When you struggle with an addiction, whether that addiction is drugs or alcohol, you likely damage a lot or relationships along the way. As many recovered addicts will tell you, sobriety is only the first step in the process of recovery. Staying sober and learning how to live life sober is a lifelong effort. They’ll also tell you that you’ll need to address the relationships you had while you were addicted. Which ones do you end because they were contributing to your destructive behavior, and which ones do you need to go back and mend, such as relationships with friends, family, loved ones and even co-workers. We offer some insights on how to repair your personal relationships once you get sober.
During addiction, you’re not the only one who suffers
Addiction destroys all aspects of our lives. Addiction affects those that we interact with on a day-to-day basis, including your parents, spouse, siblings, children, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces. Addiction affects your friendships, employers, co-workers, and may even affect people who you meet in passing. How so? We forget that we have responsibilities. We become so focused on feeding our addiction that we lie, steal, cheat, and perhaps become violent. We neglect others, and we neglect our responsibilities. We become burdens upon those around us, causing fear, resentment, anger, and distrust.
A time to repair
The very first thing you must do when you realize that you’re addicted is to get help and get sober. Once that happens, the work continues. You may feel like there is no way to repair all the damage you’ve done to your relationships; things have gotten too far along and no one will forgive you. However, there is help in repairing those relationships and as a matter of fact, it’s a critical part in rebuilding your life. You’ll need to make amends and right the wrongs of your past. It’s a part of taking responsibility for your actions and becoming the person who you want to be.
It takes time to repair relationships. It takes time to rebuild trust. Not everyone is going to understand and be open to your efforts at first, but this is a natural reaction until you regain your trust. Just remember that those you love don’t hate you, they just didn’t like your behavior when you were addicted.
The steps to take to heal and what to expect
In the beginning, there will be a significant lack of trust as you try to repair relationships. This is completely normal. The best way to start making the steps towards rebuilding your relationships is to build trust through actions. Take responsibility for what you did and acknowledge how it impacted those around you. Some people may be ready and willing to forgive immediately, while for some it may take time. The most important part of the entire process though is that you continue your forward growth in recovery without slipping back into old behavior. When you hit a rough spot, you may be tempted to simply abandon old relationships and start fresh where no one knows you and there is no history. While creating new, healthy relationships is a good idea, don’t do so simply to avoid your past. Be strong; you’ve got this!
If you’re deep into your step work and still struggling, you may want to seek additional advice from your sponsor, or even a professional addiction counselor. Many people have been hurt because of your addiction, and that includes yourself.
Here are a few simple steps to follow to help mend your relationships:
- Focus on yourself first – you need to get YOU right before you work on anything else.
- Don’t play the blame game – own up to the role you played in damaging relationships and move forward from there.
- Build a routine in your relationships – be consistent and dependable; likely you were not this while you were struggling with addiction.
- Keep your word – you need to rebuild trust. To do that, keep your word. Always.
- Don’t look back, the past is past – yes, you should acknowledge what happened and the role you played but after that, you shouldn’t relive the past and constantly replay every transgression you did. Acknowledge it, own it, learn from it, and move on.
Rebuilding relationships is difficult but it will strengthen your journey in recover.
If you’re struggling with rebuilding your relationships after getting sober, contact Scottsdale Recovery Center now to get the help you need. For over a decade, Scottsdale Recovery Center has offered an acclaimed recovery environment that merges upscale and luxury accommodations with affordability, clinical expertise and an unwavering commitment to patient care and aftercare, providing “The Gold Standard in Care” with the Joint Commission Accreditation.
Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 602-346-9142.