Addiction is frequently referred to as a family disease because it affects the entire family unit, not just the person who is using drugs or alcohol. Relationships affected by addiction are inevitably damaged as a result, and most often, spouses, parents, children, and friends suffer the most.
If you are in recovery from addiction, you are no doubt familiar with the harmful effects it can have on loved ones and friends and you may have unintentionally neglected and damaged these relationships in the past by doing one or more of the following things:
- Draining bank accounts to support your drug habit
- Lying to cover up your drug abuse
- Stealing a loved one’s money or valuables to support your addiction
- Acting out violently while under the influence of an addictive substance
- Expecting a loved one or friend to clean up your messes or bail you out of jail
All of these actions, among others, are severely harmful to relationships and may have even caused some damage that was beyond repair. It’s important to realize that you can’t just undo the damage that was done, but you can work to regain the trust of your loved ones after rehab.
Although some relationships will not be salvageable, many will. Earning the trust of a loved one after it has been broken is never easy, but there are several things you can do to rebuild that trust and pick up the broken pieces of your relationships as you recover from addiction and rebuild your life.
If you are nearing the end of a drug and alcohol rehab program or are considering enrolling in a Eudaimonia sober living program, you are on the right track. Here are several other ways you can begin the process of regaining the trust of your loved ones.
1. Be patient.
While you’re in recovery, it’s vital that you maintain realistic expectations about how your family, friends, and loved ones will react to your sobriety. The process may be difficult for them, just as it is for you, but practicing patience will go a long way. Some of your loved ones may be less supportive than others about your recovery journey but just remember their healing process will be different than yours and it may take time for them to adjust to your new lifestyle and learn to trust that you really have changed.
2. Enroll in a sober living program.
Nothing says “I’m serious about my recovery” more than committing to a long-term addiction treatment program. Most often this includes detox, inpatient or outpatient rehab, sober living, and aftercare. If your loved ones see that you are committed to your sobriety and your treatment program, they may also begin to have faith in your commitment to rebuilding a relationship with them. Although the decision to enroll in a transitional living home should be based on your own goals and intentions for your sobriety, doing so is also an outward sign of commitment and determination that your loved ones will certainly notice and appreciate.
3. Involve loved ones in your recovery process.
At Eudaimonia, we firmly believe that loved ones should be involved in all stages of the recovery process if possible. This may include attending family support groups, removing all alcohol or addictive substances from the home to prepare for your arrival, or making time to meet with your program coordinator, therapist, or sober coach. Instead of shutting your family out of the process, regularly update them on how things are going for you, prioritize any time you are able to spend with them throughout your transitional housing program and be open and honest with them about your recovery programming. This will help break down barriers and improve communication. Additionally, research consistently shows that social support from friends and family members predicts positive outcomes in addiction recovery.1
4. Keep your promises.
While you were struggling in the midst of your addiction, you probably weren’t the best at keeping your word. Broken promises can be extremely difficult to redeem, but they are not impossible to come back from. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s working definition of recovery from substance abuse and mental illness is, “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”2 As you can see, there is nothing in that definition about being perfect. Your loved ones understand that you are not perfect and that you’ll always be flawed, but you can show them that you’re serious about rebuilding healthy relationships by honoring your word and taking responsibility for your actions when you don’t.
5. Diligently maintain your new healthy lifestyle.
Instead of just telling your loved ones and friends that you are committed to your recovery, show them by consistently living out your new healthy lifestyle. Practice self-care by maintaining healthy habits like eating nutritious meals, meditating daily, exercising regularly, and making time to do things that bring you joy.
6. Get rid of the harmful relationships in your life.
Maintaining your sobriety may require that you let go of some unhealthy relationships in your life. This may include friends that regularly use drugs and alcohol or people that encourage you to do so, loved ones who continually enable harmful drug abuse habits or people in your life that are not supportive of your recovery goals. Although it may be difficult to let go of some of these relationships, it is an essential part of maintaining a life in sobriety and will serve as yet another indicator of your commitment to your abstinence. A good place to start may be deleting phone numbers and any other contact information for those individuals from your phone.
7. Practice healthy communication.
It’s human nature to blame others when our needs aren’t met or we don’t achieve our goals, but practicing open and healthy communication can help both you and your loved ones learn how to navigate conflict and daily life in a way that’s more productive.3 Be open to sharing your struggles in recovery with them and practice actively listening when they share things with you. Being compassionate and empathetic to their concerns and struggles will improve the communication process and encourage healing among loved ones and friends as you progress through your transitional living program.
If you’ve recently completed a drug and alcohol rehab program and are looking take the next step in pursuing your recovery, a transitional housing program may be the best choice for you. Eudaimonia sober living homes are designed to support individuals in all stages of recovery with structured living, drug and alcohol testing, recovery support programming, and comfortable, safe sober living homes in Austin, Houston, Chicago, and Colorado Springs. Contact our admissions team today to learn more about our sober living houses and recovery support services.