My daughter relapsed and now feels her network is distant. How do I encourage her to get involved again?

Question: My daughter relapsed a few weeks ago. She feels her fellowship network has been distant toward her since. Could this be true? How do I encourage her to get involved again if she feels uncomfortable?

Sadly, your daughter may be correct about her feelings. But I must commend her for speaking to you about the changes she has been sensing. Unfortunately, your daughter is not alone; I have heard similar stories from many different people about coming back after a relapse. A network that once felt more like a family has shifted and now feels uncomfortable. Thinking from the network’s perspective, that step back may not actually be personal but more for survival. What allows the fellowship to stay successful, on one end, is sobriety and the relationship built from that sobriety. But on the opposite end, if the newcomer is turned away, the fellowship will no longer survive. The literature has taught us how to become mindful of ourselves and aware of how others influence us. Relapses provoke an array of intimidating emotions, like shame, disappointment, and embarrassment. Only your daughter will be able to decipher the root of her feelings of disconnect.

Here’s what I would suggest: Ask if your daughter is comfortable addressing her feelings with the people she has been feeling distant from. If she is not open or receptive to that, encourage her to attend different meetings and try different fellowships. One of the best aspects of the Twelve Step fellowships is that they are located all over the world. Venturing out and meeting new people may be the simplest solution.

People in recovery are, as we like to say, “sick people trying to get better.” We face prejudice, stigmas, and behaviors that can be contradictory to the literature being preached. The miracle is, though, that your daughter has not lost hope! If one fellowship didn’t work for her, there are many different pathways she can experiment with until she finds her tribe. Keep encouraging her, Mom!

Yours truly,

Keriann Caccavaro
A Daughter’s Perspective

Disclaimer: The above advice is not meant to be construed as medical or legal advice. If you need professional medical, psychological, or legal advice, please contact a doctor, lawyer, or medical center.

Keriann Caccavaro is a recovery coach, drug court advocate, and woman in long term recovery helping to support people struggling with addiction and their families. You can learn more about her on LinkedIn or Facebook.

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  1. So insightful and practical advice! I love you Keriann!

  2. I have not heard of this problem before in the 12 step program. Most folks realize that relapsing is nearly always going to happen to most addicts/alcoholics in recovery. I would encourage your daughter to try a different meeting, & not give up. most are all about welcoming any struggling person to their group.

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