What tips do you all have for managing expectations?



My spouse had a few really great sober days and while I was really hopeful initially, on day three I walked around feeling like I was waiting for the shoe to drop. When he started drinking again, it was hard to not feel deflated about it all. It’s emotionally exhausting work and I feel like I’m more frustrated and upset by his drinking now than I was before I saw what is possible when he’s not drinking.

What tips do you all have for managing these types of expectations while still being hopeful when there is progress or signs of progress being made?


This is a great post and applies to me too. I have been through multiple relapses and slips with my boyfriend and at some point, I feel like I just gave up and I just feel like I’m always waiting for him to use again. It is EXTREMELY exhausting and frustrating because I feel like I lose myself a little every time. I don’t have an answer for this really, I just wanted you to know you’re not alone and would love to hear what others have done to help as well.

I think one thing that’s important though is taking care of yourself so that when they do slip, we have the mental strength to handle it without breaking down.


That’s powerful. I’ve read your post several times now and it’s been very helpful, these are all things that I know but putting them into practice and changing my own thoughts and behaviors is a different challenge entirely. Thank you so much for sharing :heart:


Thank you @Selfcare31. It helps a lot to know that I’m not alone. I am working on taking care of myself as best I can too, I do think that makes a huge difference. I just want to have a healthy level of optimism about the good times and not complete despair about the bad times. My internal response to his behaviors feel like as much of a roller coaster as the addiction itself. Thankful for a place to talk about it all!


@momentsandlight you are exactly right. And that is a reminder I needed. I go through periods of time where I forget about his suffering because mine seems too big, but this perspective was eye-opening. I can’t thank you enough for your thoughtful responses.


Take it slowly, one step at a time. It can definitely all seem very overwhelming when you look at everything all at once. Start by just showing up for yourself every day, whatever that may look like to you.

And perhaps this can help you understand what your loved one is going through. Changes are hard to make. Even when you are aware of what needs to be done, it’s still difficult to act. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to change or get better. Empathy has been extremely important in supporting my husband through recovery. We’re all human, right? :pray:t4::sparkles:


I was at an NA meeting once and a guy told me when our loved ones relapse, no matter from how many days, it is like being on a diet. If I am doing really well, no matter how many times I think about that chocolate doughnut, I am doing the right thing. But I am going to slip up and have a cheat day or meal. But that doesnt mean tomorrow I cant start back on my diet. I dont know if thats helpful or gives you another way to think about it, because it definitely helped me. I was constantly taking my husbands relapses personally, I get angry and yell and scream, and lose myself. So I definitely understand where youre coming from


THIS. This is why self care is so important. This is why I believe addiction is a family disease - because not only do their behaviors hurt us, but because they start to affect our own behaviors as well.

My husband is a recovering addict and it took a lot of work on myself to learn that the best way to manage expectations is to let them go. I’ve heard in Al-Anon and the recovery community that “Expectations are premeditated resentments.” I had to stop letting my visions of what things were “supposed to look like” take control of my reactions. It wasn’t helping. I just ended up disappointed and resentful when things didn’t go like I thought they would. I learned that I have no control over anything or anyone except myself, so how could I assign certain outcomes to people or situations?

I learned to let go of my expectations of what recovery was supposed to look like. Every recovery is different. Recovery is not linear. There will be slips and relapses. Change is hard for anyone, and instead of seeing his slips as a failure, I tried to see the positive. He wanted to get clean. He was working at it but it was just difficult for him. I learned to replace expectations with trust - trust in myself and in a higher power that even if things don’t turn out the way I think or expect them to, it’s going to be ok. I have hope and faith. I am grateful for progress, not perfection.

I hope you find my story helpful. I know every story is different, and it’s extremely difficult when your loved one is in active addiction. I hope you’re able to find peace. :pray:t4::sparkles:


Same to keep my sanity I had to have zero expectations but had to have personal boundaries and decide for myself and my 3 year old what we will and will not tolerate. I’ve been on the merry-go round a few time…more so in the last 1.5 years after 17 months of my then partner then expartner then partner then expartner and now back to partner… if I dont have expectations I dont have resentment but by having boundaries I keep my pride and self worth


Yeah, not taking it personally can be tough and I think your point of not letting them pile on when it is just one incident is definitely a more hopeful way to look at it. I feel like there’s so much work to do around this yet and appreciate your response!


THIS! This is exactly what I’m trying to work on for my sanity. So important to remember.


I needed to read this tonight…I keep coming back to this and it’s helped me a ton.