When Loved Ones Resent Your Recovery

It is not uncommon for those who start a new life in recovery to encounter resentment from their spouses, loved ones and/or friends. If this is the case, you will be put to the test by those who care for you most. This can be confusing because those who should be encouraging you in recovery are actually making it more difficult.

Your spouse may become resentful because you are spending more time at recovery meetings and less time with them. Stand strong and lovingly explain to your spouse that you need to take time for yourself in order to get your life back on track. Suggest that they come with you to open meetings where the loved ones are welcome so they can better understand your recovery process.

They may become jealous because you are giving more attention to new acquaintances you have met in recovery. They may not like, or even disapprove of your new friends. Let them know how important it is for you to work with other people in recovery in order to maintain your own sobriety. Be careful not to neglect the emotional needs of your spouse. Give them the attention they deserve. Invite them out to a romantic dinner. Try some fresh interests together.

Suggest they become involved in Al-anon, Nar-anon, SLA-anon or other similar organizations that are specifically for the friends and family of those in recovery. Christians in Recovery® has a membership level specifically for married couples. Invite your spouse to join and get involved. Or give them a membership.

Your old drinking or drugging buddies may feel rejected and hurt because you no longer hang out with them. Make it clear to them that they are still your friends but you have chosen to start a new life in recovery. Be firm!

Friends may crack jokes or say things that are hurtful regarding your new choices and behavior. Do not let this get to you. If loved ones make snide remarks, just smile. In a few months they will see the new you emerge and the comments will stop.

Be patient, tolerant and loving toward those who express hurt, resentment or anger because of your new life in recovery. Ask God to guide you as you handle each situation. Remember, you are leaving an old life of destruction and entering a new one of freedom, hope and joy.