How To Mend Irreparable Relationships In Recovery
Addiction is a damaging disease that impacts the life of an addict and every person around them in a very severe way. When a person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, their brain's reward center becomes so singularly focused on finding and consuming more drugs and alcohol that all of the important relationships in their life become secondary.
This, of course, often leads to severely damaged relationships between addicts and the people around them. In recovery, it is very important that a recovering addict assess many of the relationships that were damaged while they were actively using. Often, as a recovering addict does this, they may find that many of their relationships have fallen into what seems like irreparable disrepair. The fact is, however, that in some cases it is possible to mend even the most severely damaged relationships. Here are a few tips on how to repair a badly damaged relationship while in recovery.
Ask For Forgiveness
Most people who are involved in a twelve step program of some kind go through a process during which they apologize to the people in their life for any of the behavior they engaged in that may have caused pain to the other person. Asking for forgiveness is a highly effective and important step in mending damaged relationships because it gives a recovering addict the chance to admit that they have done wrong. This can help minimize feelings of guilt and resentment from both parties. This also puts a recovering addict and the person they are making amends to in a place where they can begin to move forward in a constructive and healthy way.
It is important to remember that when a relationship has been badly damaged, forgiveness will not happen overnight. Remember that just because you are ready for a relationship to get back on track does not mean that it will automatically happen. In many cases, there will be feelings that person who you are asking for forgiveness from must process. Know that it will very likely take quite some time for a relationship to get on track if there has been major conflict. The key to successfully mending a relationship is to be as understanding and patient with the other person as possible.
When discussing the reasons that a relationship has been damaged it is very easy to fall into the habit of behavior that essentially blames the other person, rather than describes how their actions made you feel. The best way to keep all discussions productive and to avoid the chance of exacerbating feelings of anger is to limit discussion to the way you personally feel about any given situation, rather than blaming another person.
If a damaged relationship is to be repaired, it is important that it is rebuilt based on the principles of mutual trust and honesty. For this reason, it is key that you be as honest as possible when talking with the person who you are attempting to rebuild a relationship with. This may not always be easy to do. Often being honest means saying things that are difficult or unpleasant, but doing this will help ensure that as the relationship continues to be rebuilt, old habits of dishonesty will not be perpetuated. When another person is honest with you, it is important that you keep in mind the importance of being honest and that you do not become easily angered or hurt when a person is being honest with you about the way your behavior has made them feel in the past or how it makes them feel now.