Rebuilding Relationships in Recovery
Addiction would be so much easier if it only affected the user. Unfortunately, the damage caused by addiction impacts some of the most important relationships in a person’s life. By the time an addict decides it is time for help, most of their friends and family have already begun distancing themselves. Because of the distance created in these relationships, recovery may be more challenging. An addict needs as much support as they can get when they enter an addiction treatment program. Moreover, rebuilding relationships in recovery is one of the best things they can do. However, if you are ready to receive help, then call us at 614-502-6247. Our professionals can offer tips for rebuilding relationships in recovery, and answer any questions you may have.
Addiction Affects All Relationships
The effects of addiction go beyond the immediate family. Addiction is an unapologetic disease. It takes control of every aspect of your life and causes a lot of turmoil. Friends and family are often victims of deception, stealing, manipulation, neglect, and even physical injury.
A natural reaction to being deceived, manipulated, abused, and passed over is to stop trusting the person doing this. It is often extremely hard for a family member or friend to step away from the addicted person when they know it will make the person feel that much more alone. However, all our brains are wired for survival, and at some point, that has to mean getting away from people who hurt you. When learning how to rebuild relationships in recovery, it is helpful to understand that your friends and family did only what they had to do.
Tips for Rebuilding Relationships in Recovery
There are several types of relationships that need to be rebuilt during recovery. For instance, some of the most common ones are with parents, children, friends, co-workers, extended family, and romantic partners. Each person has a different family dynamic, a diverse set of circumstances, and a different number of people in their life.
Do you want more tips on healing relationships affected by addiction? Then call us today. We will provide you with all of the proper information you need to jump-start your healthy life.
There is no perfect checklist of relationships to mend. If you need help thinking of relationships to repair, complete the following activity.
Swimming Pool Test
Imagine you are at a swimming pool. There is a deep end, a shallow end, lounge chairs around the pool, and a fence around the pool area. You are the owner of this swimming pool and can decide who is allowed in the pool.
The deep end represents your most profound relationships. Before your addiction took over, who did you trust the most? Trust is often with a spouse or partner, a best friend, or a parent. These are people who have been willing to tread the water with you when you cannot get your feet to touch the bottom.
The shallow end symbolizes essential relationships that are not as deep. You let these people in the pool and hang out in the water, but they cannot get to the deep end.
Then you have those that you allow into the pool area, but not into the pool itself. These are more surface relationships. They can be co-workers, casual friends, or anyone you trust within certain limits.
Everyone else is at the gate. Whether you unlock the gate or not is up to you. It is your pool, and you decide.
Those who are in your deep end are the relationships you will want to work on first. These are the people who have been most hurt but are also most willing to help you succeed.
It is also important to remember that they may want to leave even after letting them in your pool. They may not feel safe around you. Please give them the respect you would want for yourself. One day they might be ready to talk and reconnect, but giving people space is another indispensable part of rebuilding relationships in addiction recovery. Your loved ones will have work through some of their experiences on their own.
Rebuilding Relationships in Recovery
Set Realistic Expectations
This is a valuable time to implement SMART Goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. An example of this would be to decide you want to rebuild a relationship with your parents via phone calls within 6 months. Remember, you cannot fix everything or every relationship at once. Rebuilding family relationships in recovery may take the longest but it is also the most valuable. It takes time to prove that you are working hard at regaining their trust and staying sober. Rebuilding relationships in early recovery is challenging in general but will be worth it with the support you enjoy later. Call us today and we can get you on the right path to recovery.
Know it will Take Time
“Good things come to those who wait.” How many times have you heard this phrase? It’s a cliche, but nonetheless true in many cases.
When it comes to rebuilding relationships in early recovery, it is natural to want it to happen quickly. For instance, when it proves harder than you expected, you will more than likely feel some resentment or frustration and want an effortless way to escape this negative feeling. This is especially true for rebuilding important relationships, and therefore it is important to have a sponsor, therapist, or anyone in your support system available. Your support system is not only around to cheer you on during the good times, but also to help you through the challenging times. Most importantly, keep trying. Things will change in time.
