You’ve put your body through years of use. Whether it was heroin, Oxycontin, alcohol or meth; weight-loss, weight-gain; lack of exercise; lack of nutrition; lack of sleep. The drug use did a number on your physical being. Somehow, despite all of the physical wreckage you may feel after getting onto the road to recovery, what’s left on the inside can be even more difficult to assess and repair. While rebuilding your physical body will certainly be a large part of your road to recovery, rebuilding relationships should also be at the top of your list. Healthy relationships are an absolute necessity when it comes to building a life of well-being and health. Without restoring bonds with family, friends and spouses – finding health and happiness in recovery can be difficult.
Putting Relationships on the Road to Recovery
Relationships on their own are complex, often complicated, and always filled with emotion. They have the potential to be absolutely filling – and absolutely frustrating. Some relationships can be both. Now add in addiction recovery. Putting a relationship with friends or family on the road to recovery takes time. Putting a relationship with a spouse or partner on the road to recovery can take even longer. So what can you do?
- Start With YouHealing begins with you. In order to truly restore and rebuild relationships, reinstate the comfort, trust and security that they bring – you must start by working on yourself. Use the tools you learned while you were at addiction rehab, including mindfulness; adopt a healthy sleep pattern, diet, and exercise routine. Now that you’re no longer using or hiding your using – you probably have a lot more free time on your hands. Use that time to take on new, healthier hobbies. Your foundation in early recovery depends on how you use your life and coping skills – and this is the time to build upon them.
- CommunicateEmail, write a letter, meet in person, make a phone call. However you can do it – let your spouse, partner, family member or friend know that you are working on your recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. While they may be reeling in the same place they were before you went to get treatment, they may not know that you are working towards a healthier life. Simply by communicating your goals, your efforts, why you are doing it, and why you want to make amends – is a good start.
- Walk the WalkCommunicating that you want to make amends may be a start, but it’s certainly not enough. You must work towards restoring the trust in your relationship. You’ve now told your loved one that you are working on your health and towards fixing the wounds in your connection – now you must be a man (or woman) of your word. It may seem like a long time since you’ve been fully honest and present in the relationship – but it is possible, and now is the time.
- Keep TryingIt’s important to understand that those that you love and care about will more than likely have some sort of resentment held against you from the pain that your addiction caused them. It some instances, certain individuals may be at a point where they can’t reciprocate the effort to restore the relationship. This, however, shouldn’t discourage you from attempting to make amends: understand that it will take time – and not all relationships will completely heal. All you can do is your best, with willingness to do right – regardless of what you are met with, or the ultimate outcome.
Starting over and putting your relationship on the road to recovery may be just as complex as addiction. But ultimately, life is about the relationships and the love we build and cherish along the way. Addiction may have robbed you of those bonds before, but now is the time to include them in your new, healthy life. With time, commitment, and effort – rebuilding relationships after addiction is possible.