Completing rehab is a great accomplishment, but it doesn’t mean that everything will be perfect right away. It takes time and effort to rebuild relationships that have been impacted by active addiction. Trust can be broken — people struggling with addiction often fail to follow through on commitments and dishonesty is common.
So, how can you rebuild trust in addiction recovery? Can you mend broken relationships? Anger and resentments has built up in our relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. It will take time to rebuild these relationships. Still, it is possible!
Here are some tactics to help rebuild and strengthen your relationships while in recovery.
- Communicate: The foundation for any relationship is communication: clear, open, and honest. I know this sounds difficult, given the past dynamics of the relationship during active addiction. It starts simply — by letting your loved ones know that you are in recovery, the steps you have taken to get there, and that you want to work on re-building the relationships.
- Ask for forgiveness: Be honest about your past mistakes. Openly discussing these mistakes and acknowledging that you have hurt your loved ones will, in turn, help ease some of the shame and guilt you are carrying. It will also help those around you to start healing. While it may take some time for your loved ones to forgive and forget, this gives them the opportunity.
- Be present and active in your relationships: When you were using, chances are you were not involved in the daily lives of your loved ones. You may have been in the same room but not present or engaged in the conversation. Take the time to participate in activities with your loved ones. Have family dinners, and engage in the conversation. Start with “What was your favorite part of the day?” This will show your loved ones that you want to have a connection with them and know what is going on in their lives as well.
- Be transparent: Share with your loved ones what you need, how you are feeling, and what is going on in your life. The more they know about you and your recovery process, the more confident they will be in your sobriety.
- Keep your promises: Be mindful of what you say you are going to do or the commitments you make going forward. Early in recovery, people tend to make large promises that are often difficult to keep. Keep them small and manageable, being honest with yourself and your loved ones about what you can and cannot do. Always keeping in mind “Does this support recovery?”
- Be patient: It takes time to rebuild trust and time for other to forgive past indiscretions.
Remember: Behavior + Time = Trust. Actions speak louder than words. As you are working your recovery program and engaging in positive behaviors, your loved ones will notice, and your relationships will start to heal and grow with you.
Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474