Learn Healthy Communication Techniques
As you begin rebuilding family relationships in recovery, it is worth considering family therapy. While family therapy is rare to see during recovery, it is, however, very powerful. The family therapist can help families understand their own dynamics and how they relate to the recovery process. Also, they can also assess the impact of substance abuse on those who do not use substances.
The family therapist will also help everyone communicate in a healthy way, and mediate any unhelpful or dangerous reactions between family members.
The way we communicate with our family and friends has a significant impact on the quality of our relationships. It is important to communicate thoughtfully and not impulsively. Since addicts tend to have difficulties with impulse control, it can take time to perfect communication in stressful situations.
For example, one of the most helpful communication techniques is summed up in the acronym DEARMAN.
D-Describe the situation based on facts only, no emotions in this part.
E-Express feelings letting the other person know how the situation made you feel.
A-Assert your wishes. Clearly say what you do or do not want.
R-Reinforce why the desired outcome is desirable.
M-Mindful. Be mindful by staying focused on the goal of the discussion.
A-Appear confident. Pay attention to your posture and tone.
N–Negotiate. Be willing to negotiate on an outcome. Everyone involved in this situation will have valid needs and feelings.
Remove Yourself from Unhealthy Relationships
Even at your loneliest, do not turn to your dealer or other users for support. Keeping people around who are detrimental to your recovery will only make it harder to stay clean.
If there are people who tend to trigger your need for drugs or alcohol or will enable your addiction, it is best to avoid spending time with them. This is not necessarily a permanent choice, but it should be a concrete choice until you feel confident enough in your recovery. Even then, proceed with caution. Need help with removing yourself from unhealthy situations? Then call us today. We are standing by, ready to guide you to a healthier lifestyle.
Be Honest and Direct About Your Intentions
Those you have hurt will be skittish about interacting with you for some time. However, if you are completely honest and direct, they may be willing to lower their guard. There is nothing more important than honesty for rebuilding relationships in addiction recovery.
Make a Point of Being the One to Start Contact
Your addiction has caused a lot of pain to a lot of people in your life. You can show your dedication to recovery by contacting them instead of waiting for them to approach you.
Keep Walking the Walk
If you want to continue rebuilding relationships in recovery it is important to stay clean. You have to show that it is okay to trust you again. But most importantly, you need to prove to yourself you can continue a sober life. Call us today if you need help staying sober. In addition, we can also help you rebuild your relationships after your recovery.
Know This will Take Time/Be Patient
The more damage you did during active addiction, the longer it can take to earn back trust. Some people might require you to show minimal progress, while others will require a lot before they think of trusting you again.
The amount of patience this process takes can seem unfair at times, but remember this is the consequence of past decisions you made. Allow them to process the change and keep faith in knowing they will trust you again with a little more time.
Ask for Forgiveness
The first step to forgiveness is to forgive yourself. It is important you stop punishing yourself for what has happened in the past. Think of how you would talk to a friend who is recovering and talk to yourself that way. Give yourself grace and compassion. Your addiction is an unfortunate part of your story, but it is not who you are.
Forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgiving yourself for the fallout and what happened during your addiction does not mean forgetting you are an addict or minimizing what that means.
Asking for others to forgive you is a good beginning. It shows them you are aware of the problem. Those who love you will be more likely to help you if you can ask forgiveness.
Need additional assistance? Call us today and we will make sure you are ready to start your new journey. We can also help anyone who is concerned about a loved one. Call us today, and we can work together on helping a life tomorrow.
Remember the disease is not who you are, it is simply a part of your story.
Know that you deserve love and will be loved.
Give yourself grace.
It is important to remember trust differs from forgiveness. You can love and forgive someone but not trust them. It is like getting into a small accident with your friend. You will forgive them for the accident, but be wary of their ability to drive for a while. By showing up and continuing to be honest, make good choices, and giving friends and family time to see for themselves, you can be trusted again.
- Identify the relationships you want to rebuild
- Step away from unhealthy relationships
- Focus on today
Call us today if you need help rebuilding your relationships while in recovery. Our experts are standing by, ready to take your call and help you start a happier and healthier journey.