not only is their input often one of the factors that push someone to seek help or detox in the first place, but they are also one of the most important support systems that someone can have through their difficult recovery journey. However, living with someone going through their own recovery can be very difficult. There will be an innumerable amount of changes that may affect the family and the relationships therein in different ways. Someone in recovery from addiction and their families may both have to make adjustments in order to establish what their new lives will look like. Addiction recovery is a time of transition, and that transition isn’t limited to just one person. This time of change affects everyone around them and it is important for each person in recovery, as well as their families, to work together in order to provide the best chance of sustained, long-term sobriety.
Step One: Establish an Open Means of Communication
Communication can be the key part of any recovery process. Not only is it important for the person in recovery from addiction to be able to articulate their feelings and progress, but it is also important for the family to be able to clearly express concerns or changes at the same time. It is important that both parties be consistently open and honest with each other. For someone in recovery, know that urges and triggers will be common, and that’s okay. These feelings are expected and feeling the urge to use again doesn’t mean that someone has failed in any way. In fact, being able to identify urges and remain sober is a huge step forward in someone’s recovery. For the family, this open communication means being willing to hear about the difficulties that someone is going to experience with compassion and without judgment.
This open communication also has to be fair between all parties. When discussing someone’s progress in recovery, or even if the family has concerns about a possible relapse or slip, it is important to address the person using evidence rather than assumptions in order to create a dialogue. Simply assuming that someone is using again without having reasons to expect so can lead to a deterioration of trust between the person in recovery and their own families. Setting a regular time to sit down and discuss the heavy topics involved in addiction recovery can also be beneficial for the family as a whole, as it allows each person the time they need to prepare their thoughts and formulate what they would like to express to the group. This can prevent emotional outbursts from dictating the tone of a conversation and allows each person an equal opportunity to express their voice and not feel blindsided by a difficult question or conversation.
Step Two: Setting Rules and Expectations
Communication is key in establishing the next step for families living alongside their loved ones in recovery. Rules will be necessary when addressing the recovery process, and it may involve taking some freedoms from the person in recovery in order to ensure their safety and continued success in sobriety. However, there does need to be a reason behind these rules. Establishing curfews or limitations on one’s social circles may be necessary, and it is important to clearly communicate the fact that these are done for the safety of the individual, and also provide evidence as to why these restrictions are being put into place. For example, curfews are in effect so that it is easier to keep track of someone’s movements, so they have less of a chance to act on an impulse to buy drugs or alcohol and to ensure that each person is safe when their support systems may be asleep.
Expectations are also important, as they most often take the form of chores around the house, and any number of other responsibilities, either service or financially based. This is to continue establishing responsibility and accountability through recovery, and can also act as a way to help someone in recovery prove their own successes and progress through the difficult process.
Step Three: Setting Boundaries
Boundaries are important in recovery. While it may seem counterintuitive, someone in recovery may need a place that is wholly their own where they can feel safe and have the freedom to do what they want. Establishing these boundaries is an exercise in trust, and will require each person to prove their progress. However, it is important to note that these places established by someone in recovery can be compromised and are not simply a place where someone can hide their drugs or alcohol. As established in communication and rules, families may still have access to these places if providing evidence that there may be drugs, alcohol, or any other detrimental aspects to someone’s recovery inside.
This is just the beginning of establishing what a new normal may look like for someone in recovery alongside their families. While it is important for each person to be able to prove their progress and fairly earn trust, it is equally important that the family may need to limit some of these freedoms while going through these trying times. Communication will constantly be the lynchpin that can establish a healthy, cooperative relationship against addiction, and will be necessary for establishing boundaries, managing expectations, and rebuilding trust between family members.
Family is an important part of recovery, so it is important to know how to address family situations and dynamics as well as your addiction. However, getting professional help and detoxing are always the first steps to reestablishing yourself and your relationship with your family. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction, Alta Centers can personalize a plan to help you today. Offering detox services with medical supervision and constant access to therapy and emotional support, the comfortable and luxurious atmosphere of Alta Centers can help you take the first step towards your own goals in recovery. Each program, from detox and sober living, can be personalized to help instill the skills most pertinent to you and your loved ones in recovery, working to establish someone’s first step towards a proud, prolonged sobriety. For more information on how Alta Centers can help you, or to speak to a professionally trained staff member about your specific circumstance, call us today at (888)202-2583.