Your recovery from drug or alcohol addiction will involve lifestyle changes that go beyond ending your use of addictive substances. Your doctors will help you manage your physical withdrawal symptoms and behavioral therapy will focus on your daily routines and the changes you can make to avoid a relapse. In this process, you and your counselors will also want to address relationships with your family and friends that were likely affected by your addictions.
When drugs or alcohol assumed control over your life, you may have cast your relationships with loved ones aside, or you may have treated them poorly and abusively. Your friends and family may be harboring deep-seated anger over the bad decisions that led to your addictions or your attitudes toward them while you were under the spell of addictive substances. In some cases your family and friends may have enabled or joined you in abusing substances. If they have not started their own recovery programs, they may deny the existence of a problem and reject your attempt to get clean. They may have doubts and fears that your recovery won’t work and that any efforts they put into helping you will be wasted when you relapse into bad habits.
Bridges Can Be Rebuilt
You should be aware of these feelings as you go down your road to recovery. Your family and friends may be happy that you’re kicking your drug or alcohol habits, but you shouldn’t expect them to sign on to your recovery without any reservations. Rebuilding your relationships with this support network will require time, energy and patience from both you and your family and friends.
You will first need to establish a sense of trust between yourself and your past relationships. If your family and friends don’t see you taking active steps to avoid a relapse (for example, if you skip group recovery meetings or you sneak an occasional drink) they will have no foundation to believe that you are committed to your recovery. You’ll also need to show them that you are accepting responsibility for your past actions and your recovery, and that you are seeking their forgiveness for any harm you may have caused while you were addicted. Forgiveness does not come easy for many people, and you shouldn’t expect your friends and family to absolve you of your past transgressions without some reservations. If you do establish a sense of trust and demonstrate your commitment to your recovery, you’ll make it easier for your loved ones to grant you the forgiveness that you are seeking.
Repairing your past relationships will require both you and your family and friends to move beyond your past problems and to commit to a more productive future. Some relationships may be beyond repairing, in which case you will need to put them aside until you are better able to work on them. Your counselors and treatment programs will help you navigate the emotional minefield you’re likely to encounter when you seek to re-establish your past relationships.
If you are interested in talking to a counselor about repairing relationships with family and friends, please contact the staff at Hired Power at 800-910-9299.