Drugs and alcohol affect everyone in the addict’s circle. Families have been torn apart from drug use. Friendships have been ruined from alcoholism. Once you make the commitment to get clean and sober, how can you work toward repairing your relationships? Mending broken ties is not easy to do, and you may find that friends and family still hold resentment or anger in their hearts.
Reassure yourself that most relationships are not damaged beyond repair. Though it will take time, improving your relationships with your friends and family is an important part of your recovery. It’s worth working toward improved interactions and closer ties with the people that matter most to you.
Below are five tips for rebuilding your relationships after rehab.
Communication is a key part of any healthy relationship. Start by letting friends and family know that you want to reconnect with them. You can tell the person face-to-face, or write them a letter or send a private message. It may take several interactions for the person to finally come around. However, it’s important to respect the wishes of others. If someone asks you not to communicate with them, don’t. You can leave the door open for future interactions if they change their mind.
2. Take Responsibility
In recovery, one takes responsibility for actions, including past actions that have harmed others. When we get to Step 9, we make amends for past wrongs. Rather than carrying around guilt from the things you did or said, make sincere amends to those you hurt. In order to do this, you must acknowledge the harm and mistakes you made and take responsibility for those actions. Remember that you can’t force someone to accept your amends. However, by making amends, you free yourself from the guilt. Forgiveness is an integral part of recovery. You must forgive yourself and forgive others if you want to move forward.
3. Be Attentive
When you were addicted, the drugs or alcohol were your first choice. Now that you are not using, you need to give more attention to your relationships. Show friends and family that they are a priority in your life again. Attend family events. Show up to baseball games. Cook dinner and surprise the family.
4. Attend Meetings
Attending your 12 step meetings shows that you are committed to your recovery. Continue attending these groups so that you can connect with others and get support and advice. Your meetings will also keep you on track with your recovery goals.
5. Be Patient
Remember that your friends and family are healing too. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get the reactions that you had hoped for. Sometimes, hesitation and resistance are common. Be patient and understand that it takes time for relationships to improve.
Not every relationship will fully recover, but don’t let this discourage you. Most of your relationships will get better. This will help you stay on your path to recovery and lead a satisfying, rewarding life.