Negative family and friend support increases the risk of relapse and takes the form of social pressure to use and increased interpersonal conflict. What does this look like?
- Encouraging you to attend events with drug and alcohol use such as house parties.
- Belittling your attempts to learn new activities and make friends who don’t use.
- Discouraging you from returning to abstinence, if you do have a lapse.
- Continuing to offer you alcohol, cigarettes or drugs.
- Tracking your days of abstinence in a negative fashion. You’ll never make it to thirty days.
- Drinking or using in front of you, leaving drugs or cigarette packages out.
- Talking about how much fun you used to be.
Negative family support takes the form of creating and maintaining interpersonal conflict:
- Using anger, threats, and physical aggression during disagreements.
- Instead of resolving disagreements, using nagging, pouting or cold shoulder treatments.
- Repeatedly bringing up past conflicts including your past drug or alcohol use and past behaviors that were part of using such as lying.
Anger is the most common and powerful emotion that must be managed during family conflict. Negative support can be direct or very subtle. If you improve your listening skills and your ability to provide feedback to family members who provide negative support, you can subtly change some of their behaviors. When you cannot influence someone’s behavior, you can use boundary setting skills that are discussed later in this chapter.