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Trust is the glue of every friendship, relationship, and partnership. Trust allows us to be vulnerable with each other, giving us the freedom to express ourselves and be comforted, especially when we feel mentally or physically unsafe. 

Unfortunately, many of us have likely experienced situations of distrust as well; times when trust was gained, then transgressed and lost. For those that have a past involving substance use or addiction, this path of distrust may be all too familiar.

Trust is something that is earned over time, which makes it even more difficult to gain back once it has been lost by a friend or loved one. If you are looking to gain back the trust of your loved ones during your recovery, understand that you must be patient — both with yourself and your loved ones. 

Repairing Relationships in Recovery

Whether you are just beginning your journey in recovery, have been sober for a long while, or have never experienced addiction, repairing relationships is never easy. Facing broken relationships, especially once trust has been lost, can seem like an overwhelming defeat. 

Remember that it is normal to make mistakes. No human being is perfect. None of us have all the answers. We go through trials and errors to figure out the best way forward for ourselves. 

However, this doesn’t mean that we are immune to stress and anxiety. You might feel like no one trusts you, or feel like people are just waiting for you to make another mistake. You must face these stressful, intrusive thoughts head-on and believe that there is hope to change — because there always is. 

Why Is Trust Important in Relationships?

Think of someone that you trust. What makes them trustworthy? Is it because they keep your secrets? Do they respect your beliefs? Are they reliable and honest?

Trust is an essential aspect of relationships for several reasons. Regardless of the type of relationship, be it with coworkers, friends, or romantic partners, trust sets the foundation for a long-lasting connection. Trust is important because:

  • It creates psychological safety. This allows a person to be their authentic self around someone else. In the workplace, trust is important because team members do not fear speaking up for themselves. 
  • It improves communication. Trust and respect go hand in hand. Without trust, misunderstandings and miscommunications are more likely to occur. Trust encourages openness and honesty, which are essential for healthy communication. 
  • It increases self-confidence. Trust is necessary for people to express their creativity, ideas, and concerns. Environments that foster trust enhance feelings of validation and confidence for all. 
  • It reduces stress. Lacking trust for others is emotionally exhausting. It might feel like a person is always walking on needles to avoid conflict or confrontation. Having trust for others allows a person to relax, feel safe, and decrease feelings of stress. 

Steps That Must Be Taken to Regain Trust

When you choose recovery, you are recognizing that the consequences of your substance use outweigh the perceived benefits. In recovery, therapeutic treatment will teach you to trust your own judgment again, especially when it comes to making positive decisions. 

You must be able to trust yourself before you can ask others to consider trusting you again. Your main priority in recovery is to focus on yourself. You should work towards reaching a place where if someone says that they are not able to trust you, you can still believe that you can trust yourself. 

Trust is not something that is gained or restored overnight. Work on your intimate relationships first by engaging in conversations that discuss values, morals, or other beliefs. If at times you disagree with one another, understand that that is okay. Acknowledge that you are allowed, and encouraged, to agree to disagree.

Taking Meaningful Actions

Apologize for any past pain you may have caused to your loved one, but also give them time and space to process their emotions. They may have a different plan for how they would like to move forward, so do not force it if it does not flow. Be open and honest about your mistake and what factors led to it. Most importantly, avoid involving anyone else about why you might’ve made your mistake. 

When you are working on regaining trust, keep in mind the following:

  • Avoid having a victim mentality. You may be dealing with several intense life experiences, such as grief or loss of a job, but that should not impair your trust with yourself or with others. Take control of your life by holding yourself accountable for your actions without needing to identify something or someone else to blame.
  • Avoid seeking approval or validation. Although it is nice to be recognized for improvements in lifestyle and character, avoid seeking outside validation from others. When you are doing the right thing, the feeling of being an authentically good person should feel like validation in and of itself. 
  • Seek guidance and advice when necessary. If you aren’t sure what to do in a specific situation, ask a close loved one that you trust. Although we all make mistakes, it might help to get advice from others from time to time when you aren’t sure what the right move to make is.

Recovery from substance use, addiction, and other mental distress can surface unresolved tension from damaged and broken relationships. One topic that is often addressed in recovery is how to build trust back after it has been lost. Trust is something that is earned in relationships, so it makes it even harder to regain once it has been broken. Trust is crucial in relationships because it improves communication, increases confidence, reduces stress, and fosters psychological safety. West Coast Recovery Centers acknowledges the importance of trust in interpersonal relationships, especially when it comes to trusting oneself in recovery. We offer comprehensive treatment services and therapy options to help you learn skills necessary in rebuilding relationships with loved ones. If you or someone you know is in need of guidance and support in their recovery journey, give us a call today at (760) 492-6509. You deserve to experience trust again in your life. 

West Coast Recovery Centers ( 370135CP), Valid through July 31, 2025
Jackson House Visalia (540056AP), Valid through May 15, 2025
DHCS Licensing and Certification Division