When a family member is dealing with addiction, there are a number of possible reactions. Some people prefer to ignore the issue, others may want to constantly monitor the patient, and many people fall in between those responses. It can be tempting to focus supportive energy (or resentment) towards the family member that is in addiction recovery and ignore your own needs.
Get informed: Learn not only about your family member’s addiction, but also about how addiction affects family relationships. It can be easy to think that the patient just needs to ‘get it together’ and not consider the role family dynamics play in addiction. Another possible pitfall that can trigger relapse or cause tension is being caught unaware by the needs for relationships to be altered once someone has embraced sobriety.
Get involved: If a family member seems to be ‘doing okay,’ after completing drug rehab, you may feel that it is okay for you to let them be. Your level of involvement will vary depending on your relationship with the person, but even if you are not directly involved you can find out if the patient’s basic needs (shelter, sober environment, transportation, childcare) are being met. Find a way to help yourself or ask someone else to step in.