Will Alcohol Recovery Affect my Relationships?
Alcoholism is a family disease that affects everyone close to the person who is addicted.
Addiction Affects Everyone
When someone is suffering from alcohol use disorder, their loved ones tend to take on roles that protect, enable, and cover for the person. When that person enters recovery, the dynamics of their relationships will change. Their loved ones may experience a fear of not being needed, a sense of having no purpose, and even feelings of abandonment.
Below are the two most common concerns regarding recovery and relationships:
In what way will alcohol recovery affect my relationships with my old friends?
Alcohol recovery may make it difficult to socialize with friends who drink or engage in behavior that triggers the desire to drink. Since abstinence from drinking is the number one goal, paying attention to situations that don’t align with recovery is essential in early sobriety. We’re not suggesting dumping your friends (although you may start to see more clearly who your real friends are); we are suggesting that you remain mindful of your surroundings and relapse triggers.
Will alcohol recovery affect my relationships with family members and loved ones?
Your role in the family has changed from “addicted person” to “person in recovery.” This means that your loved one’s roles will also change. For example, if a spouse has been covering for or cleaning up after you when addiction had you in its grip, their role as ‘caretaker’ will no longer be needed. If a parent has been in the role of detective, searching the house for bottles of alcohol, or driving around town trying to find you, their role will also change. Loved ones should be aware of these changes and take steps to heal their own emotional baggage from the addiction.
Recovery from any addiction will bring on new behaviors and new thoughts, thus affecting all relationships – especially the relationship with yourself. Be gentle with yourself and your loved ones during this time, and seek therapy for yourself and/or your family as you all try to adjust to your new lives together.
If you happen to love someone who is in recovery, learn more about the disease of alcoholism by participating in your own recovery program. Find an Al-Anon group meeting in your area, and learn how to shift the focus from your loved one to yourself.
If you or someone you love needs help overcoming addiction, please contact us anytime at (337) 456.9111.
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