Getting sober can be a life\u2019s work\u2014it may seem like a monumental effort, sometimes overwhelming. Right when you think you\u2019ve got a foothold, something always goes wrong\u2014something outside of you, beyond your control, that sucks you in and demands that you face and deal with situations and people that push you to your absolute limit. And who can always be counted on to provide the most challenging stressors of all? Family. Our greatest supporters and our biggest thorns in our side, family issues can be a real threat to our recovery. Our spouses, parents and\/or children all know how to push our buttons with exquisite precision. How can we move past these irritating patterns of interaction and get to a really positive, mutually supportive way of relating? \tTake the long view. Difficult patterns and bad habits didn\u2019t pop up overnight and they won\u2019t disappear all that quickly either. Change can happen but the best, deepest, most lasting changes in relationships often take some time to establish. Practice patience, hope and faith. \tRecognize the pattern. This sounds obvious, but training yourself to stop knee-jerk reactions and recognizing that what\u2019s happening is the playing out of an old pattern can be really hard. Once you get good at recognizing the pattern as it\u2019s happening, you\u2019ll get better and better at recognizing it earlier\u2014before things get unpleasant or tense. \tRespond, don\u2019t react. Responding means you\u2019re taking in the content of what\u2019s being said and considering it before offering your thoughts on the matter. Reacting means you\u2019re allowing your emotions to dictate what comes out of your mouth. Listen to your family members\u2014even when you believe that you already know what they will say. Listen and then take your time to form a response. Don\u2019t just react to the tone in their voice or their facial expression. \tStay in the moment as much as possible. Leave the past in the past. If you\u2019re annoyed or angry about something because it is the 5,000th time it has happened (socks on the floor, dishes in the sink, out after curfew, etc.), this is going to be really tricky for you, because it feels like the past is totally relevant. But trust me on this one\u2014the big picture here (that long view I suggested earlier) is that you want overall better relationships, less conflict and more harmony. Bringing up the past isn\u2019t going to move you in that direction. \tDevelop healthy ways to blow off steam when you do get frustrated. Have an outlet\u2014working out, running, woodworking, cross stitch\u2014something that you can go do easily when you\u2019re feeling stressed and frustrated that will take your mind off how annoying your family can be. Some situations are worth a special mention. A few types of families demand extra effort: blended families in which there are stepchildren, families affected by a disability (mental or physical) and families in which a senior adult is living in the household all add an additional level of challenge and potential stress. In these cases, the amount of work\u2014both emotional and literal\u2014is greatly increased. In the case of stepchildren, you may well be dealing with issues that stem from situations that occur in the other parent\u2019s home. Resentments, disappointments and frustrations are all a normal part of living with disability or infirmity, but feeling like you\u2019re on someone else\u2019s firing line should not be part of the package. Learning to take the long view, respond instead of reacting and stay in the moment when you have an angry teenager screaming \u201cyou\u2019re not my father; I can do whatever I want!\u201d is obviously really difficult, but so worth it in the end. Managing family relationships might be the single most difficult part of living sober, but with support, faith, hope and patience, you can do it.