Explaining your 12 step program to your family
After you admit that you are an alcoholic or have a serious problem with alcohol, you might find yourself explaining yourself to your friends and family. This can be difficult to do depending on your family history or what happened while you were drinking heavily. According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, a community based 12 step program is a legitimate way to recovery from alcoholism. There are ways to make explaining your 12 step program a little easier.
Make sure Your Family Knows Why You Joined a 12 Step Program
Some common reasons for joining are:
- the community support that you get,
- sober activities that they provide,
- a mentor to help you through the rough times, and
- knowing that you are not alone.
These are all reasons you can use to make your family understand why you joined a 12 step program.
Try Sitting and Talking with Your Family
Never underestimate the power of sitting down and simply talking. Some family members might not understand at first. They might not realize that you need help that they cannot provide. When speaking with them it is important to remember, they might not see the problem as you do. Many recovering alcoholics spent so long hiding it from their friends and their families, that they become proficient at it. When they finally reveal the truth they are met with either disbelief or the knowledge their loved ones behavior now makes more sense.
Make sure that blame and accusation is left out of the conversation. If it gets heated feel free to walk away. Some family members might not approve of what you are doing but it is important to remember that you do not need their approval to get sober.
Explain the Program as You Understand it and Apply it to Yourself
Everyone takes what they need from 12 step programs. Try to show your family what you gain from going to the meetings. Make sure they understand that they do not have to attend with you or believe the same things that you do but that the meetings help you stay away from something in your life that is dangerous to you.
Show them How the Program has Benefited You
If you have been sober for a while, it might be a good idea to point out the positive changes the 12 step program has made in you. This can be something as simple as less arguments with family members or something big like keeping a job for a while without alcohol being a problem.
Those family members that still do not understand will eventually or they will live in denial. Unfortunately, you will not always be able to convince everyone that what you are doing is right for you, particularly if they still drink. It is important to allow each person their own opinions.
If you would like more information on explaining your treatment to your family or if you need to find a 12 step program that is right for you give us a call at 1-800-895-1695.