The connections you have with friends and family members play a crucial role in your recovery. Positive relationships grow your confidence and drive, helping you stay on the path to sobriety. These connections can also provide you with accountability and a sense of purpose in life. Addiction and the behaviors that go along with it can create roadblocks to connection with others, and existing relationships may suffer as the disease progresses. Often there comes the point in recovery when you need to address the damage done to a relationship and move forward.
It’s important to understand that fixing your relationships will take time. Completing a treatment program might be just the first step towards reconciliation with friends and family members. It’s not easy to take responsibility for the damage done to a relationship, but it is often necessary to move forward. If you feel like now is the time to repair your relationships, here are some helpful ideas to start the process.
Acknowledge Your Worth
Addiction can make us feel like we are unworthy of relationships, like we aren’t entitled to a sense of love and belonging. Before repairing your relationships with others, it is essential that you address the relationship you have with yourself first. Cultivating an attitude of self-acceptance and forgiving yourself for past mistakes can help you start fresh in your relationships with others.
Repairing relationships can only happen if past wrongs are acknowledged and brought into the open. Taking responsibility for your previous mistakes shows your maturity and integrity. You do not have to be the same person you were in active addiction. You are creating an entirely new persona and lifestyle during recovery. Forgive yourself for what you did when your disease was in control. Believe that you can change for the better. By being positive in the relationship you have with yourself, your relationships with others will benefit.
Eliminate Unhealthy Relationships
Consider which relationships are contributing to your motivation and success in recovery and which ones are not. Not all relationships have to be repaired, and many of the unhealthy connections we once shared with others will provide cautionary tales for the future. Weigh out which relationships are healthy and positive. Unhealthy relationships not only slow your recovery but can also be the cause of a future relapse. You have to think about which relationships will surround you with drugs and alcohol, potential abuse, or negative energy in general. These relationships do not deserve your time.
Be mindful of codependency in relationships too. A codependent relationship is when an individual feels so determined to take responsibility for their significant other’s happiness, they do so at the expense of their own emotional wellbeing. Although it may have been helpful before you chose recovery, you are now learning how to take responsibility for your past actions, and no longer need someone to look after you in this way.
Repairing Healthy Relationships: Have a Conversation
It is never too early or too late to try and make amends in your relationships. Once you feel comfortable enough with yourself and your past, and after you discover which relationships are worth your time, it is time to plan the hard, honest conversations you will have with those closest to you. Here are some topics to consider when speaking with your loved one:
- Address problem areas in your damaged relationship such as lost trust, lack of support, and dishonesty
- Reflect on past events, seek forgiveness, and discuss ways that you would act differently during similar situations in the future
- Be direct with what you are seeking from your relationship
- Be honest with your recovery progress and goals throughout your relationship
- Come up with an emergency plan with your loved one for when triggers or cravings arise
- Discuss future goals that you have for your relationship outside of your recovery
Every relationship will need a different level of attention. Instead of identifying damage alone, reach out to your loved one to have a conversation around some of the topics mentioned above. Together, you will be able to identify issues that need to be addressed, ways to monitor progress in your relationship, and how to grow together moving forward.
Other Tips For Repairing Damaged Relationships:
- Be patient with yourself and with your relationship. Relationships take time to build and trust isn’t earned overnight.
- Learn healthy communication techniques through online or in-person courses, books, or counseling sessions.
- Effective communication will help make your relationships longer lasting and of higher quality.
- Be realistic with the expectations you set for your relationships. Issues will not be resolved immediately, so
- celebrate small victories when they occur.
Each one of us will experience a damaged relationship throughout our lives. The recovery journey can be lonely, and it is crucial to make amends with your loved ones if possible. Having connections with others keeps us motivated and on track during our recovery journey. Remember to repair the relationship with yourself before you take on fixing relationships with others. Eliminate unhealthy relationships and plan to have honest conversations with the people that will support you on your recovery journey. At West Coast Recovery Centers, we encourage healing healthy relationships. Relationships help us understand our self-worth as well as our purpose within the world. Healing relationships with others can foster a healthy relationship that you have with yourself, and promotes your overall well-being. If you need professional assistance, we would love to help you. For more information about the mental health and substance use treatment services we offer, give us a call at (760) 492-6509.