Addiction and alcoholism affect everyone in the family. Your family member is starting the recovery process in treatment. Spending some time on your own well-being can help them- and you- continue recovering successfully. Here are six things you can do while they’re in treatment:
1. Make a list of lessons learned.
Consider your experience with your loved one’s drug or alcohol use — is there anything you wish you’d done different in response? Perhaps you acted from good intentions but somehow suspect you may have contributed to the problem. This is a good time to take stock of the past.
2. Identify your own worries and resentments.
Let’s get them out in the open where they can be discussed. By the way, a resentment is defined as anger resulting from your belief that you’ve been manipulated, taken advantage of, or treated unfairly. Dealing with resentments is central to recovery — for family members as well as the recovering person.
3. Seek help for your own needs and problems (we all have them.)
As the saying goes: you know what addiction has done to your loved one — but can you see what it’s done to you? Too often our own hopes, dreams, and aspirations have been shunted aside. What could restore a sense of hopefulness and optimism? Is there anything we’d like to change about ourselves?
4. Set reasonable expectations for the near future
Treatment is the beginning of recovery, not an end-point. We don’t want to rush things, or expect too much too soon. Make a list of reasonable expectations for yourself and your family. Discuss with others. Do they agree?
5. Practice managing your emotions.
We don’t want to be ruled by our negative feelings. That’s not good for us, or for those around us. We can all learn skills to improve our emotional control. Ask the counselors for suggestions Do some reading on the subject.
6. Consider the possibility of relapse.
It’s not the end of the world. People sometimes backslide. No need to give up. What about developing a plan, just in case?