What To Do When Family And Friends Don’t Support Your Recovery

Recovery is changing your life for the better, and you’re finding deep fulfillment and joy in your relationship with Christ. Yet family and/or friends aren’t supportive and it’s putting a strain on the relationship. Is there a way to find a middle ground? How can we stay committed to our program of recovery and/or our faith while maintaining relationships with our loved ones?

How To Handle When Family And Friends Don’t Support Your Recovery

  • Listen – It’s hard to hear friends and family knocking the things that are meaningful to you, like your sobriety or your faith. However, defensiveness rarely wins converts. While we don’t need to willingly submit ourselves to attack, there is nothing wrong with listening compassionately to the concerns of others. You may find that although the individual is attacking your recovery, there are actually other issues beneath the surface of their arguments. Ask yourself, “Is there any truth in what this person is saying?”
  • What To Do When Others Don’t Support Your Recovery - Christian RehabHave a Heart to Heart – After listening respectfully rather than attacking back, it may help to simply be honest and express how the opposition has been hurtful. Many of us fear being vulnerable, so we keep our defenses up or we fight back. This tends to invite more attack. When, however, we can calmly explain that we were dying in our addiction, and now we’re being given a new chance at life, we often win over our enemies. We can also remind them that early recovery is a challenging time and that we’re still trying to figure out what it means to live sober. We can humbly ask for patience and understanding.
  • Invite – Sometimes people are suspicious of AA or Christianity because they don’t know much about either. Inviting a friend or close relative to join you in attending a meeting or going to church can help dispel some of the myths that might be contributing to the opposition.
  • Make Amends – The program directs us toward cleaning up the wreckage of the past by making amends to the people we have hurt in the practice of our addiction(s). Many times this process will go quite a long way in gaining supporters. When we apologize sincerely and seek to repair wherever possible, others often warm up to what we’re doing and how we’re trying to live our lives. Many times we simply need to try to fix what we’ve broken.
  • Keep at it – Let your actions speak louder than your words. If your friends and family are suspicious of your recovery or generally unsupportive, you make recovery look good by practicing it and going about your business. We can get into heated debates and arguments, but the real proof is in how we live our lives. Remember, regardless of what anyone else thinks, you have God’s support and the support of your recovery community. With consistent sobriety and recovery efforts, your loved ones will see the clear value of the program you work and the faith you practice. You won’t need to persuade them.
  • Live and Let Live – While it is nice to have the support of others, it isn’t actually necessary for your recovery. If others think sobriety is for the birds, they’re entitled to their opinion. It isn’t our job to change minds; it’s our job to work our program, be faithful and stay sober. As addicts, we can be hypersensitive and easily offended. And we often practiced our addictive behaviors as a way of medicating our resentments. We experience a lot of freedom when we are no longer dominated by the opinions of others.
  • Distance – Ideally, we strive to maintain relationships with our friends and family and we intentionally pursue reconciliation wherever necessary. But our first priority is to maintain sobriety. Assess the relationship: if the real basis of it was the addictive practices, it may not be worth holding onto. Addicts who want to remain addicts are usually not overly supportive of those who are pursuing recovery. Sometimes it is better to let them go, with the hopes that they would find their own “bottom” and consider recovery.

Importance Of Healthy Support

It is never easy to deal with unsupportive friends and/or family, especially when we are newly sober and trying to figure out recovery. But patience and consistent sobriety will win many cheerleaders in the end. Discuss any opposition and/or resentments with your sponsor and program friends to ensure you are getting the healthy, recovery-based support you need, even if it is not from your loved ones.

Find People Who Support You, But Don’t Discount Those Who Don’t Trust You Yet…They Have Their Valid Reasons

Learn More About The Reasons Why People Don’t Support Your Recovery