Family members of addicts usually learn how to adapt to the behaviour of their addicted loved one while they are ill. However, if that same loved one decides to get help and completes a programme of rehabilitation, things will begin to change. It can be strange for family members to learn how to live with this changed person. However, much as they hated the fact that their loved one was addicted, it was familiar to them and they knew how to handle it.
When this individual gets sober, family members may worry about not knowing how to deal with various situations. They may find it difficult to cope with the actions and behaviour of this ‘new’ sober person who has come home to live with them.
Addicts quickly learn how to lie and manipulate to get what they want, and their family members will find it hard to believe anything they say. With so many broken promises, family members tend to think that everything that comes out of their loved one’s mouth is a lie. It is hard, then, to suddenly start trusting a recovering addict once he or she comes home after rehab.
Rebuilding trust is something that will take time. It cannot be rebuilt overnight and no amount of promises and pleading on the part of the previously-addicted individual will automatically make you more trusting of what he or she has to say.
If you are a family member of an addict just in recovery, it will take a while before you realise that this person is actually keeping to his or her word and that you do not have to worry every time he or she heads out the front door. Nevertheless, actions do speak louder than words and you will get to the point where you can start to trust again.
A New Addiction
Those in recovery often become entirely focused on going to meetings and will spend a lot of time in the early days talking about and meeting up with members of a fellowship group. It is not uncommon for family members to feel resentful of this, and some even describe their loved one as having a new addiction.
The problem tends to be that family members often expect the affected person to return from rehabilitation and for everything to go back to the way it was before addiction struck. This never happens; even if your loved one is sober now, the addiction will have changed him or her, and the individual in question will really need to spend a lot of time focusing on recovery to avoid relapse.
Family members need to remember that their loved one was suffering from an illness and that it will take time for things to get back to ‘normal’. Fellowship meetings are a part of recovery and require a lot of focus, especially in the early days. This is therapy and one that could ultimately save your loved one’s life.
Spouses and partners of recovering addicts often complain that their loved one has no interest in sex when they return from rehab. This can be hurtful for the non-addicted partner, who may feel that their loved one is no longer interested in them or no longer finds them attractive. The truth is that very few recovering addicts are interested in lovemaking in the early days, and there are a number of reasons for this.
Some recovering addicts are dealing with hormonal, emotional and psychological issues that are affecting their libido. Others may still be dealing with the physical effects of withdrawal, which may be making it difficult for them to perform. The good news is that these issues are unlikely to be permanent, and as your loved one moves on through recovery, you should be able to rekindle your relationship and get things back on the right track.