Recovery from addiction is a challenging journey, and the support of family and close friends often plays a crucial role. Studies in alcohol abuse treatment emphasize the importance of a strong support system. Marital and family therapy has assisted reluctant individuals in seeking treatment and maintaining sobriety. But what if your family relationships are strained to the point where they don’t want to be involved in your recovery? Or what if you don’t have family members around? Sometimes, your immediate relatives may even be struggling with substance abuse, creating an environment that could easily trigger a relapse.
Contrary to what you might think, there are effective ways to navigate recovery without family support. Our addiction recovery center counselors recommend a series of steps and strategies:
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1. Try to Make Amends In Words/Actions
Acknowledge past hurtful behaviors and seek forgiveness. Offer restitution for any actions for which you can make amends.
As a faith-based recovery center, Renaissance Ranch employs the 12 Steps as a primary vehicle in recovery. Step 9 calls on substance abusers to make direct restitution to those they have harmed wherever possible.
2. Offer to Connect Family and Friends to Helpful Resources
Sometimes, anger directed towards family members who are recovering substance abusers is exacerbated by a lack of understanding. Suggest accompanying them to a family-oriented support group or share informative podcasts on addiction. Explain that your intention is not to excuse your past behavior but to provide insight into addiction, the challenges you face in recovery, and how you can work together to rebuild your relationship.
The Ranch offers a Family Addiction Recovery podcast series and a comprehensive, free family education program with access to classes, groups, and other helpful resources.
3. Be Patient
Understand that your family and friends may not immediately accept your attempts at restitution or believe in your commitment to recovery. Stay committed to your recovery journey, knowing that they may come to recognize your dedication over time.
4. Keep Your Distance
In households where drug and alcohol abuse persist, it’s essential to prioritize your sobriety. While continuing to reach out to make amends, maintain a safe distance. Communicate your desire to be more present in their lives while expressing your struggle with sobriety in their presence.
5. Create Your Own ‘Surrogate’ Family
Seek support from friends, therapy sessions, and peer groups. Many drug rehab organizations have alumni associations to provide ongoing support and accountability. Participate in activities and mixers organized by local chapters of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Consider joining a religious congregation for added community support.
6. Volunteer in Your Community
Giving back can be therapeutic and help you rediscover suppressed skills and talents. Use your skills to create positive impacts in your community.
7. Consider a Sober Living Facility
Sober living facilities offer a structured, substance-free environment without the strict constraints of a rehab center. Residents engage in work or school while residing in a substance-free environment. Social activities are more limited, and facility managers and peers maintain accountability. This option eases the transition back to ‘real’ life, keeps you connected with therapy and peer groups, and allows you to share your experiences with those on a similar journey.
Regardless of your family situation, multiple paths can lead to successful recovery. Whether your family supports you or not, hope is never lost.