Despite the importance of family support in addiction recovery, some people simply don’t have friends or family they can lean on. Either they have no living family, their family contributed to their substance abuse, or the family can’t overcome anger or resentment. In these cases, it’s important to find some other form of support.
Sometimes people are misinformed or don’t understand addiction and can be won over with a bit of education. You might find reading materials or websites for them or offer to attend a 12-step meeting together. It may be even more helpful to share openly about how addiction has affected your life. Try not to get impatient or defensive. Your loved ones may need time, and showing up or calling constantly can hurt your chances at reconciliation. Chances are, mistakes were made on both sides, and trust will have to be rebuilt. If you know you did something to cause the rift – for example, stealing from a family member or neglecting duties at home – apologize and make an effort to repay them.
Some relationships are codependent, to the point where a loved one who is trying to support you is actually allowing you to continue destructive behavior. They will fight with other family members who aren’t as forgiving and might succeed only in destroying your support network. Remember that there is a difference between support and enabling. If you find that your family member is constantly making excuses for you, blaming your problems on other people or things, taking care of things you should be able to do yourself, or putting all of your wishes above their own, these are signs of an enabler.
It’s, unfortunately, possible that the people you’ve wronged will never let go and forgive you. Sometimes issues in a marriage or among family may be what led to your addiction in the first place. If rebuilding family relationships just isn’t possible, it’s important not to try to go it alone. Go to support groups and recovery meetings, or even join an online community. Members of these groups are likely to have similar feelings, worries, problems, and decisions to make, and there won’t be any past history clouding their feelings. The most important thing isn’t necessarily where you’re getting the support, but that you have it.
Data was collected from a 2003-2007 study of the Recovery Association Project’s (RAP) Recovery Community Services Program, a funded peer recovery service that provided a wide range of peer recovery services, including self-help meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, with several scheduled meetings daily. At a six month follow-up, 86 percent of the participants receiving RAP services reported abstinence from using alcohol or drugs in the past 30 days.
If you or a loved one need help to quit drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504.