Is It Okay if My Loved One Doesn’t Want to Speak to Me While in Treatment?

Two men sitting on the hood of their car talking about life.

Is It Okay if My Loved One Doesn’t Want to Speak to Me While in Treatment?

Sometimes, when entering treatment for substance use disorder (SUD), individuals have to make tough personal decisions for the sake of their sobriety. These decisions can include the level of contact they wish to have with friends and family while in treatment. It may feel hurtful or confusing to learn that your loved one doesn’t wish to have contact with you during this time, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t love and care about you. Sometimes, an agreement of non-communication can be beneficial to someone in treatment for SUD.

Understanding What Works Best for Your Loved One in Treatment

Understanding what happens in SUD treatment can be difficult if you’ve never been through it yourself. Having a family member or friend in treatment can leave you worried and anxious about their well-being. Not having contact with them can make those feelings worse.

However, when put in this difficult position, it’s important to remember that their recovery is about them. There are multiple pathways to sustained recovery, none of which or wrong. Some of those pathways may include a decision not to contact the outside world. This could be for a variety of reasons, all of which are justified if it means securing a healthier future for your loved one.

Treatment can be a very personal journey for some people. Recovery often involves a lot of self-reflection and introspection. It may be easier for your loved one to go on this journey alone, without the distraction or interference of others.

They may be carrying some guilt or shame surrounding their relationships and SUD that they need to work through before opening up communication again. Sometimes, trauma connected to certain relationships, especially family members, can be triggering for someone going through SUD treatment. This doesn’t mean that you are to blame for their addiction or that you deserve to feel guilty. It simply means that they are doing what is best for them and their recovery.

Sacrificing Communication for Your Loved One’s Benefit

If your loved one has decided to cut off communication while in treatment, the decision was likely not taken lightly. It’s important to keep in mind that this is not a punishment. Your loved one is asking you to make a difficult sacrifice for their benefit. The greatest act of love that you can show them in this time is supporting their wishes and their path to sobriety.

If your loved one chooses not to communicate during their time in treatment, there is a silver lining. By complying with their wishes and respecting their journey, you are solidifying a foundation of love and support that they will look forward to returning to when they’re ready.

The Value of Respect and Support Throughout Treatment

Sometimes, seeing a loved one sink into SUD can leave us with conflicted feelings about them. Having feelings of anger or resentment towards someone who may have caused you pain is valid and normal.

However, it’s important to remember this: addiction is a disease, not a weakness of moral character. Having SUD does not make someone a bad person or a person unworthy of your respect and support. If you’ve read this far, chances are you care about this person and want to know how best to support them.

Your loved one is probably experiencing feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment. They may be worried that you no longer love and respect them because of their SUD. Something you can do to help their recovery is to show them that that isn’t the case.

You can show your respect and support for them by complying with any stipulations they have for their time in treatment. They may ask you to participate intensely; for example, joining them for family therapy. On the other hand, they may ask to have some space while in treatment and cut off communication for the time being. Whatever the case, they will feel the most loved and supported by your willing participation.

Moving Forward With Positive Family Dynamics

Maintaining positive family dynamics can be important in an individual’s road to recovery. If your family member is currently in treatment for SUD or considering treatment, you play a vital role in the process. You have the opportunity to show unconditional love, support, and encouragement to your loved one in their hour of need.