To the Family: Rebuilding Relationships after Addiction

Psalms 23:6 KJV
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Recovery from addiction and alcoholism provides many rewards and gifts that help you on the spiritual journey through the good and bad times you will encounter living life on life's terms. Nobody said the road would be easy so you we have to remember that God does not give you more than you can manage. Put your trust in God and God will take care of you.

Now that you are working a program and learning how to use positive ways to ask for help, a new foundation for the family must be built. Trust, unconditional love and respect for everybody in the family, including the pets, if you have any are the corner stones of this new foundation.

Addict and alcoholics have a difficult time letting go of the negative thinking and negative self image that many years of addiction have caused. As the new foundation for the family is being developed, there will be some significant changes in the way each family member relates to one another and how they perceive the family as a whole. Sometimes it will be rough and it might even feel that things are getting worse. Do not give up; just keep praying and working a program. I like to say that the darkest hour comes before the new light. The light of the spirit of God is all powerful.

The new foundation of trust might feel uncomfortable at first because there is no reference point to what to expect. Most of the past references about how a family lives and functions might come from years of poor family dynamic, so when you hear let go and let God, there might be some resistance. This is a time to go back to step one and do the first three steps on family relations. Admit that you are powerless over your family's decisions, believe that God will restore the family to a healthy safe place for everybody and turn your feelings of bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness, evil thoughts, jealousy and revenge over to God.

The new foundation will be different from one that the family got used to when the addiction ruled everybody. If the role of head of family has shifted from you to someone else, they might not be ready to give that responsibility back to you. Trust takes time. When the family prays and meditates together, acceptance of the new foundation will be revealed. Prayer changes things. The family might not be the way you want it be so be open and honest with yourself that things will be different-sometimes forever.

The new foundation will take time to build and it has to be a collective effort from the entire family. Here are some suggestions to consider.

Plan a family activity on a regular basis. Rotate who decides what the activity will be. If it is not in the reality of the financial or other constraints talk about it and try to find a realistic alternative.

Learn more about good family relationships and how to incorporate them into your family. Learn to be an active listener. If someone says they were not happy with something that happened in the past, do not discount it. They are telling you how they experienced it. Do not try to convince them that your interpretation of what happened is the way it really happened. Sometimes members might make a decision to leave the family. You've come too far from where you started so do not give up. Pray, remember God would have not brought you this far just to leave you so hang in there and remember every thing to God in prayer.

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Copyright by Jimmy Cathey,
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Jimmy is a freelance writer who has worked for
many years as a certified substance abuse counselor
and program administrator in Hawaii and California.
His blog Addiction Basics http://jcreadingwriter.wordpress.com/
is there to help those who want to find out more about addiction
and ways to develop a support system.
Email Jimmy Cathey

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