You have battled addiction, and you’ve gotten to the point where you’re ready to work on repairing as much of that damage as possible. Perhaps you have hurt people while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Maybe you’ve hurt parents, a spouse or significant other, siblings, children, friends, or coworkers. Perhaps you’ve lied to them, cheated on them, stolen from them, or caused them some other type of harm or grief while you were using. Maybe it was even a combination of these things.
The important thing is that this was in the past and was directly connected to a life you are no longer living. We help you heal relationships after addiction and rebuild the trust you had in the past. If you’re having trouble figuring out where to begin, we hope you’ll find family therapy and couples counseling helpful in getting you on the right track. Please contact Vertava Health today at 844.451.0263 for more information about our addiction resources.
Healing Relationships After Addiction Begins with an Apology
As you might have guessed, the first thing to do when you want to repair a broken relationship is apologize. You would do so if you did anything else wrong in a relationship and sought forgiveness. It’s no different when your troubles stem from your past substance use. Just know that sincerity is a key factor of an effective apology that someone who has been hurt will be willing to accept.
How can you show your sincerity? You can acknowledge specific instances of wrongdoing, express remorse about them, and explain to the person why you know it was wrong and understand the pain it caused.
Some people may accept your apology right away. Depending on the nature of your relationship, they may very well be ready to leave the past in the past and welcome you back to their good graces with open arms. This is a best-case scenario, but it’s not uncommon. You might be surprised by how powerful a sincere apology can be. Still, there’s always the possibility that people will not be ready to forgive you at the drop of a hat no matter how sincere you are, and others still may never forgive you.
Remember that Time Is Necessary for Healing
It’s critical to keep things in perspective and accept that it will take time to heal some wounds while others may never recover. You must be patient with those to whom you are apologizing. Do not express bitterness or show that you are upset if your apology is not embraced in the way you had hoped it would be. Instead, show these people that you understand why they feel the way that they do, and do your best to demonstrate that you are putting old habits in the past. They have every reason in the world not to trust you. Trust must be earned. Try to demonstrate that you are committed to a sober and more positive life. This lets them know that you regret how you treated them and that you are doing what you can to turn your life around and stop hurting people.
Rebuilding trust and relationships after addictions involve making amends. An apology is one thing, but you also need to make your wrongs right when possible. Consider the promises that you made to people but didn’t keep. You may not even remember all of them, but some of these will become clearer as you talk to your loved ones. Ask yourself if there are ways to make good on these promises now. If there aren’t, think about ways that you can make up for them.
Think about the lies you told. Own up to all of them. The chances are that the person you lied to suspects the lie anyway, even if they haven’t called you on it. Accusing someone of lying is not a pleasant thing to do, so taking responsibility for yourself can ease that burden and go a long way in helping them offer you forgiveness. It can make a world of difference to the person to hear you admit that you lied and want to come clean.
Making amends is a critical part of any twelve-step program (including the one made famous by Alcoholics Anonymous). Ultimately, it’s just about righting wrongs and repairing the damage. It is essential, however, to consider the feelings of others involved. If bringing something specific up would hurt the person more or cause them additional damage, find a better way to make it right. Like apologies, your attempts to make amends are not always going to be welcomed with open arms. Therefore, you have to be prepared for that rejection and not hold it against the person. Make every effort to do the right thing, but don’t expect absolution.
Communicate What You’re Going Through to Family and Friends
As you seek trust and forgiveness, you’re going to exchange many words with your loved ones. As you go through this, clear communication can go a long way, including communicating what you are going through yourself.
That doesn’t mean making yourself out to be the victim. Remember, you’re taking responsibility here, but it can still help the people in your life understand what you’ve been through and what you’re going through. Think of it as being transparent and honest. The more everybody involved knows about the situation, the easier it will be to have an open and honest two-way discussion.
Be open about your own feelings and the challenges you’re facing in your recovery. Talk to your loved ones about what led to your addiction and the steps you’ve taken to recover and are continuing to take. Recovery isn’t easy, and it can help to make people understand the challenges you face. It can be hard for someone who hasn’t been through it to fully grasp. Help them grasp it.
Helping Loved Ones Understand Recovery
If a loved one has a hard time accepting your apology and offering forgiveness or sympathy to your plight, it might not be bad to share with them some literature on recovery and what you’re going through. Even if it’s just sharing an online article, helping them be more informed on the subject could help them better handle their feelings.
Improving Yourself and Relationships After Addiction
If you want people to trust you, it’s a good idea to project yourself as a person moving their lives in a more positive direction. You should keep striving to improve yourself and make choices that benefit your life and well-being.
Make good on your word. Keep the promises you make and don’t make the ones you can’t. Show up on time when you have plans and show people that you are committed to doing what you say you’re going to do.
- Keep track of loved ones’ birthdays and other important dates. Do something nice for them, even if it just means a phone call, an email, or a letter.
- It’s a good idea to do some soul-searching and figure out what you want out of your own life. Then, take steps to achieve that. Work on your physical health, as doing so will help you feel better both mentally and physically.
- Stay active in the workforce. When you’re ready, either work full-time or strive to do so.
- Find new hobbies and activities related to your interests, and stick with them. This will provide you with an outlet or outlets for enjoyment that doesn’t involve returning to your old ways. We will show others that you have something else in your life to keep you away from them.
- Part of self-improvement is dealing with your own feelings of guilt. While it’s important to make yourself accountable for any wrongdoings, to some extent, you must let go of the past.
Seek Help at Vertava Health
If you’re having trouble rebuilding relationships after addiction, professional help could be a good step. Vertava Health offers addiction rehabilitation and recovery services. Our team can provide you with the support you need to make relationships work after addiction. Contact us today at 844.451.0263 to learn more about our services.