5 Tips for Dealing with Unsupportive Family Members


In a perfect world, a recovering addict would have a loving, supportive family to fall back on after completing treatment. Unfortunately, not everyone has this arrangement. Some people do lack a nurturing, loving family, but it’s more common for relationships to be damaged. Spouses may have been hurt, siblings may have been lied to and parents may have been stolen from.

Most addiction treatment programs are 30 to 60 days long. Typically, this isn’t enough time for loved ones to deal with the trauma from the addiction. Just as addicts need time to heal, so do family members. If you are currently dealing with a situation similar to this, there are ways to cope.

Always put your recovery first. Here are five ways to deal with unsupportive family and refocus your energy toward your recovery.

  1. Be Understanding

Now that you’ve had some time to understand yourself, try to understand where your loved ones are coming from. They are hurt and may not be ready to trust you. The best thing you can do is stick to your recovery goals and show loved ones that you are fully committed. Over time, they may learn to forgive you and move on with the relationship. It’s possible they may not. Try to be empathetic.

  1. Avoid Fighting

Arguing isn’t going to solve anything. In fact, it can put you in a dark place and increase your risk for relapse. Anyway, no one ever feels good after fighting. It only leads to shame, embarrassment and guilt, especially if you say something you regret. If you have confrontational people in your family, step away when things get heated. Keep cool – you’ll be glad you did.

  1. Keep Your Distance

Sometimes, the best thing to do is distance yourself. Your recovery must come first. If someone is not being supportive, give them space. How do you know when this is the best approach to take? When a person is making you feel frustrated, unhappy or worse about the situation.

  1. Make Peace

Addiction causes a lot of hurt. Part of the 12 steps is making amends with yourself and others. Apologize for the harm you’ve caused (when you’ve reached this point in your recovery) but understand that the person may not be ready to accept your apology. By making peace within yourself, you can continue progressing through your recovery.

  1. Form Positive Relationships

Surround yourself with positive people. You can find fast friends in group therapy or by volunteering your time. If you have loved ones who have supported your recovery, make an effort to spend more time with them. Even if you don’t seem to have a lot in common, there is always something special to share with others. The more relationships you establish, the more purpose you will find in life.

Are you ready to start your recovery? Call The River Source to learn more about our highly successful and affordable treatment programs.