The expectations of family can be difficult to meet at any time of life, but when you’re working to overcome your addiction meeting your family expectations can be more of a nightmare than you need. How do you balance your family members’ needs when your recovery has to be the most important thing in your life?

Businessman leaning against window, arms raisedThere are some things you can do to make your addiction recovery easier and remove some of the pressure that your loved ones are putting on you. It doesn’t have to make you miserable or unhappy taking these steps:

  • Find balance. The expectations of family can be overwhelming, and when you’re working on addiction recovery, they can be downright impossible. If you find that your family is placing an uncomfortable amount of pressure on you to meet “obligations,” it’s time to explain to them that you simply are not up for the challenge right now. Explain that you want to be an integral part of the family, but you simply cannot give all that they are asking.
  • Don’t be upset when your family gets mad. When family members set high expectations, it can make you feel like you’re not living up to them. Sometimes, you simply can’t meet all their needs. Remember that your loved ones are humans and they don’t always understand how hard they are being on you. If you respond by not getting upset and simply sticking to your resolutions, you will find that eventually your loved ones begin to back off on their demands.
  • If you can’t do something, speak up. The expectations of family aren’t limited to one occasion. In fact, they often spread to everyday activities. If you can’t meet your loved one’s needs, simply let them know that you can’t do what they ask. You don’t have to feel guilty, but you do have to be honest about what you can and cannot do.
  • Ask that your loved ones recognize you are working on you. Sometimes, when we begin to recover from addiction, our loved one’s don’t understand that we aren’t ready for all the pressure they want to put on us. So, in order to prevent feelings of anger and resentment, try to explain to your loved ones that you are still working on you and your recovery, and you simply are not able to do all they are asking you to do.

The expectations of family while you’re working on addiction recovery are often a serious challenge to balance. Don’t let yourself get caught in a situation where you resent the very people who are supposed to be your support system. Be gentle but explain where you’re coming from so your family members understand that you have to put yourself first – and then work on you and overcoming your addiction.