Every person in addiction recovery has changed their socializing situations in order to avoid the dreaded relapse. We are told that certain people and certain situations can be triggers. What do we do when some of our triggers are also family members?
I have dealt with this situation first hand. I have a brother that I hung out with a lot while drinking and drugging. We are pretty close and have a great time together. I had to be honest with myself though. I knew that if I continued to hang out with him in the same situations in which I did before, I would be back to my shenanigans before I knew it.
So did I just cut all ties with my brother? No, that wasn’t necessary. After all, he is my brother first and my drinking partner second. What I had to do was change the situations in which I was around him. Instead of us hanging out on a Friday night having a few beers, I choose to hang out with him say on a Sunday afternoon. We watch TV and just shoot the shit.
Now is this just as exciting as going out and having some beers? Well, no…I won’t lie. But I do still have a good time none the less. It’s really shocking to me when I start to realize that I can have fun with people without being wrecked. It happens all the time now. I like it much better because I don’t wake up the next morning thinking of all the stupid things that I said the night before and feeling embarrassed.
Don’t get me wrong. When I go to a family gathering or something like that where normally I would consume alcohol I still get an itch to do so. It just helps that I have a lot of support from my family. I wonder if triggers ever go away or if you just learn to deal with them better as you go?
I remember talking about Easter and how I was kind of nervous to be going to a family function without having a few primer drinks “to being out my personality”. It’s amazing to me how in just a short period of time I feel so much more confident about my clean self. I don’t need any kind of substance to bring out my personality.
So although you most likely don’t want to cut your family out of your life in order to stay sober you do need to change your interactions with anyone in your family whom you consider to be a trigger for you. Relapse prevention is an ongoing fight in addiction recovery. Do what needs to be done to keep yourself moving forward.