How Loved Ones Can Harm Your Road to Recovery and Strategies to Prevent This From Happening
Those who care about someone struggling with addiction will do anything to see that person recover. However, no matter how much family members wish to help, they may sometimes obstruct a person’s road to rehabilitation. This is why families need to understand their role in the recovery process. More accurately, how they can be a source of support for someone in recovery. That being said, it’s also important for families to understand the ways in which they may hinder their loved one’s recovery. Therefore, if you are in a 12-step program, you should know how loved ones can harm your road to recovery and strategies to prevent this from happening.
1. They Ignore Your Codependency
A codependent relationship with a parent, spouse, or other significant other is common among those struggling with addiction. This can be problematic for a few reasons. For instance, having co-dependent relationships can interfere with your recovery because it can prevent you from focusing on yourself. It can also prevent you from setting healthy boundaries with others, making it difficult for you to heal. Lastly, a codependent relationship can sometimes lead to anger or resentment towards the support person. However, codependency is often not obvious. It may seem like a perfectly healthy relationship at first glance, but that’s not always the case. In codependent relationships, people:
- Accept responsibility for a loved one. They take on their problems and keep which can prevent the recovery process.
- Tend to prioritize others’ sentiments above their own. They have difficulty identifying and communicating their feelings and needs.
- They are not able to take criticism and unpleasant feelings personally, and they respond aggressively.
- Have abandonment/separation anxiety, which can be extremely detrimental to people who are in recovery.
Your chances of effective recovery drop if you refuse to acknowledge that there is codependency in your relationship. This will allow you to become independent, which will make the recovery process quicker. You’ll make more progress if you learn to fend for yourself. If you worry that your relationship has become overly reliant on other people, counseling may help. Additionally, enrolling in a family counseling and education program can also help you overcome these issues.
2. They Keep Alcohol or Drugs in the House
Keeping illegal narcotics at home is a bad idea no matter in what stage of recovery you may be. Everyone knows that people in recovery are vulnerable to relapse and cravings. Therefore, it is crucial to get drugs out of the house. However, even if your loved ones do everything they can to rid your home of narcotics, that may not be enough. People in recovery will go for any drug that may give them some form of high. For instance, if your loved one was going through an intense withdrawal period due to alcohol addiction, he or she might try taking painkillers to alleviate the pain. This could lead to an addiction to prescription drugs, which could pose a severe risk to their health in the long run.
If you wish to avoid re-starting prescription drug addiction rehab, you ought to keep drugs and alcohol out of your home and avoid people who may encourage or want to use substances with you. This could be a family member or someone very close to you in some cases. Being around these people may make it easier for you to revert to your old habits and begin using again. And, since it may be impossible to completely cut ties with these people, the least you can do is remove all of the substances from your home so that you don’t have to use “willpower” to abstain.
3. They Can’t Let Go of Past Grudges and Resentments
In most cases, drug addiction is harmful not only to the addict but also to their loved ones. In fact, it is not uncommon to see families break up due to a failure to appropriately confront the issue. Loved ones can harm your road to recovery if they feel bitter toward you because of something you did or said while high. However, these negative feelings are normal. It means that your loved ones care about you, and wish to see you better. That being said, some families may have a harder time going letting go of the resentment they may feel toward you. This frequently causes them to pass on their rage and pain to you, creating a negative feedback loop. And, while a person in recovery may believe that they deserve all of the hatred, finding a way out of it is critical – using a CBT treatment plan for substance abuse can undoubtedly help in this matter. But first, you need to forgive yourself.
Only once you stop resenting yourself, will you be able to affect how your loved ones perceive you. This doesn’t mean that you need to stop caring. In fact, it is important to acknowledge what you did wrong and how you may have hurt your loved ones. However, you can’t beat yourself about it. Family group therapy is a powerful tool for resolving animosity and improving relationships. A good counselor can listen as your loved ones describe the ways in which you have hurt them and gently guide them into a place of forgiveness. Once they have forgiven you, you may go on with your life and start over.
4. They Disregard Red Flags
Sometimes when you are in the early stages of recovery, it may be difficult to spot relapse warning signs. This is especially the case if you are recovering from something as severe as heroin addiction through a heroin rehab in Pennsylvania. This is why family support is crucial at this stage of recovery. However, while watching you suffer, your loved ones can harm your road to recovery if they decide to overlook the warning signs and hope they go away. This can be a big mistake, and it can end up making things even worse. For this reason, you must ensure that your loved ones are always paying attention to you. If they notice that you worry a lot, or that you feel tension and depression, they need to step in.
