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Accepting Truths About Your Loved One in RECOvery

Having a loved one in recovery can be hard. You may reminisce about times when your life together was happier and easier before substance abuse took hold. If your loved one is in residential treatment, you may miss having them with you. There’s a whole lot of change to accept about having a loved one in recovery, but ultimately these changes and truths are positive for both you and your loved one. 


Your Loved One Is Healthier

The fact that your loved one is trying and making active changes to stay sober is a good thing. This means they are healthier and creating a foundation and routine for their sobriety. This may not be something you are used to, or you may feel threatened because they are changing and you’re not sure you want to. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable with change, and it’s okay to express what makes you uncomfortable. Know that your loved one is in a good spot in recovery if they are actively displaying and honoring these changes — you don’t need to wait for the other shoe to drop. Instead, ask how you can support them or what other changes need to happen for them to continue on their path through recovery. 


Your Loved One Is Working Through Trauma

You may notice that your loved one is using terms like a therapist would or being more vocal about what has triggered or bothered them in the past. You may also notice the opposite. Some people are quiet and disengaged as they work through past trauma or trauma from their addiction. Let them process their trauma, and be open to the fact that they may say things that surprise you or even hurt your feelings. This is likely not intentional, as your loved one does not want to hurt you. Your loved one is saying these things to show you that they are working through their pain and need to set proper boundaries, find validation, and find or give forgiveness. 

Validation for one’s trauma is a huge step to fully grieving and processing that trauma, as many people turn to substance abuse to mask emotional pain. Allow your loved one to work through their trauma without taking it personally. This is their healing to own. 

If you want to work through your own trauma or your perceived role in their trauma as well, suggest that you go to family therapy or couples therapy together. If they ask you to attend therapy with them, this may be the best way to support them in their recovery. Therapy can help with any trauma or fear for their safety during their addiction as well. Remember that these are positive changes if you’re brave enough to try!


Your Loved One Still Needs Support

Even if your loved one is doing fine in their recovery and appears happy and healthy, they may still need someone to check in on them. Having people they can turn to for help, advice, and support is vital to a person’s success in recovery. Your loved one may be out of treatment, but recovery dictates that your loved one is still in need of that support network. For your own mental health, you may still need some distance, and that’s okay. But make sure that you’re checking in with them enough to know your loved one is still on track with their recovery. 

If you suspect your loved one may be lapsing in their recovery, you can stage a brief mini-intervention and express your concerns for their safety. Identify the consequences of substance abuse and remind them how their recovery has created positive change. Remember to be honest, loving, and non-judgmental. 


Ways to Help Yourself Cope

You deserve credit for helping your loved one as well as proper boundaries to keep you safe. Below is a list of coping strategies that can benefit you:

  • Get therapy for yourself, even if you’re enrolled in family or couples therapy with your loved one. You deserve to work through your pain, too. 
  • Establish a new routine. If you live with your loved one in recovery, eat a meal together every day. Find a hobby or activity you both enjoy that can bring you together. If you don’t live with them, call or visit at the same time and on the same day each week. 
  • Set boundaries with your loved one. This is to prevent you from giving too much or enabling your loved one. Setting boundaries keeps you safe and protects your own life and happiness. There is a fine line between helping and enabling. 


If your loved one is in RECOvery and you’re not sure how to cope, that’s okay. It’s hard to accept change or find ways to be helpful when your whole life has been turned upside down by addiction. It’s also hard to accept that your loved one is working through trauma and needs support that you’re not sure how to give. At RECO Intensive, we want to help you and your loved one remain positive through RECOvery. Your loved one needs you, but it’s important to set boundaries and use effective communication in RECOvery. At RECO Intensive, we offer family therapy, individual therapy, and a host of other resources specified for your loved one’s trauma and RECOvery. Our professional staff and experienced alumni will guide you through boundary-setting, creating effective change, and establishing a routine that will optimize your loved one’s RECOvery. Call RECO Intensive today at (561) 464-6533. Let’s get back to a brighter future. 

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