Rebuilding trust after addiction
By Tina Muller, Mountainside Family Wellness Manager
Just because you’re out of rehab…
Completing rehab is a great and wonderful accomplishment, but it doesn’t mean that everything will be perfect right away. It will take time and effort to rebuild relationships that have been affected during active addiction. Trust can be broken as an addict often fails to follow through on promises or commitments, and is dishonest, often lying to protect their addiction.
So, how can you rebuild trust in addiction recovery? Can you mend broken relationships? Anger and resentments build in our relationships with family, friends, and co-workers, and it will take time to re-build these relationships. Still, it is possible!
In this article, we will share useful tactics to help rebuild and strengthen your relationships while in addiction recovery. Then, we welcome your questions at the end of the page.
7 steps for improving relationships in recovery
Re-building and developing new connections is a vital part of recovery. Below are a few steps that will help to strengthen and develop new connections with your loved ones.
The foundation for any relationship is communication: clear, open and honest. I know this sounds difficult, given the past dynamics of the relationship during active addiction. It starts simply, by letting your loved ones know that you are in recovery, the steps you have taken to get there, and that you want to work on re-building the relationships.
Be honest about your past mistakes. Openly discussing these mistakes and acknowledging that you have hurt your loved ones will, in turn, help ease some of the shame and guilt you are carrying. It will also help those around you to start healing. While it may take some time for your loved ones to forgive and forget, this gives them the opportunity.
3. Be present and active in your relationships
When you were using, chances are you were not involved in the daily lives of your loved ones, or you may have been in the same room but not present or engaged in the conversation. Take the time to participate in activities with your loved ones, have family dinners, and engage in the conversation. Start with “What was your favorite part of the day?” This will show your loved ones that you want to have a connection with them and know what is going on in their lives as well.
4. Be transparent
Share with your loved ones what you need, how you are feeling, and what is going on in your life. The more they know about you and your recovery process, the more confident they will be in your sobriety.
5. Keep your promises
Be mindful of what you say you are going to do or the commitments you make going forward. Early in recovery, people tend to make large promises that are often difficult to keep. Keep them small and manageable, being honest with yourself and your loved ones about what you can and cannot do. Always keeping in mind “Does this support recovery?”
6. Be patient
It takes time to rebuild trust and time for other to forgive past indiscretions.
7. Behavior/Time = Trust
Actions speak louder than words. As you are working your recovery program and engaging in positive behaviors, your loved ones will notice, and your relationships will start to heal and grow with you.
Got any questions?
We hope these several suggestions can help you work on existing and new relationships after addiction. If you have any questions that you’d like to learn the answers to, feel free to post them in the comments section below. We try to answer all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly.