Addiction hurts not only the person using, but also those close to that person. Family members and friends may beg, threaten, and plead for their loved one to get help…and feel thrilled, relieved, excited, anxious, and hopeful when they finally do. Many family members will have expectations about what their loved one’s recovery will look and feel like.
Many people expect life to return to normal after their loved one comes home after treatment. They may assume that the person has been cured and that the addiction is gone. They may expect their loved one to be ready to mend and strengthen relationships and to right past wrongs. They may want to monitor their loved one constantly to help keep them on track.
As someone once said, expectations are resentments waiting to happen.
What many family members don’t understand is that addiction is a disease without a cure. Recovery and a healthy life are possible, but they take work, commitment, and major lifestyle changes. If your loved one in recovery is not meeting your expectations and you find yourself growing hurt and resentful, it’s time to learn more about addiction–and to get involved with others who understand what it’s like.
A family group like Al-Anon can help you learn how to navigate your loved one’s recovery. You’ll learn that recovery is ongoing and unique for each individual. You’ll learn to loosen your desire to control your loved one’s well-being and to focus on your own instead. You’ll learn to let go of expectations.
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.
In Al-Anon, you’ll learn tools to help you better understand your loved one and yourself. Al-Anon can teach you how to act instead of react, how to be responsible for your own feelings and actions, and how to let your loved one make their own decisions.