They should not be afraid to confront you at any stage of your recovery. Doing so will not harm your relationship; it will only strengthen your bond and help you move forward together. At this stage of recovery, it would also be helpful if your loved ones engaged in some form of therapy as well. This will help them better understand the red flags and learn how to better support you on your journey to sobriety.
5. They Don’t Give You Enough Space
People who care about you have good intentions and don’t want to hurt you. They want to provide you with nothing short of full backing and encouragement. However, their hovering behavior often has the opposite effect. Having someone watching over you 24/7 may be necessary for the early stages of recovery. However, loved ones can often overstep their boundaries and make you feel trapped and resentful. Even in the later stages of recovery, your loved ones can harm your road to recovery if they try to micro-manage your program. For instance, they may start to dictate how often or even which groups you should attend. They don’t understand that in order for you to fully recover, you need to have autonomy. Even worse, loved ones may try to force you to discuss your recovery.
As a result, you must teach them to respect your boundaries and give you space when needed. Tell them that it’s okay to ask about your progress from time to time. However, they should not interfere with your treatment or force you to talk about your condition if you are not ready. Let them know that you are going through a difficult time and that they should always respect your wishes. This will reduce the chances of conflict and misunderstandings in the future.
6. They Allow You To Fall Back Into Your Bad Habits
Your loved ones should be compassionate, understanding, and supportive while you’re in recovery. That, however, doesn’t mean they should let you return to old habits. The term “enabler” describes a person who, through their own poor decisions, unintentionally encourages harmful actions in others. Loved ones can harm your road to recovery if they “enable” you. This can happen if they are not firm in their decisions, they make excuses for you or provide you with too many opportunities. All of these actions increase the likelihood that a person in recovery will relapse. This is why the continuum of care is so important. It prepares people for recovery and makes them much less likely to relapse.
However, in addition to that, there have to be firm limits that prevent enabling a person in recovery recovering. This is particularly true when working with a person in the early stages of recovery. Setting boundaries is as easy as laying down some rules and standards for conduct and making it very clear what is and is not acceptable. Talking to the person in recovery about your worries about negative influences and harmful conduct is also a good idea. You can help your loved ones in this process. Be open to discussion, and avoid aggression at all costs.
7. They Don’t Engage in the Positive Aspects of Your Life
Creating a rewarding existence without substances is an essential component of recovery. That can only happen if your loved ones contribute positively to your life. Family members who are resentful of a loved one in recovery may cut off all contact as soon as they notice the person’s life is improving. This is a defense mechanism employed by the individual in an effort to protect themselves from the potential emotional anguish that would result from a relapse.
However, most people who do this are unaware that their actions, in fact, increase the likelihood of a relapse. The involvement of loved ones in the ups and downs of recovery can be very encouraging. One of the best ways family members can contribute to someone’s recovery is to help them take up a new hobby or acquire a new skill. You can do recreational therapy together, go on walks or runs, get a pet and learn how to care for it; or contribute to a good cause or organization that is important to all of you.
8. They Neglect Self-care
Believe it or not, your loved ones can harm your road to recovery if they don’t take care of themselves first. This is because it’s almost impossible to be there for someone going through recovery unless you’re healthy yourself. For this reason, your loved ones must prioritize their own health and well-being while caring for you. That said, most people believe that prioritizing their own health and happiness over someone who is in recovery is self-indulgent. However, it’s crucial to remember that self-care is absolutely essential for effective functioning. It may be difficult for your loved ones to relax while helping you, but they need to try. If at all possible, you should encourage them to do so. Better yet, suggest a fun activity that you can do together.
This means that your loved ones need to make an effort to take care of their bodies by getting plenty of exercise and eating well. However, they must also take care of their emotional and mental health. This is because the first few weeks of recovery are the most challenging. During this time, people in recovery are likely to experience intense cravings and mood swings. It’s also likely that they will experience feelings of loneliness and despair during this time. As you can probably imagine, this can be hard on friends and family if they are not in a mentally and physically healthy place themselves.
Now that you have an idea of how loved ones can harm your road to recovery and strategies to prevent this from happening, it’s time to think about how you can help them support you as you go through recovery. While you cannot control what others do, you can control how you react to it. The most effective way to accomplish this is to strive for constant positive communication. You will be able to express your needs and concerns to your loved ones more easily if you keep an open line of communication. Furthermore, this will make it easier for them to understand your situation and provide appropriate support.