Setbacks are Expected

Saying “setbacks are expected” sounds negative, but hear me out. When you’re the friend or loved one of someone who is trying to get sober, you have HIGH expectations for them…because you love them. But they are just trying to survive! Not in the sense of life or death for most people, but trying to survive without letting their emotions overtake them. This is something I have to remember when I’m trying to listen to someone struggling with addiction.

I was told once in a therapy session, “You see things differently because you are healthier mentally than the addict. They may not be chemically dependent on alcohol (yet), but consuming alcohol over longs periods of time or years can alter the brain. You have to remember that your logical thinking, though it may be a regular way of thinking for you, isn’t always how the addict thinks.”

This was a turning point towards healing in the beginning of my husband’s recovery. I wanted so bad for him to think how I did and understand things the way I did, but honestly, he was just trying to survive sobriety. He didn’t care about the other million things I was talking about. He had one thing on his mind: today I will be sober.

As a highly motivated (and sometimes selfish individual), I was irritated and impatient by the entire process of “sobriety.” I wanted the “Easy Button”, microwaved version of recovery for our family, like yesterday! But that’s not how it works. Today, having gone through a lot of the recovery with a loved one, I’m grateful that the process is ongoing. It reminds us everyday to make intentional choices, to be more attentive to one another, and not take anything in life for granted.

If you’re dealing with a loved one who is an addict, I hope you can remember that you are mentally healthier than they are. You have to widen your lense on the situation and try to be patient. Yes, I know it’s hard. But it’ll be harder in the long run if you try to take shortcuts and skip steps. Trust the process…


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