Family is a major part of one’s life. The various relationships established with family members can influence an individual through each stage in their lives, working to establish norms, form opinions and viewpoints, and continue to impact an individual from childhood to adulthood.
However, families can take a number of different forms, and there is more than one way to form a family. For those in recovery, the ability to create a family that is supportive and understanding of one’s sober goals can ensure that their impact on their recovery is positive, keeping in line with one’s sober goals and deepening the relationships that mean the most when it comes to developing their new, sober identity.
Family Doesn’t Need to be Biological
Often, the first image that comes to mind when someone mentions the word “family” is the idea of one’s biological family — a biological mother and father and any brothers and sisters that make up the idea of a “traditional” family. Having these family members around and supportive of one’s sober decisions can be a great boon to one’s support system. However, a biological relationship to others is by no means a requirement to create a very real, and very effective, familial unit.
Adoptive parents and siblings, close friends, childhood caretakers, and more can all become part of an individual’s family in recovery. Regardless of whether a person was met as a childhood friend or as a recent peer in a recovery program, the only true stipulation that comes with defining a family is a degree of unconditional love, respect, and closeness — none of which exclude any person based on the length of relationship or biological relation.
Building a Recovery Family
There are a few elements to consider when starting to build up one’s family in recovery. First, and most importantly, take stock of all of the different avenues from which these valued members of one’s life may hail. It is possible to find valued members of one’s recovery family from places like:
- Biological family
- Recovery peers
- Childhood friends
- Sport and hobby clubs
- Alumni programs
These are just a few places where deep relationships can start, and it is up to the individual to decide where they want to look for these kinds of relationships.
It’s Okay to be Selective
Being selective is not only allowed when creating these families–it is encouraged. One of the hallmarks of a supportive family is the ability to be vulnerable around them and feel as if an individual is receiving unconditional love and respect. Being a part of a family is difficult, but feeling that, at the end of the day, they are a caring, understanding bunch can be all it takes to continue to deepen these relationships.
These families are a reflection of one’s sober goals and values after graduating from a recovery program and thus can hold a great deal of influence over one’s ability to maintain this sobriety and achieve their goals. As a result, it is encouraged to be selective about whom one can delve into this deep level of vulnerability and trust.
Filling Different Roles
Creating a family doesn’t mean that each individual has to be able to fill the same roles or provide the same kind of support throughout one’s recovery. Those who make up a familial unit don’t always have the same kinds of relationships with each other, and it is okay to embrace this degree of variability while creating one’s new, sober family.
While some family members may excel at being an understanding and calm voice during stressful times, others may be reliable people to build escape plans with, while someone else may excel at creating fun and sober outings that can help lift one’s mood and introduce an individual to new hobbies or communities. Inviting a person into one’s family means understanding the role that they play in one’s own sobriety and the benefits that this role creates.
Family is a crucial part of each stage in life. Whether an individual is reconnecting with their biological family or they are creating new relationships in their new, sober identity, creating a new family can fundamentally affect one’s values and support. However, family is something that is always created based on the individual, and creating a new family in sobriety can be a testament to one’s new identity, focus, and goals for their sober future and stand as both a reflection of one’s progress as well as their newfound identity.
Creating a family in one’s new sober identity is a profound experience. The choice to surround oneself with understanding, caring, and supportive people who embrace one’s sober goals as their own can be a great thing to have. Finding the right recovery communities can be the first step towards creating a sober family that is right for you, and we at Everlast Recovery are ready to help you explore our own sober community and sense of compassion and companionship therein. Our accepting atmosphere is bolstered with comfortable, home-like living space at our residential facility and populated with like-minded people prepared to tackle their hurdles together by constantly developing and sharing new therapeutic techniques and ideas. Building a new, sober family can be a difficult process, but having supportive people throughout any stage in your recovery can provide the first step towards finding your essential family members. For more information on how we can help you or speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (866) 338-6925.