family members and temptation

When Temptation Is Near, Think of Your Loved Ones

Published on October 10, 2020 by First Responder Wellness

Making it through a full year of recovery can be a testament to one’s willpower and dedication. Still, there will be times when addiction challenges even the most seasoned alumni. Stressful situations at work or at home can fuel anxiety and trigger the desire to self-medicate with alcohol and/or substances. 

First responders who have graduated from a treatment program will likely continue to have thoughts about relapsing, despite hours of counseling, weeks of reading sobriety literature, and months of abstaining from use. During these moments of temptation, keeping in mind the friends, families, and co-workers who have benefitted from your recovery can bolster a commitment to sober living.

The bonds between those in recovery and their loved ones serve as reminders for how one individual’s sobriety impacts a network of people. Staying alcohol and substance-free can help alleviate the stress resulting from their concerns about your addiction. Additionally, anyone who is struggling in their recovery may garner insight from sharing their struggles with loved ones.

 

Those Who Care Will Understand

A large part of the reason why some who struggle from addiction neglect to reach out to others is a fear of judgment by those they love most. As anyone dealing with addiction knows all too well, chemical dependency can influence a person’s decision-making process, allowing the user to act out of character. Sometimes, the thoughts and feelings resulting from this dependency can be so foreign to one’s identity that they become tinted with shame.

It is important to develop trust-based relationships, wherein all parties feel confident in their ability to share vulnerable parts of themselves. Addressing the aspects of mental health that tow the line of truth and fear indicates that a relationship is leading to personal growth. Almost everyone fears that sharing the parts of ourselves that even we find intimidating will scare people away from the relationship. However, if someone truly cares, then the relationship can grow — even when faced with conditions like alcohol and/or substance use disorder.

 

Those Closest to Us Can Hold Us Accountable

Some days, the strength to remain sober seemingly falls with grace like rain. Other days, it’s an uphill battle. Whether it’s a sponsor, a partner, a friend, or a co-worker, sharing your thoughts with a trusted confidante transforms them into a verbal pact. People tend to treat the promises they make to themselves with more leniency than the commitments made to others, making a dedication to remain sober even stronger when communicated to a social clique.

Sharing the urge to relapse with those who know us best allows them to make positive changes to empower our recovery. For example, if someone is aware of an increased risk for relapse, it may impact their decisions regarding the amount of time they spend with their struggling acquaintance. The necessity for communicating the low points in recovery is just as important as reveling in the high points. 

It may sound easy, but when faced with the prospect of sharing our weaknesses, finding the time and courage to open up tends to move to the back-burner — particularly when the stresses of a first responder job, living situation, or immediate family dynamics take precedence. Still, addictions have a way of sneaking up, especially once they start to feel under control. Having a conversation is worth it to anyone who is feeling the pull of relapse, for everyone is living their life in proximity to addiction.

 

Nobody Needs to Suffer Alone

Alcohol and/or substance use disorder is a condition that can feel larger than any one person at times. The weight of addiction does not diminish over time — rather, those in recovery have the opportunity to get stronger. This can only happen with the assistance of a community and through open communication about the desire to use. Even the most tenured program alumni may succumb to addictive tendencies if they neglect the need to discuss their struggles with a caring friend or group. 

Many who have gone through recovery have identified an inner strength that, when called upon, is capable of accomplishing impressive feats. First responders may know this as willpower and have undoubtedly called upon it in harrowing circumstances. But willpower alone cannot tackle the ever-present pull of addiction. That strength comes from a place of surrender — the realization that every human is subject to the limits of their own physical body. Sharing that truth with others may challenge one’s pride, but make room for essential growth and recovery.

 

Embracing the joy of sober living is easier when you have an effective support system. Drawing strength from those who care about us can empower recovery through times of immense temptation. Even when it may feel difficult to care about our own well-being, the responsibility to honor our commitments to friends and family injects new life into maintaining a sober lifestyle. At First Responders Wellness, we provide continuing care that envelops the community and culture desired by newly-sober first responders. In addition to alumni curriculum and fellowship, First Responders Wellness offers a variety of resources to pull from after treatment graduation. Relapse is far less likely when you learn to enjoy sobriety by reaping the benefits of a healthy life and a vibrant support system. If you or a loved one could benefit from addiction treatment, we are here to help. To learn more, call us today at (888) 743-0490.