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How Do I Deal With an Unsupportive Loved One in Recovery?

During the early stages of recovery, it is normal to feel excited and motivated. You might be eager to share this excitement with those closest to you, including your friends and family. Ideally, your loved ones will be proud of you and willing to do whatever they can to support you along your journey. However, it is also possible that you may find yourself in a situation where you are having to deal with an unsupportive loved one in recovery. 

Realizing that someone you care about deeply is not going to respect and support your decision to get sober can be very disappointing. There are some things that you can do that may help change their response, for example by having an honest conversation with them about your decision to get sober. However, it is also important to prepare yourself for the fact that they may be unwilling to change. In that situation, setting proper boundaries with this person may be necessary. 

At Sage Recovery, we recognize that support plays an essential role in the recovery journey. If you are having trouble getting access to the support that you need, we can help. 

Signs of an Unsupportive Loved One in Recovery

There are a variety of reasons why someone may choose not to be supportive of your recovery journey. It is possible that they might still be in active addiction themselves and don’t like the fact that you will no longer be joining in with substance misuse with them. They may also feel increased pressure to change their way of life but not yet be ready to reach out for the help they need. Their way of responding to this discomfort could be through hurtful words or behaviors toward you. 

A person may show their lack of support towards your recovery in a lot of different ways. One of the most common ways is by knowingly doing things that could jeopardize your recovery. For example, this could be engaging in alcohol or drug use in front of you or even offering you drugs or alcohol. It could also be by encouraging you to turn back to substance use even though they know you are in recovery. 

An unsupportive loved one may also say certain things to try to get into your head or undermine your sobriety. They may try to convince you that you never really had a problem with drugs or alcohol and that you would be able to stop again if you wanted to. If that doesn’t work, they may try other things, such as trying to convince you that you aren’t as fun to be around since you are no longer taking part in drinking or drug use. They might also try to persuade you to believe that you will be missing out on certain things if you stay committed to your sobriety. 

These things can all be very hurtful but it is important to remember that they are not true. Remind yourself why you chose to get sober in the first place and of all the benefits that you have experienced along the way. 

Having a Conversation With an Unsupportive Loved One

Someone may have been unsupportive of your recovery simply because they don’t truly understand what recovery is or why it is important to you. Consider having a serious sit-down conversation with them about your journey and the reasons why you decided to get sober. You can then open up to them about why it is important to you to have their support as you go about this journey. 

Ideally, the person will understand and show at least respect, if not support, toward your recovery moving forward. If they are unwilling to change, however, it might be time to put some boundaries into place. Let your loved one know that if they continue to disrespect your recovery, you are not going to be able to keep spending time around them. 

Cutting Ties With an Unsupportive Loved One

If you have already had an honest conversation with your loved one about your need for support and they are still not showing you respect, a change might be necessary. You may need to consider distancing yourself from this person or even cutting them off completely until they are willing to change. This can seem harsh, but your recovery has to be your top priority. 

It can take a huge emotional toll to deal with an unsupportive loved one in recovery. Make sure to practice regular self-care during this time and surround yourself with people who show you unwavering support. Keep going to your 12-step support group meetings and consider sharing what you’re going through. This is an experience that others may have gone through in the past. 

At Sage Recovery, we can provide you with guidance as you navigate this experience in recovery. 

Support is a very important part of the recovery process. It is valuable for your mental health and can help prevent relapse. You can find support in a lot of different ways. For example, support may come through family members, friends, your therapist, your sponsor, and the members of your support group. If you are struggling to find the support you need as you navigate recovery, our team at Sage Recovery is here for you. Give us a call at (512) 306-1394 today and a member of our team will be happy to answer any questions you may have about our facility. We can make sure you have all the support you need.