After about 16 months of sobriety, a good friend relapsed. I was worried when I had not heard from him. But then with some investigation, we discovered what we hoped we wouldn’t. Relapse. It happens as part of this disease.
Since his phone is broken, we can’t reach out that way. I just want him to know we care about him. So I texted a friend of his today and bingo. She is in touch. I do think he’ll find his way back to recovery. But I worry in this relapse period if he will do things that takes months to come back from. And of course, we always worry about his health and safety.
I have to have boundaries when someone is using. And those boundaries with each person that suffers substance use disorder are different. Finding that balance between being there for someone and blocking their recovery is such a fine line. It shifts and so the people who love them have to shift, too.
I know he has not reached out to us because he feels ashamed. What I’m trying to tell him is that we are not ashamed. That we care for him no matter what. I feel helpless. Randy feels helpless right now. For right now, I’m sending messages to the friend he is in contact with. There is so much I don’t know. Like where he is.
It’s easy to love people in recovery. Harder when they have relapsed and are using. This is when the rubber hits the road. We have to be there for him and love him even when he relapses. We can’t shame him back into recovery because he feels enough of that.
If you are wondering how you can help, how you can give back, why not support someone in recovery? There are enough people who could use an ally.