It is well-known that alcohol and drug addiction can cause serious damage to the body and mind but it also can have a destructive effect on relationships as well. In the midst of an addiction, an individual’s behaviors can change dramatically and they lose the ability to handle friendships, marriages, and family relationships. Many of these relationships may seem damaged beyond repair, but in recovery an effort to improve your interactions with others is one of the important steps to becoming sober. Rebuilding relationships that have fallen apart can be crucial to creating a better life after addiction. These are some ways to start repairing broken ties with others.
1. Minimize Denial- For any addict denial is one of the most powerful problems they have to overcome. Living without denial means acknowledging that you have hurt the people around you and admitting you have made mistakes.
2. Apologize and Ask Forgiveness- An important step in recovery is not only understanding the pain you have caused but asking loved ones for forgiveness. This is the first step in rebuilding a broken relationship.
3. Don’t Expect Immediate Trust- Repairing the ability to trust you will take time and you should not be surprised or offended when friends, spouses or family members do not believe what you say. If you have lied or hid your behavior in the past then they have every reason not to trust you. Be patient and realize that you must earn their trust again.
4. Communicate More Openly- When you were addicted, you probably bottled up many of your emotions. Learning new communication skills like being direct and saying what you feel can help facilitate better relationships.
5. Always Be Honest- In order to win back trust in the people around you, it is important to always keep your word. The more you prove that you can be honest, the more likely you will be to earn the trust that you lost.
6. Stay Sober- It may seem obvious but making as much effort as possible to maintain your new lifestyle will be crucial to rebuilding your relationships. Relapse is a reality for many addicts but it can affect your ability to start anew with broken friendships or marriages. Staying sober will help others to realize that you are working hard to change.
7. Be Patient and Give it Time– Repairing a relationship is like taking down a wall one brick at a time. It is a slow process and you should not expect dramatic changes overnight. Being patient and remaining humble throughout the process will make it easier for you.
8. Become an Active Parent and Spouse- If your marriage or relationship with your kids was damaged because of your absence or neglect, then you can take this opportunity to become more active with your family. Spend more time with your kids or spouse and try to make up for what you have done in the past.
9. Attend Support Meetings- Staying involved in support groups or outpatient treatment after rehab not only shows you are serious about sobriety, but it helps you stay on track and get help from others going through the same process of repairing relationships. They can give you advice or support whenever you need it.
10. Focus on Those Closest to You- You can’t fix all your relationships at once. Focus on the most important ones first and then work your way outward.
Remember it will take a lot of hard work and most of all plenty of time to resolve problems in your relationships. Eventually you can prove through your actions that you want to be a better person and have committed to a new sober lifestyle.