If addiction only affected the addict, the recovery process would be much simpler. This is not the case. Many of us have found important relationships put in jeopardy because of the disease. This sets up catch-22: we need support to overcome our addiction, yet we have often alienated those who would be the most supportive of us. So, when embarking on the road to recovery, we need to begin rebuilding those relationships. Taking just a few simple steps will be surprisingly productive, so give it a try!
- Work Your Way Out: You can’t repair all of your life’s relationships at once, and trying to do so would be very overwhelming. Instead, start with those relationships that are essential for your happiness, and work your way out. Focus on your spouse, children, and other close family members first, then work out from there.
- Own Up: You won’t be able to repair yourself or your relationships with others if you continue to deny the role you have played in this destructive disease. Stop denial in its tracks, own up to your mistakes, and humbly take responsibility for them.
- Ask for Forgiveness: The simple act of apologizing for specific wrongs and asking others for forgiveness is a good beginning. Those who love you will want to help you, and will be more likely to do so if you first show humility, remorse and honesty.
- Don’t Demand Trust: You probably haven’t been super reliable lately, so don’t expect others to wholeheartedly trust you in the beginning. You have to earn their trust; this takes time and experience. In the meantime, seek to be accepting of the support they are able to give.
- Stay Clean and Sober: If you want to rebuild strong relationships, you have to nourish the hope and trust you’re trying to establish. While building trust takes time, it can be broken down in an instant. A commitment to abstinence and recovery work helps build confidence within yourself as well as your loved ones.
- Be Patient: Your relationships might not come around as quickly as you would like them to, but getting upset about it will only make things worse. Remember that recovery in general is a process that takes time, and this includes rebuilding relationships. Keep trying, and be patient. Things will come around.