The dirty word called Expectations


a. a strong belief that something will happen.
b. a belief that someone should achieve something.


We expect our recovering love ones to set their recovery clock to ours.

This shouldn’t be the case. One of the issues is when we look back on our own lives we expect and have been taught that things should move along in a normal fashion and you’re right. We expect our children to learn in school. Get out get a job, get their own place and have a family. But if our love ones that spent their teens/early 20's using then we should maybe look at it a little different.

There are many reasons why our love ones struggle and often don't meet out expectations:

a. They don’t know how to handle their day to day needs. Such as: Cleaning, Food shopping, getting up.
b. Still trying to figure out their emotions.

What other reasons have you seen that causes makes the struggles so real?

We all sit around here tonight knowing this, but we expect our love ones to just pick up and plow ahead. Even when we know it could be a problem.

Why do you think we do that?

Bottom line is they have to learn, so they can truly have a fulfilled life and not trying to do Dad's recovery program. They have to change the thinking they have used so long. It surely doesn’t happen overnight. I remember the first time I took my son grocery shopping. For me it is a easy task, but my son quickly overloaded.

I see this all the time:

My son Johnny is coming home next week, It’s going to be great. I spoke to his counselor and he’s ready. He learned not to do drugs anymore, so he’s going to be all better. True story, have heard it dozen of times. There won’t be any more lying, because he only did that so I won’t know he was on drugs. I’m already getting him a list of places he can work.

Let’s look at couple of these issues:

a. Johnny learned about drugs and staying away from them. Let’s be upfront here 28 days at a rehab isn't long enough for some people. How can someone that’s been doing drugs for years expect in 28 days to be all better. They have a once a week meeting, one-on-one with an counselor. That’s 4 – 1 hour sessions. That hardly is enough time to scratch the surface on any subject. The chemistry in their brains has just started to get back to normal. The estimated time it take is 18 months, not one month. Even though they no longer have a physical craving, they do have a psychological craving. This can takes months to get over.

b. There won’t be any more lying. Lying is learned. We figure it out when we’re just babies. But with someone that uses, it’s the way of life and death to them. Since it’s learned you can’t expect them to unlearn it quickly. It actual takes practice not to lie.

What other things do you think are unrealistic expectations we can do?

Bottom line is we expect too much out of them right after getting out of rehab. It’s not fair to them to push because pushing can translate into relapse.

What do you think are some of the things WE can do limit our expectations?

How do we help them without causing more stress than needed?

What do we need to do to help us?


Those that are in recovery also have expectations to their love ones and they shouldn’t. They also have their own expectations of themselves.

Parents can’t just flip a switch and have faith and trust in you. Some say they can but it's always in the back of their head. Especially early on.

Expectations that they have of us:

1. Don’t expect your family to understand how you’re feeling, try explaining it to them. They might not get it but it shows them you’re trying.

2. Don’t expect them to just forget what’s happened in the past and yes something things will be thrown in your face in any heated moment. Try talking to them and explaining how it makes you feel and if they don’t understand, them you’re the bigger person by not getting a attitude. Remember it takes time to mend a broken fence. It must be earned back.

3. Most love ones expect you to get better at their pace. Speak up and explain how you’re feeling what your plan is. Yes you should have a plan. It doesn't mean you'll follow it 100% it just gives you a path.

4. You expect them to continue helping you. You can’t continue to do this to yourself. It’s amazing when you do something on your own without ‘their’ help. This also helps to build your self-esteem and you feel proud of your accomplishments.

5. Our love ones might expect us to take a drug test. If they ask you to take a drug test, do it! It Builds trust.

6. They will expect you to follow all the rules. Honor their requests.

7. In most families there are very big trust issues. If they don’t believe what you say, don’t blow you top. Remember that they are us to you lying. Just tell them that it’s the truth and leave it there.

8. Don’t lash out at them. They’ve seen this when you where in your active addiction and it will remind them of it.

9. Expect them to say you’re acting high, when you’re not, then the best thing you can do is not over react. Ask them to buy a drug test and take it with a smile on your face and no drama. It Build trust.

10. Don’t lie. No matter how small. If you’ve done something then own up to it even if you’re going to catch heck. You will feel better for telling the truth than lying.

11. If you tell them you’re going somewhere and then decide to change your mind. Then pick up the cell phone and let them know. Builds trust.

12. Expect curfews and stick to them. If you’re going to be late then call them and let them know. Not at the time of the curfew but earlier.

Family members and those in recovery:

1. What are so on the things we can do for each other so that the expectations don't can strife?