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How Can We Manage Expectations for a Loved One’s Recovery Journey?

It is hard to go into addiction recovery with expectations. When a loved one is struggling, it is hard to navigate the challenge of honoring where they are and, at the same time, setting yourself up for success. Managing expectations is going to help you support that loved one better and increase the likelihood of lasting sobriety. 

Set the Scene

When a loved one struggles in recovery, they are in there with lots of others who also struggle. Many families go through the challenges of trying to love someone through difficult times. When thinking about setting realistic expectations, it helps to focus on the following:

  • Addiction is chronic: even though it may seem as if the loved one has willpower to stop, they really don’t. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by a compulsive drug-seeking behavior, in spite of consequences. Don’t think they can just quit when they want or the changes are long-lasting. Just know they are working as hard as they can to heal
  • Support is crucial: addiction is a disease that impacts the whole family. It can devastate everyone in the family and outside the family, as well. The person’s brain changes and they experience physical and physiological shifts. They are long-lasting and may impact behavior, mood, and thoughts
  • Relapse can happen at any time: even when rehab is complete, your loved one will face the risk of relapse. People do this because it is difficult to feel triggers and cravings, not because it is a choice. They are not failures at recovery, but they are in need of additional support and help through the difficulties they face. Recovery support services only do so much and then it is up to the person who is in recovery to find their way through

Recovery is for Life

If nothing else makes sense, just remember that recovery is a lifelong pursuit of hope and health. It will require effort to remain sober, but, over time, it becomes easier. There are many ways a family can be supportive. It means making sure prescription drugs are locked up in a safe location and choosing to abstain from alcohol or drugs. These things create a healthier environment in which a person can thrive. Making a full recovery does not mean the person is healed. It simply means they have done all that is possible for them to do and they are continuing to grow in recovery and seek opportunities for healing. The entire family gets to participate and support the loved one as they heal. 

The Guest House is based on a Therapeutic Communty model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Our community support provides structure while trained counselors offer life skills training and therapeutic techniques to help you move past addiction. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 855-483-7800.