In recovery, we’re taught and encouraged to feel good about our accomplishments. We should, indeed, feel a sense of pride that we were able to overcome drug and alcohol abuse, and allow our triumphs to guide us each day. The reality of human interaction, however, is that some people don’t want to hear anything that’s going to inconvenience them or impact their worldview. This doesn’t make them bad people, it just means that they may not be ready to give up their comforts to accommodate our recovery needs. Whether it’s a family member who won’t stop bring alcohol into the house even though they know you’re vulnerable, or a friend that refuses to see that you’ve changed your behavior and attitude since completed treatment, the slow evolution of certain relationships are part of recovery.
Even if it makes those around us comfortable, our recovery must come first. The people who know us, love us and respect us will understand how important our sobriety is to us, and that it must be respected at all costs. While the world doesn’t stop because we’re in recovery and we can’t expect people to uproot their lives and routines, we have to recognize that we have our own routines to maintain and that we have the right to basic human understanding. We have accepted the fact that we can’t fall into the same toxic habits that initially led to our substance abuse and should ask the people around us to do the same.
At the end of the day, we’re ultimately responsible for our progress and continued recovery; this can be both frightening and empowering. Either way it means that we have take responsibility for letting our voices be heard. When we’re confronted with a situation that may jeopardize our recovery, we need to speak up in the interest of our long-term health. In the end, the truly positive people in our lives will understand that we need to time to grow and adjust. The truth can be awkward and uncomfortable. At times it can be downright painful. However, we will never move past the potential toxicity that drove us to substance abuse if we don’t learn to speak up for ourselves.
Telling our truth does not equate to blowing up our friends’ worldview; it’s just a way for us to ensure that we never lose touch with our internal voice.