Is it Normal to Feel Resentment Toward a Loved One’s Recovery?

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Before your loved one agreed to get help for their addiction, you longed for the day when this would happen. You probably thought you would feel nothing but relief and happiness. But now that your loved one IS receiving treatment, you find yourself with different feelings. One of them may be resentment.

Resentment is quite common for the families of recovering addicts, so don’t feel ashamed for feeling this way. However, it’s important to work through this emotion so that it doesn’t affect your family’s complete healing. Let’s discuss why you may be feeling resentful and what you can do to manage it.

Why Feelings of Resentment are Normal

Even though your loved one is in recovery doesn’t mean everything goes back to normal. There are still feelings of hurt, anger, loneliness and exhaustion that you may have. You’ve spent the last months or years fighting for your loved one to get clean. The time and energy that has gone into this process has likely drained you emotionally and physically, plus soured your personal relationships.

Additionally, your loved one has let you down many times, so you’ve probably developed somewhat of a cynical attitude. Not everyone does, but this is not uncommon. And how can you be assured that after all of this, your loved one will stay clean?

Getting Through Recovery Resentment

While it’s understandable to feel resentment toward your loved one’s recovery, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t address it. Working through resentment and anger benefits both you and your loved one.

Here are a few of the ways that you can break free from recovery resentment.

  • Release anger in a healthy way. When you feel bitter or disappointed, take your frustration out on paper or go through a walk/run outdoors. Controlled breathing techniques are also helpful.

  • Seek self-help. Just because your loved one is doing okay doesn’t mean you are, too. Seek help for yourself from a support group like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. Connecting with others who understand you will make you feel human again.

  • Don’t get stuck on an apology. Forgiveness is a major part of recovery, but it takes time for it to happen. Rather than waiting for an apology, forgive the person for yourself. Holding in toxic feelings only hurts you.

  • Don’t try to “punish” your loved one. Though you may not consciously do it, some family members blame their loved one, bring up past hurts and place guilt on the addict. This stalls recovery and can distance your relationship.

Now that you know that resentment is a normal emotion, we hope that you find the strength to work through it with the above suggestions. Don’t forget to seek self-help from support groups or a counselor while your loved one is receiving treatment. Families of addicts need guidance, too!