Content reviewed by Christian Losch, LCSW, LCADC, CEO of Pinelands
The realization that living a sober lifestyle is right for you and deciding to do so takes a decent amount of self-awareness and courage. You dedicate your life to prioritizing your health and overall well-being. You enter residential treatment and being your journey of recovery. Reaching a point in your life where you can make such a healthy decision for yourself is truly revitalizing. However, not everyone will share this same perspective.
There may be some who do not support your decision to live a sober lifestyle.
You may already know that not everybody is able to identify the benefits of living a sober lifestyle. However, you may not be aware that some of these individuals may be those you are closest to. Unfortunately, your closest loved ones may not agree with your decision to be sober. This can make it extremely difficult to commit to your recovery when your loved ones do not support your journey. Therefore, it is important to understand why some people may not support your decision. Some of these reasons may include:
- Their own dependence on drugs or alcohol
- Their fear of changes in relationship dynamics
- Their inability to confront difficult topics
- Misinformed beliefs surrounding addiction
- Their unwillingness to believe you have a problem
- Fear of accepting reality
- Their desire to “keep the peace”
- Their control issues
- Past experiences with those in addiction recovery
A loved one’s inability to support you usually has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. People have their own personal reasons for not supporting this particular part of your life. Although this is disappointing, it does not mean that you are alone or making a mistake. This is important to consider and remember when encountering loved ones who do not support your decision to be sober. However, despite this knowledge, it can still be challenging to manage a situation where a loved one does not support this critical life decision.
There are some ways to navigate this situation effectively.
Although you cannot control what others believe or do, there are some ways you can handle the troubling emotions situations like these can cause. Below are four ways in which you can begin navigating this strenuous circumstance.
#1. Attend family therapy.
Family therapy sessions are designed to help loved ones come together and learn more about each other and communicate their needs with one another. These groups are open to all loved ones, not just family members. During a typical session, you can expect to learn what causes issues between loved ones, how to facilitate effective communication and gain differing perspectives. Even if a loved one who does not support you does not attend, family therapy can be a helpful tool to understand and cope with that scenario as well.
#2. Allow for time away from those who do not support your sobriety.
Whether you choose to temporarily or permanently take time away, separating yourself from them can help give you the space to heal and grow. Choosing this sort of separation does not have to mean that you are angry with them. It only means that you have a lot of things you are going through and being around that individual does not help reduce the stress you experience. In fact, this loved one may even add to your stress when in their presence.
You can choose to set boundaries and formally tell them you would like space from them if you feel this is necessary. However, if speaking to or confronting them is not something you feel well enough to do, choosing to distance yourself away from them without their knowledge is perfectly fine as well.
#3. Reach out to other supports.
Sometimes the realization that a loved one does not support you can feel like an extreme loss in your life. To remind yourself that you are not alone, it can be helpful to reach out to loved ones who do currently support you and your sobriety. Surrounding yourself with these individuals may not entirely take away the pain of knowing you have lost a supporter in your life. However, they can be there for you by caring for you, supporting you and helping you grow into the person you want to be. Reaching out to local 12-Step groups or other support networks can be a good place to start.
#4. Practice affirmations.
It can be easy for you to doubt your knowledge about what is best for you during this time. The influence of your loved ones could potentially sway your choice to be sober. A great way to instill confidence in yourself and your choices is to practice daily affirmations. These affirmations can be whatever self-affirming phrases resonate with you. Some ideas can include the following:
- I know myself and my body.
- I am taking care of myself and doing good things for myself.
- I can trust myself again.
- I am worthy of trust, care, and love.
- I love who I am becoming.
No matter what you choose, the practice of reciting daily affirmations can help mitigate any doubts that may be creeping up.
Knowing that you are making the right decision for yourself is vital, and those of us at Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford are here to remind you of that. Through our various programs, we can help you understand why recovery is so important for you. We are here to support you even when others may not understand. Call us today at (877) 557-5372 to learn more.