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When we have loved ones in recovery, particularly if they have only recently achieved sobriety, we have many questions pertaining to how we should function around them. We wonder if we should modify our lifestyles and behaviors in order to support them. We think it might be insensitive to drink around them, for example, if they are a recovering alcoholic and the presence of alcohol is triggering for them. We aren’t sure if we should stop drinking if we’re in a close relationship with them. We don’t know if we should give up alcohol altogether if we live with them. While there are no easy answers to these questions, there are a few things to take into consideration.

Firstly, we want to communicate with our loved ones about the issue. We sometimes tend to think that we should avoid the topic altogether lest it brings up unwanted emotions or prompts them to relapse. The truth is, this is a subject we can’t afford to avoid. The more we skirt around the issue and try to avoid it, the less we’re actually doing what’s best for our loved ones in our efforts to support them. If we’re feeling uncomfortable or scared to broach the subject, we can try bringing it up in a support group meeting or with a therapist. Sponsors, recovery coaches, therapists, and fellow recovering addicts can all provide helpful insight on the issue and give us valuable guidance and wisdom. 

When we do start talking about it, we’re able to get more understanding of where our loved ones stand on the issue and where they are in their recovery. Perhaps they feel they’re too newly sober to be around alcohol at all. On the other hand, they might feel secure enough in their recovery that being around alcohol doesn’t threaten their sobriety. We can make adjustments to our lifestyles and routines once we know with more clarity about how our loved ones are feeling about their sobriety and how they feel they will be impacted by being around their drug of choice.

There is no one set of guidelines to follow when it comes to figuring out how to adjust our lifestyles when our loved ones are in recovery. What works for one relationship or family won’t always work for another. The key is to be as open and honest with one another as possible, to keep the lines of communication open, and to enlist the support of helpful peers and professionals as we navigate these very complex issues.

If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, you are not alone. Reach out for support. The community of Riverside Recovery has personal experience with addiction and recovery, and we’re here to help you reclaim the life you love. Call (800) 871-5440 today.