In dysfunctional relationships, people live in reaction mode, responding to each other’s attitudes, behavior, and actions instead of being guided by their own perspectives. When applied to substance abuse in the family, this tendency is called codependency: when individuals “share the responsibility for the unhealthy behavior, primarily by focusing their lives on the sick or bad behavior and by making their own self-esteem and well-being contingent on the behavior of the unhealthy family member.” Dupont and McGovern (1991).
Congratulations! Your loved one has successfully completed a recovery program and is heading home. This excitement is often mixed with anxiety and worry as it can be hard to know the “right” thing to do or say. You are not alone. Many people worry that they will not be able to build a strong and open relationship after their loved ones get out of recovery. Here are some tips on how to best communicate and forge ahead with a healthy relationship with your loved one: