One of the greatest features of recovery is that you are able to start over – it’s a second chance at life. As you let go of harmful habits and establish better ones, your overall quality of life improves. Many people find that asking their friends or family members to become actively involved in their recovery is beneficial to their sustained sobriety. Involving loved ones in treatment is an important part of the healing process, but what do you do if your family and friends aren’t supportive of your recovery?
When Your Family Isn’t Cooperative
After struggling with addiction for any length of time, taking the first step to pursue treatment is a massive accomplishment. You may have assumed that loved ones would immediately rally behind you and support this life-changing choice, but that’s not always the case.
Lack of support may take many forms. Some family members may continue to drink or use drugs in front of you, or they might keep these substances in shared housing. They may be so deep into substance use themselves that they become resentful of your success. Others may not use drugs, but could have a difficult time forgiving things that happened while you were actively addicted.
Whatever the reason, lack of familial support in early recovery can feel disheartening. Luckily, there are many opportunities for encouragement from other avenues.
Seek Out Support
One of the most important steps to take in early recovery is to seek out others who have shared the same struggles. By building your own sober support network, you’ll surround yourself with those who fully understand your situation – and who can provide much-needed reassurance throughout the process. Find local meetings of NA, AA, and other sober support groups to begin meeting others in recovery. You’ll likely meet many people who have successfully rebuilt relationships with family and friends after treatment. Don’t be shy! Ask questions and use their experiences as a guideline for your own future. You can also turn to online forums and support networks for guidance.
Join Your Alumni Program
Throughout the shared experience of addiction treatment, many residents develop lifelong bonds with one another. Some centers may offer alumni programs that keep these relationships intact and emphasize community-driven treatment. For example, BRC Recovery’s Alumni Program organizes weekly meetings, monthly speaker events, annual celebrations, specialty workshops, and community service projects for all graduates.
Because recovery is a journey, not a destination, be sure to seek out opportunities to experience continuous connection and renewal of your resolve. See if your treatment center offers these services.
Put Your Recovery First
If your friends and family members are still drinking and using, remember that your recovery should always come first. While you can still try to get through to them, keep a safe distance from any activities or gatherings that would result in pressure to relapse. Spend your time in a supportive atmosphere instead, whether volunteering or bonding with new friends.
Choosing Your Family in Recovery
Recovery is the beginning of a new chapter in life. After losing control to drugs and alcohol, you have reclaimed the right to actively choose every aspect of your day. By deciding to be your best self and live life to the fullest, you can demonstrate to estranged friends and family members that you’ve truly changed things for the better.
Give those who have been hurt and distanced themselves the time to heal and forgive. If possible, educate them on the disease model of addiction and invite them to participate in family events surrounding your recovery.
In the meantime, you have the power to surround yourself with positive influences and understanding friends. By leaving behind old drinking buddies in favor of new, supportive friends, you can choose your family in addiction recovery. Similarly, you can start new sober traditions and host alcohol- and drug-free gatherings. Create a vibrant, sober social life in recovery by selecting friends who support your new lifestyle. You won’t regret it.
Bringing Real Change to Your Recovery
BRC Recovery was founded in 2006 to provide healing for the treatment-resistant and chronic relapsers. We understand that early recovery is a delicate time that requires additional support and structure. If you or someone you love could benefit from our transitional living or sober coaching programs, call 1-866-461-1759 today.