Some Bridges are Burned Forever (and Some Aren’t)

shutterstock_294233030.jpg

The angry words are rolling around in your head and a sick feeling haunts your gut.

rebuilding bridgesAll you can do is remember the way it ended.  Horrible things were said, certain actions were embarrassing, and now a once close friend or relative is, for all intents and purposes, a stranger.

One of the most tragic results of an addiction to drugs or alcohol is the damage done to relationships.  The denial inherent in the psychology of addiction often leads an addict to lie, cheat, and steal to get high and this breaks down trust with those close to them.  When someone is repeatedly let down and betrayed by an addict’s behavior, it can be very difficult to lower those defenses later on when he or she comes out of recovery.  You can only be burned so many times before you just give up on someone and expect to be let down.

When bridges are burned with loved ones and colleagues due to lies and misbehavior, it can take years to repair them, while others can never be fully repaired at all. Trust is a fragile thing.  It takes a long time to build and seconds to destroy.  If you have just come out of rehab and are looking to make amends with loved ones that you’ve hurt along the way, keep in mind that some of these wounds will stay fresh for a while.  You can’t expect people to forgive you easily.  There is always the sword hanging over your head that you’re a recovering addict and there is always that possibility that you’ll revert back to your old ways and harm them again.

People guard their hearts fiercely when they’ve been broken and you can’t change this with apologies or a few months in recovery. For some relationships, you just have to accept that what once was there is gone forever and move on. For others, it requires a great deal of patience and integrity to prove to someone (with actions, not words) that you can be trusted again.

Counseling services are available in many treatment programs that facilitate open dialogue between recovering addicts and their families for just this reason.  Families must understand that you’re doing your best to recover while you, the addict, must understand that you have a lot of ground to cover to make up for past hurt.

Be honest and true, and in time love can heal these wounds.

Just be patient.

After addiction, there’s a lot of repair work to do but the folks at Hired Power can help you make a smooth transition to sober living.  Call us at 800-910-9299 for more information.