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How to Handle Toxic Family Members in Recovery

Young woman with glasses in her hands upset over her drug addicted family

Handling Toxic Family Members in Recovery

The road to recovery begins in treatment and lasts a lifetime. There will always be ups and downs throughout the journey, even some road bumps. With the right coping mechanisms and preparation, many patients have found happiness and healthiness after battling substance use disorder, whether they’ve decided to remain on methadone treatment or slowly wean off the medication later one in treatment. While addiction is a chronic illness that can require regular maintenance to keep in remission, sometimes external factors can impact and test a person’s strength to stay the course.

Repairing and Rekindling Family Relationships

One major challenge for many people in substance use disorder treatment is making amends with loved ones. Actions during the height of one’s addiction can bring out behaviors and sides that would never come to light without being under the influence. Because of the nature of addiction, it can force its way to become the main priority in someone’s life, causing family and close loved ones to suffer and be pushed aside, often while trying to help.

Repairing these relationships can be tricky and often benefit from a therapist or addiction specialist who can act as a mediator and educator for those looking to improve bonds. However, not everyone will always be on board with the plan, and individual family members can prove themselves to be toxic along the way. Those people should be dealt with in a specific way that won’t harm a patient’s progress with their recovery goals, and warning signs of toxic behaviors or relationships should be identified and corrected or eliminated entirely.

Eliminating Toxic Relationships

Sometimes those in recovery benefit significantly from removing family or friends, either temporarily or permanently, from their lives to better focus on their recovery goals. It’s not always an easy process or decision to make, but it can make a drastic difference in someone’s ability to stay on course towards better mental and physical health.

Learn to say no. Those in recovery often find themselves in a people-pleasing role to make up for any previous behaviors or actions they regret during the height of their addiction. This can put them in a dangerous position among toxic friends or family, especially those who feel they want to exploit their pleasing nature as a way to seek revenge or retribution for any sore feelings or unresolved issues.

Communicate openly. It’s not easy to tell someone that they no longer play a positive role in a family dynamic. Still, sometimes, it’s a lifesaving measure that can help avoid vagueness and set necessary boundaries that can help everyone heal.

Develop new connections. Though it can be challenging to leave a toxic family member or loved one behind, when it’s absolutely unavoidable, that void can be filled with the harnessing of new relationships and connections that are healthy and positive.

Build self-worth and respect. People in recovery are strongly urged to work on their inner self-appreciation and rebuild confidence and self-worth that substance use disorder can take away. Everyone is worthy of love and being treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their medical history.

Be Patient With Yourself When You Are in Recovery 

When repairing and building relationships after addiction recovery, it’s essential that you treat yourself with compassion. Patience is integral to long-term success, and there is always help along the way. 

If you want to learn more about opioid addiction treatment and recovery, BAART Programs can help. Reach out to us online or call 844-341-4040.

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