Maintaining a healthy family dynamic where everyone works together, takes on responsibilities, and accomplishes life goals is challenging. If you live with someone struggling with addiction, it can add many difficulties to the relationship’s dynamic. Over time, addiction creates barriers between you and your loved one where you begin to harbor feelings of disappointment, resentment, frustration, and lack of trust. While they continue to use, you may feel that the damage is irreparable with no hope in sight.
Such feelings could remain even after your loved one has gotten help for their addiction. Understanding that while they are on the path to healing and recovery, you should be too. A significant component for each of you moving forward and restoring a healthy relationship is forgiveness. You might have too many emotions to believe that forgiveness is possible, but it is necessary for effective recovery. Let’s look at ways you can better understand addiction, how it affects your loved one, and how to forgive them and yourself.
Addiction is a Disease
Forgiveness is sometimes easier said than done; it becomes easier when you take time to educate yourself about addiction. Addiction is a disease in the brain and not a choice for your loved one. Lying, secrecy, and negative behaviors are all symptoms of addiction that you may have noticed in your loved one. Asking them to “just get better” is no different than asking someone with a chronic or terminal disease to “just get better.” Recovering from addiction takes vigilance and consistency with various treatments and therapies that help your loved one manage this disease. It also means that professional intervention will be necessary for finding the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Don’t Take Things Personally
When you become more familiar with addiction as a disease and how it affects a person’s brain, you will also realize that the person under the weight of addiction is different from the person they are when sober. Addiction has a way of motivating individuals to participate in harmful acts and behaviors to feed the addiction. Therefore, when they act out or cause hurt, such behavior could result from their brain’s impulse to use. However, your loved one does have some ownership over what they say and do; when they are working through recovery, they will recognize and apologize for the things they have done. Therefore, giving them a little grace will help each of you find the way to forgiveness and acceptance.
Additionally, try to look at the positive steps they’re taking. Understand that it is likely hard for your loved one to accept their addiction, too. Reinforcing the progress they make and creating a safe space in your living environment can further help your loved one open up and express themselves to you in ways they might never have before. Remaining optimistic through the ups and downs can help you and your loved one open up healthy channels of communication, creating powerful, lasting bonds.
Treatment Does Not Heal Addiction
There is no cure for addiction. However, there is treatment and therapy, and each takes persistence and patience. You can’t expect things to change overnight just because your loved one has gone through treatment. Instead, prepare yourself and your loved one by setting realistic goals and expectations. Doing so will help curb frustrations and resentment if your loved one is not moving as fast as you would like.
Remember, the recovery pace varies based on the individual; for it to be successful, your loved one must move at a realistic and manageable rate for them. Being there for moral support instead of reprimanding them is a much better approach in propelling them forward in recovery. Try to accept that this is the “new normal” in your path to forgiveness.
Find Support For Yourself
Just because your loved one is managing their addiction does not mean that they are the only one that needs support. Addiction impacts the whole family unit; it is essential to get yourself and your children support. Support is vital if you are still experiencing a lot of hurt. Having pent-up negative emotions toward your loved one will only keep you from forgiving them and yourself. Finding an outlet through individual therapy or family counseling will provide you with coping tools to manage your emotions.
You might find that speaking your frustrations aloud to a therapist will bring relief. Additionally, being in a family setting where you, your loved one, and your children can vent their concerns and feelings helps heal a family unit. You might, however, require both. The important thing is to care for and forgive yourself, and then you can move on to forgiving your loved one.
Actively working on forgiveness is an essential step in your healing because holding onto resentment is far more exhausting and toxic on the body and mind. At Choice House, we work with men and their families to overcome addiction. Our family counseling program motivates and restores the bonds between families, including helping them find acceptance and forgiveness. Our other treatment models continue to improve men’s ability to express themselves in healthier ways and ultimately gain the confidence to open up to their loved ones when they feel troubled. We understand that addiction can be a family disease. Therefore, by finding care to treat men more appropriately, we can help men change their narrative. Ultimately helping all men see that taking steps towards treatment and open communication is far better than avoiding how they feel. Find out more and call Choice House today to start your recovery journey at (720) 577-4422.