My husband’s last slip from heroin use was small. He used, told me, and was back at recovery right away. We didn’t tell his family (parents and sibling) because it we didn’t think it necessary to involve them. They found out months later and were angry. They felt lied to and questioned my husband’s treatment plan. After a family meeting, they discussed their boundaries and concerns. We agreed that in the interest of building back trust through full transparency, my husband would let the whole family know whenever there was a slip.
Well, there was another slip. And while I insisted that we had to tell his family to stay true to our word, my husband was overwhelmed with anxiety. The fear of facing his family’s anger and disappointment again seemed more harmful to his recovery than telling his family would be helpful. They don’t see the progress or celebrate the honesty and communication. They just see the slip as a failure. After talking to his individual therapist and our couples therapist, we decided not to tell them. We don’t see it as hiding anything from them, but rather, putting his recovery first.
My husband’s family is not really on the same page as us when it comes to recovery. They refuse any kind of support network because they “don’t have time” or “don’t want to talk about it with strangers.” They also refuse any kind of therapy. I think they are of the mindset that they don’t have the problem, so why do they need help. I understand I can’t make them do anything - their recovery is their own. And they are extremely supportive in other ways - helping with childcare when my husband was in rehab, when we have therapy appointments, etc. But if they can’t provide the emotional support that my husband needs should he slip, then should they know about it? And how do we tell them that we changed our minds - that going forward, we’re not going to let them know every time there is a slip?