When your loved one was living a life with addiction, the most important things to them then were drugs or alcohol.
After seeking help in a 12-step recovery program, things changed—but maybe not in the way that you expected.
It’s normal to hope that your relationship will improve and that you will become a priority to them. The reality, however, is that your loved one’s number one focus needs to be on his or her recovery.
Intellectually, you may know it has to be that way, but after years of being hurt and having your feelings ignored, the truth may still sting.
Addiction treatment centers and rehabilitation truly do save lives. It can give your loved one the tools he or she needs to live a full and happy life without drugs or alcohol.
Here’s what it can’t do: make everything perfect right away. (Although you should probably stop looking at Facebook if you think anyone has a perfect life.)
It will take time for you and your loved one to settle into a new normal. Give yourselves space and breathing room.
Chances are you participated in some family therapy while your loved one was in addiction treatment. Hopefully, it helped you work through some issues and build a new foundation for your relationship.
Relationships are hard—for everyone. Don’t be afraid to seek out additional therapy and support once your loved one returns home.
At Any Length, an alternative to a recovery center, our mentors encourage community and companionship through honesty and trustworthiness. We encourage this to continue after they leave our Austin treatment center. Be honest with your loved one and let them be open with you. It may be best to try group therapy as a safe place to freely discuss your emotions with your loved one along with the help of a professional.
Take Care of Yourself
You’ve spent so much time over the last few years endlessly worrying about your loved one. You’re probably optimistic, but still concerned.
Just as your loved one is still working on his or her recovery, you should still be seeking out sources of support. Maybe that’s a traditional support group—or maybe it’s just a good friend who understands.
Don’t forget about taking care of yourself and having fun. Do yoga, go to an art exhibit, or indulge in the activities you did before your life was changed by your loved ones addiction. Read books again, even books that are not about addiction.
For so long, you were operating in crisis mode. It won’t happen overnight, but you will slowly begin to rebuild trust and, as you do, you can rebuild the relationship.
After a while, you may just find you’re enjoying the ride.