Addiction hurts not only the person using, but also those close to the one using. In the name of love we have begged, threatened and pleaded for our love one to get help…and when they finally admit or agree to get help, we are nothing but thrilled, relieved and hopeful. This can also include mixed emotions of fear; excitement, anxiety, and expectations about our loved one’s addiction recovery.
“I once heard that expectations are resentments waiting to happen”
I didn’t know what this meant until I was hit in the face with my drug addicted boyfriend. With the help of his family and after we team-tagged-begged him to get help, he finally agreed to go.
It’s not unusual to have expectations about our loved one’s recovery when they go in for treatment
I honestly expected things to get right back to normal when he got home. I figured when he was cured, his addiction was gone. I expected him to work on our relationship while apologizing left and right for his past behavior. I imagined all of his spare time would be spent with me, and I expected him to tell me where he was going, who he was with and what his daily plans were. This is how I was going to help him with his recovery.
“I bet you can guess what happened… My expectations weren’t met”
We had many arguments during this time, and I was so frustrated that he wasn’t doing the things I expected that I became angry and really not fun to be around.
It wasn’t until I got involved with Al-Anon that I truly understood addiction, recovery and what I needed to do. In a nutshell I learned: Addiction is a disease, such as diabetes. I can’t control it or cure it. Recovery is ongoing and personal for each individual – it’s none of my business because I have my own life to live. And finally, I learned that we should have no expectations about our loved one’s addiction recovery.
When we have expectations about our loved one’s addiction recovery, we are expecting them to recover on our terms, with our guidelines, and demands, while doing it our way.
Recovery is extremely personal, so how could we possibly know what one’s journey should look like? In Al-Anon, we learn to let go of expectations about our loved one’s addiction recovery. We also learn tools on how to live with a recovering addict but more importantly, we learn about ourselves. Al-Anon teaches me how not to react, how to mind my own business and how to be responsible for my own feelings and actions. It has helped me with all my relationships, but especially the one with my sober husband – who is, yes you guess it – my former addicted boyfriend.