Addiction is incredibly hard on relationships. When you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, you prioritize those things over everything else. Your personality may change, making you short-tempered, irritable, or deceptive. Many sober people say the reason they finally decided to get help was because of how their substance use affected their families. After treatment, it’s helpful to repair relationships the best you can. Feeling socially connected reduces stress and increases accountability. However, it’s not always easy to repair relationships, especially after years of bad behavior. Here are some tips.
Apologize and make amends.
The first step is to actually reach out to the people who are important to you and who you want back in your life. Apologize for any behavior that may have hurt that person. Apologies should be sincere; they should acknowledge what, specifically, you did wrong and why it was hurtful. They should also include some assurance that you won’t behave the same way in the future. Making amends–as included in the 12 steps–is even better because it typically entails some kind of sacrifice on your part. Words are cheap but if you’re willing to pay back the 300 dollars you borrowed, for example, then your contrition carries more weight.
Keep in mind that no matter what you do, whether the other person is willing to forgive you is entirely out of your control. This can be frustrating and discouraging but try to see things from the other person’s perspective. When someone has hurt us, we are less willing to trust that person in the future. It takes a lot longer to repair your reputation than it does to damage it. It’s normal that the other person would want to be cautious, especially since he or she doesn’t really know how hard you’ve been working in recovery or how committed you are to staying sober. If someone is unwilling to forgive, just be patient. That person may never forgive you but getting mad about it won’t improve your chances.
Stick to your recovery plan.
In the end, all you really have control over is whether you stay committed to recovery. You can’t control other people’s opinions or random things that might happen to you. Sticking to your recovery plan will help you socially in several ways. In addition to avoiding bad behavior caused by drugs and alcohol, it will show people that you really are serious about staying sober. This may eventually persuade some people that you’re worth trusting again. It also connects you to new people. Some bridges will stay burnt but you can make new sober friends and form new relationships, which are valuable for staying sober.
Finding connection in recovery is complicated and it involves introspection, therapy, and a willingness to be vulnerable. At Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California, we help men in recovery form strong relationships and build healthy lives free from drugs and alcohol. Call us today at 855-202-2138 to learn more about our holistic treatment program.