Rebuilding Relationships in Recovery

Stopping drinking or using drugs isn’t going to fix everything

Getting rid of addiction is a great accomplishment, but it doesn’t mean everything will fall into place immediately. 

The damages caused by addiction 

It can take a long time to fix the damage that years of drug abuse have caused. Rebuilding connections can be one of the hardest things to do. 

People who have been hurt may take a while to trust and respect you again. There may be some relationships that can’t be fixed. Not everyone will be ready to forgive and move on. People often get help for their addiction because they don’t want to lose a friendship

In recovery, having realistic goals and repairing relationships are essential.

Most people feel happy and hopeful about the future when they leave rehab. They just put in a lot of work to get their lives back on track, and they look forward to seeing the results. 

When they return home, they might expect to be received like a hero who has won a war. The truth is that many people complain that the reaction they got could have been more enthusiastic than they had hoped. People at home may be happy for the person who has just stopped drinking, but they will also be a little wary. There may even be some people who don’t seem happy at all to see the addict return.

When you are new in recovery

People who are new to recovery may be disappointed to find out that it may take a lot of work to rebuild ties. They might even feel a lot of anger because of it. After all, they are now doing their best, but their family and friends don’t seem to respect this. People may use this negative thought as an excuse to return to their old destructive habits. Most of the time, they will try to blame their family for this.

People just starting their recovery journey must have realistic goals for their interactions. Years of pain and sorrow can’t be fixed in a day. 

The person who just got sober must work to win back any lost trust. The best way for them to do this is to stay clean and build a good life while clean and sober. They need to realise that they have hurt people and be ready to give them space and time to get better.

The factor of co-Dependency

Living with someone who drinks or uses drugs too much can be stressful. Some people deal with this by becoming dependent on other people. Their lives are now centred on the partner who drinks or uses drugs, and their own needs are put second. Even worse, they start to forget who they are. 

If their partner gets sober, it can cause a significant change in their lives. They have to get used to the new person and things, which can be challenging. Before a relationship gets better, it can take a long time. Counselling helps to deal with the new family dynamics. 

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How to make amends in recovery

People can do things to help rebuild their ties while they are in recovery, such as:

  • Apologising for any hurt, you may have caused and letting the other person say everything they want to say.
  • Actions are always more powerful than words. The person needs to work on their recovery to show that they have changed.
  • It’s important to know that others are not required to forgive you. They might only do so if they think the person has done something to deserve it.
  • As part of Step 9, people following the Twelve Steps are asked to make amends to people they have hurt. Trying to make things right can help heal the hurt, but you should never do it in hopes of getting something in return.
  • A critical part of overcoming an addiction is letting go of the past. If a person is angry about what other people have done in the past, it is not fair for them to expect a clean slate for their own mistakes.
  • Anyone who wants to rebuild ties needs to be patient. You will always be let down if you expect too much too soon.

Getting used to the idea that some relationships can’t be saved

There may be some relationships that can only be fixed partially. Other people can’t be forced to forgive and forget. All you can do is respect the other person’s feelings and accept what they decide. This is hard, but there’s nothing else to do. Any more efforts to get back together could hurt the relationship even more. All that can be done is to step back. 

Your addiction therapist can help you and your family reunite. Also, they help find and set healthy limits so the family can return to a healthy balance.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction issue, call Freephone 0800 140 4044

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