Entering rehab is typically a decision that is made out of necessity – your addiction and has spiraled too far out of control and begun to affect every aspect of your life including the relationships with people who are closest to you. Your friends and family want to see you happy and healthy but if damage has been done to your relationship, it might be hard for them to see you in a new light and take steps to move forward.
It’s important to remember that recovery is a journey for everyone, not only the person who is dealing with a substance abuse disorder. If it takes your friends and family some time to come around, you should try to be patient with them as they have likely done for you in the past.
Nevertheless, facing friends and family members who are less than supportive can be upsetting and discouraging. Knowing how to deal with the people in your life who aren’t ready to forgive and forget the past will help save what you can of your relationship and give you the best chance at reconciliating in the future.
Here are 5 steps to dealing with unsupportive friends and family members in a healthy way:
- Don’t Enter Conflict
Because drug addiction affects relationships, emotions may run high after you leave rehab and get back to the “real world.” It’s possible that there will be people in your life who are still angry about things that you have done or not done in the past. If they try to confront you, it’s important that you do not engage with them until you are able to sit down together and have a healthy and productive conversation.
Engaging in conflict can only cause further damage to your relationship. If there are people that you want to patch things up with, but you can’t seem to have a calm and respectful conversation, consider family therapy sessions. A mental health professional can act as a mediator in your conversation and direct participants toward resolution rather than an angry rehashing of events.
- Create Space
If you are unable to be around your friends and family without conflict arising, the best thing to do is to create some space. Giving the person who is upset some space gives them time to calm down and think things through with a clear head. If they are unable to come back to you in a calm and respectful manner, you may have to consider the fact that the relationship you had is just not the same anymore and make peace with that.
As time goes on, and they see that you are serious about your recovery and making amends, their demeanor may begin to change, and they could be more open to the possibility of repairing your relationship. It’s important to remember not to force anything because that does not make for sustainable relationships. Keep working hard on your recovery and focus on yourself. The people who love you will come around in due time.
- Spend Time with Those Who Do Support You
You may feel obligated to repair relationships with your friends and family but if they aren’t supporting you through this difficult time, don’t waste your energy on patching things up with them. Focus your time on finding people who do support you and strengthen the relationships that you have with them.
The bonds that you made and strengthen after rehab are going to play a key role in your sobriety and keeping you on the right track. They will help to hold you accountable and not place blame on you if and when you backtrack a few steps. Recovery is not a linear process and you deserve to have people around you who life you up and encourage you – not trash you for making mistakes.
- Focus on Yourself
The main goal of recovery is to build a better life for yourself – not for other people. Of course, you want to be a healthy person so that you can be there for the people around you but you won’t be able to do that if you are too concentrated on pleasing everyone else and putting your needs after theirs.
Begin to have better habits that you implement into your everyday routine and learn to face the issues that caused you to turn to substance abuse. When you’re finally in a peaceful and healthy mindset, your friends and family will recognize this, and you may find that your relationships repair themselves!
- Accept What You Cannot Change
A sober life may seem like an entirely new life for you. You might have to learn to be comfortable with the fact there are going to be people that just don’t fit into your new life anymore. Leaving things in the past and moving forward to create new relationships might be your only option and you have to learn how to be okay with that.
Participating in outpatient therapy or support groups may be able to help you navigate the waters of your new life and process the fact that there are going to be people that you have to say goodbye to. Otherwise, you might find yourself putting too much effort into things that won’t benefit you or have a detrimental effect on your recovery in the long run.
Support at Intrepid Recovery
If you need some extra support during your journey through recovery, Intrepid Recovery offers top-of-the-line outpatient resources. With our programs, we are able to offer one-on-one counseling, group therapy, and family therapy sessions – something that may be incredibly helpful in getting your family to understand and support you through the process. Call our free and confidential hotline anytime (24/7) if you have any questions about our services.