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What To Do When Your Family Doesn’t Support Your Sobriety

How to find support in sobriety and keep pushing forward

Having support in sobriety from family and friends is a huge privilege. Unfortunately, not everyone in recovery has close family members or friends who support their recovery. Whether it’s due to ongoing addiction, hurt and deceit from the past, or a lack of education about addiction and recovery, not having support from loved ones can be really difficult. Getting sober and establishing a new life for yourself is hard work that should be celebrated. When it’s not, it can be especially painful.

Regardless of how your family and friends respond to your newfound sobriety, you can still be successful and thrive in recovery. Below are a few helpful tips to help you cope with the pain and disappointment of your loved ones’ lack of support.

Related post: Why Is Making Amends Important?

Get connected with a support group.

Social support is a key component  of lasting recovery. If you think you can stick it out and do this on your own, you’re wrong. Fortunately, recovery support doesn’t just come from your family and friends. You can create a new “family” of people who care about you and your sobriety, and who are there to listen to you, encourage you, and hold you accountable when things get tough. Local recovery support groups and 12-Step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can provide a community of people who care and understand what you’re going through because they’ve been there themselves.

Chances are, many people in a support group have also faced a lack of support from loved ones, just like you. They’ve likely had to work hard to rebuild relationships or learn how to cope when some of those relationships suffered irreparable damage. The guidance these people can provide is invaluable, so ask questions and lean on them for support!

Get support in sobriety at a sober home.

Learning how to deal with a lack of support from loved ones is really hard! If you’re in this situation, it can help to have a tribe of supportive, sober individuals in your corner. Enrolling in a sober living program will provide you with a safe, structured, and supportive living environment, and many opportunities to connect with sober, like-minded peers.

Sober homes can be apartment complexes or residential houses that are shared by a community of men or women in recovery, and most offer recovery support services that can help you maintain your new sober life. Examples include:

Make amends when necessary.

Your friends or family may be hesitant to forgive and move forward if you’ve hurt them in the past. Relationships take time to heal, and once trust is broken, it can take a long time to re-establish. One of the best ways you can show your loved ones that you’ve changed is by making amends (Step 9 of the 12-Step Program). This process doesn’t just involve apologizing with your words—it also requires action on your part.

For example, don’t just apologize for stealing from your friend while you were addicted. Instead, make things right and pay them back. Supporting your words with actions will show your loved ones that you’re sincerely sorry and that you’re committed to your recovery and re-establishing your relationships. 

However, there’s simply no magic trick that will make your friends and family offer support in sobriety. Sometimes, even after you make amends, loved ones aren’t ready or willing to allow you back into their lives. This is something you may have to learn how to live with.

Maintain a healthy distance.

If your loved ones’ lack of support is due to ongoing substance abuse issues, it’s best to keep your distance. Spending time with these individuals could become a trigger for you, which could ultimately lead to relapse. This is especially true if you’re newly sober. Putting yourself in a situation where you’re tempted to drink or use drugs may not end well and it’s best to avoid those situations at all costs.

Additionally, if there tends to be a lot of drama involved when you spend time with your family or friends, it may be a result of your turbulent history with addiction. In these cases, sometimes it’s best to back off, keep your distance, and find support in sobriety elsewhere. Turbulent interactions like these are likely to cause a lot of stress, anger, or sadness, which can translate to fuel for a relapse.

Prioritize your recovery.

Your friends and family may not understand some of the things you do or ways you act now that you’re in recovery. Or, they might not agree with how you do things. Regardless, it’s important to put your sobriety first, knowing that their lack of understanding does not have to influence your behavior. 

Sticking to your recovery plan and goals is one of the best things you can do for yourself, especially when family and friends are unsupportive. If you need support in sobriety, lean on your sponsor, counselor, sober living roommates, or fellow AA members for support.

Manage your expectations.

In some cases, your family and friends might never give you the type of response you’re hoping for in recovery. This can be a major letdown. But just remember: your success in recovery is not determined by what family or friends view as acceptable. Try to keep this top-of-mind and remember that you define your own success. You do not need the approval of others to continue your recovery journey and rebuild your life as you see fit. Although you don’t want to close off your heart to loved ones, managing your expectations can

Process your emotions by journaling.

When you’re dealing with a lack of support from loved ones, it can be helpful to have a tool to process your emotions. Journaling can be a great option. If you’re wondering what to write about, here are a few prompts that may be helpful to get you going:

  • Is there someone in your life who is not supporting you right now? Why do you think this person is behaving this way? What will you do in response?
  • Is there someone in your life who is providing amazon support right now? What has this support meant to you? How has it improved your life?
  • What do you wish your family and friends understood about your recovery experience?

Journaling about your feelings can help you get your emotions out onto paper. It can also help you identify areas of your life that need some work, which may help you cope with a lack of support.

Try your best to be patient.

Addiction is a far-reaching disease that impacts friends, family, and other loved ones all around us. In truth, your loved ones may just need to heal in their own time. The best thing you can do is make sure you’re available to listen when they’re ready to talk and leave your heart and mind open to possibilities.

Related post: How to Support Family Members Who Are Recovering Alcoholics

The staff at Eudaimonia Recovery Homes is here to support you

It can be very hard to deal with a lack of support. Maybe you found us by desperately Googling  “sober houses near me” and you’re still not sure if a sober living home is right for you. At Eudaimonia Recovery Homes, we are passionate about providing safe, supportive, and comfortable sober living homes for men, women, and LGBTQ+ individuals in all stages of recovery. If you’re struggling and you need help to stay sober, we’re here for you. Just call (512) 580-3131 or contact us online today to speak with an admissions representative.

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