Substance abuse can ruin lives, and not the lives of the addicts. Families, friends, and loved ones of the addict can also suffer. They need to deal with a failed relationship and an unreliable loved one. One of the hardest parts of recovery can be rebuilding the relationships that have been allowed to fall apart because of addiction. It is possible to heal these rifts that have happened, and with the right treatment, reconnecting with spouses, children, and siblings is an important part of recovery.
It is easy to see why someone with a substance abuse problem will struggle to maintain their ties with their family and friends. An addict, on their best days, will probably still be lying to the family members, wasting money, or even breaking the law. There are also bad days, which can include abuse, neglect, stealing, and being unfaithful. The spouse of an addict can be affected most, as they will often have to pick up the slack for the addict, raising children, managing the home, and financially supporting the family. The children of addicts can find themselves making excuses for their parents or having to take on some of the responsibilities of a parent themselves. Over time, addicts can become less and less dependable, as their life is taken over by the addiction. They might pull away from their family and not care much when this happens.
Recovering The Family
Many families have been destroyed by addiction. It is usually not until it is too late that the addict starts to regret what they have put their family through. Sometimes, a recovered addict can complete treatment, only to find themselves alone. Lucky people will have a family who stands by them and goes through treatment with them. For many, recovery can be bittersweet because their new life is not filled with their loved ones.
It is possible to make amends. A person who has made it through treatment and is living a sober life should start making plans to reconnect with their loved ones. It won’t be easy to do and some family members may be holding onto the hurt and broken trust that has built up. The best thing to do is seek professional help. If the loved one hasn’t had emotional help and counseling of their own, they will have their own issues to work through. Family therapy can help everyone involved use strategies to improve their relationship so that they can all heal.
As you celebrate your recovery, take some time to also celebrate the family. These individuals have been through a lot alongside you, and any family member who has been willing to stand by you as you were going through addiction recovery should be recognized and commended. It is normal to struggle with a loved one with addiction, and both addiction and recovery can be a very lonely time for families. With the right help and support, you can celebrate both your recovery from your addiction and the recovery of the family.