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Getting Sober and the Family

“If not irritable, he may seem dull and boring, not gay and affectionate as the family would like him to be. Mother may complain of inattention. They are all disappointed, and often let him feel it. Beginning with such complaints, a barrier arises. He is straining every nerve to make up for lost time. He is striving to recover fortune and reputation and feels he is doing very well. Sometimes mother and children don’t think so .having been neglected and misused in the past, they want him to make a fuss over them. They expect him to give them the nice times they used to have before he drank so much, and show his contrition for what they suffered. But dad doesn’t give freely of himself. Resentment grows. He becomes still less communicative. Sometimes he explodes over a trifle. The family is mystified. They criticize, pointing out how he is falling down on his spiritual program.” Pg. 126 The Family Afterward, from the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Most of us have had experiences where our family thinks our sobriety should look a certain way. Sometimes they want to tell us what we need to do whether it is go to a 30 day rehab program to get help, spend more time with the family, go to a drug addiction detox, go to more meetings, or go to fewer meetings so we can be home more etc. This can become annoying at times but what we have to realize is they are very much going through what we are in the sense that for years our using life was the only one they knew. Even though it was awful at least it had become familiar and now that we are sober it’s all new to us and to them. Change can be scary not only to us but also to family. They know just about as much as we do as far as what things are going to look like after receiving alcohol addiction help is concerned. The only thing we can do is be an example, stay sober, and show up for our family.

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