People can often hold out hope for a loved one to change when it seems obvious nothing has worked (yet). Getting stuck in that tumultuous dance of ‘will they, won’t they’ when it comes to addiction often keeps people stuck in unhealthy relationship patterns that may last for years without change. Relationships with family members change a lot with addiction. It is hard to reconcile who the person was with who they are now (and who the hope is for them to become). It is okay for families to consider letting go of all the old hopes and dreams for the future to embrace the present circumstances and seek a new way forward.
Difficult Relationship Cycle
Most relationships are difficult to reconcile when addiction enters the picture because one half of the relationship is thinking with drugs or alcohol at the helm. Anyone who struggles with a loved one’s addiction realizes they are fighting a losing battle against the addiction itself. The battle has to be won within the heart and mind of the person at the epicenter of the addiction. Anyone who lacks tools to repair the rupture to the relationship is in trouble (but all hope is not lost). Here are some things to watch for in difficult relationships:
- Withdrawing or avoiding from conflict and discussion
- Refusing to take responsibility or blaming others
- Believes others are responsible for their behaviors or actions
- Always trying to have the upper hand, control, or the final say in the relationship regardless of how the other person (or people) feel
A relationship cannot survive unless all parties involved are ready and willing to reconcile. If the other partner feels relieved to be back in a favorable connection, they can have their needs met. It takes planning and discussion to figure out how to make negotiations stick. With people who have an addiction, it typically means attending rehab or addressing addiction in a way that supports forward movement and healing for all people involved.
Engage the Conflict
People with an addiction will fall into problematic behaviors because they lack wisdom, discernment, and the ability to make good choices as they move forward. They cannot think while they are addicted. It is important to consider some of these things to engage the conflict in a healthy way to achieve a positive end goal of feeling heard by the loved one with addiction:
- Speak up and don’t back down
- Allow disruption from conflict but don’t forget to re-engage and keep lines of communication open
- Be willing to listen to the other person and ask to feel heard in return
- Look for professional intervention specialists or therapists who can help address the broken trust issues and struggles you face to support a healthier resolution
It is not a bad thing to hope for a loved one to change. In fact, hope is what keeps you moving forward. Hope is what keeps you coming back to center and fighting for that loved one’s healing. When you keep connected, you are telling them they matter to you and you are making them a priority. This is important to the journey of healing for the entire family once the person releases denial and agrees to seek help for addiction.
A Step in the Right Direction understands there are challenges in families who want the best for their loved ones. Often, the best are seeking treatment or counseling to support their loved one’s recovery. If you are struggling or know a loved one needs help, we are here for you. For more information on sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702.