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Expectations About a Loved One’s Addiction Recovery

expectations about a loved one's addiction recovery - conflict between man and woman - Fair Oaks Recovery CenterIt is natural that when our loved one gets sober for we to assume that everything will be all right and let our expectations about a loved one’s addiction recovery run away with us.

Since addiction is a family disease, it is almost guaranteed that the person who has stuck with the addict and tried to get them sober or clean is going to have some big expectations about a loved one’s addiction recovery. That is a gentle way of saying that the co-addict or co-dependent whether they be mother, father, spouse, sibling or friend has probably been looking closely at the addict’s behavior for a long time. Without actively getting into their own recovery, it is certain that they will try, just as they tried to manage their loved one when they were using, to manage their loved one’s recovery.

It is hard not to have and hold our loved ones to our expectations.

It may be almost as hard as learning to keep our hands off when the loved one is practicing their addiction. However, pinning those invisible and emotional expectations on the alcoholic/addict and their recovery is more often than not doomed to failure.

What is absolutely true is that you cannot use your expectations on the alcoholic influence his/her recovery; your expectations about a loved one’s addiction recovery will have nothing to do with you or your failing to provide the perfect recovery program, as it is not your program is therefore out of your or anyone’s control.

The disease is chronic and more than one alcoholic/addict relapses before they finally get into long term recovery.

Your expectations will be unfulfilled and the addict may be devastated. Better to realize right from the onset of recovery that it is a chronic battle. If you do not personally suffer from the disease, it may be hard for your to understand this. That is why it is so important that you work your own 12 step program.

Your expectations about a loved one’s addiction recovery can put a lot of pressure on you and the alcoholic/addict. It is so important that the family does not set up a self-fulfilling prophecy, i.e., “I’ve let everybody down, what’s the use?”

How can we successfully deal with our expectations?

  1. Understand that it takes many years for people in recovery to overcome the desire to drink/use. Their addiction may switch to something else like food, sex or work. While 60 days of sobriety is great, don’t think you are out of the woods. It will take your loved one at least a year for their head to begin to clear as all the chemicals leave their body.
  2. Don’t over focus on your loved one’s recovery. Get some interests of your own. Nobody likes to be over scrutinized and after what you have been through with the addiction, it is understandable that you are hyper-vigilant. Your own 12 step program can help you with this – get a program, get a life and let your addict have their own recovery.
  3. Don’t diminish the hard work that went into striving for a life of sobriety. But this is true for both of you. It can’t be stressed enough that if you don’t take care of your own recovery, chances are you will put way too much pressure on your alcoholic/addict.


For more information, or if you have any questions regarding Fair Oaks Recovery Centers of California, please do not hesitate to contact us at (888) 989-9690. Most insurance accepted – Call today!