Facing Your Family for the First Time After Treatment

Posted by | Relapse Prevention, Treatment Programs | November 23, 2015

Many people avoid treatment because of the stigma that can come with admitting that you’re addicted to alcohol and/or drugs. They simply don’t want to face the judgment of their family and friends. And there are many other obstacles that can keep a person away from getting the treatment they need. However, if you’ve made it through addiction treatment and you’re on your way home, there may be a mix of many emotions. There might be fear, guilt, shame, and at the same time, excitement, hope, and appreciation for the family that will welcome you home.

Friends and family members might feel they need to make up for the problems an addict is causing. There might be more arguments, tension, and stress within relationships. There might be regret, betrayal, and feelings of anger. Addiction can create dysfunctional and unhappy relationships.

Yet, when a recovering addict returns from treatment, the past might remain in the past. Both the person in recovery as well as his or her family may be willing to start fresh. There might be feelings of hope for a new way of living together. However, there’s no question that relationships will need to be repaired. New memories need to be formed. New experiences need to be had among everyone in the family. Until such time, family members and friends might still hold a grudge or feel cautious about moving forward with trust and openness.

For this reason, there are some steps a recovering addict can do to repair the relationships that might have been harmed before seeking treatment. If you’ve been in treatment, it might be hard to face family for the first time afterwards. However, there are some important points to remember that might make repairing relationships easy to do:

  • –While you were in treatment, both you and the family have had a change to heal.
  • –There is no longer an “identified patient” in the family, and in turn, this affects the patterns of codependency and enabling. When there is no longer someone in the family who is seen as helpless or powerless, then there will be less opportunities for family members to engage in enabling behavioral patterns.
  • –When an addict gets treatment, the family has an opportunity to find the homeostasis in their relationships again.
  • –When an addict takes responsibility for his or her life, others in the family might then feel the freedom to move on with theirs.

 

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