16 Mar Rebuilding Relationships

Deciding to check into a rehab facility is a big step toward recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, but the process doesn’t end when you complete the rehab program. Many addicts report that the first few weeks after rehab are actually more difficult because they don’t have the constant support that they had in rehab. Addiction is a disease that damages relationships and there is always work that needs to be done to re-establish these bonds and rebuild your support system at home. Rebuilding relationships can be difficult, but following a few guidelines can help you to keep things in perspective.

Apologize and Listen:

It’s very likely that past addictive behaviors have hurt the people who love you. The first thing you need to do to repair this damage is to sincerely apologize for your past behaviors and express your commitment to change. Some of your loved ones may need to vent their hurt feelings or express their anger before they can move on. Listen patiently and be understanding, but don’t get discouraged. These feelings are natural and will probably be resolved in time.

Show Your Commitment:

The best way to convince your loved ones that you’re ready to change is through your actions. Continuing steadfastly in your rehab process will show them that you’re ready to take care of yourself, which will help build trust. Consider inviting those who are closest to you to attend 12-step meetings or group counseling with you.

Forgive and be Patient:

You may have negative feelings such as anger, mistrust or resentment between yourself and others. Be humble enough to admit to yourself that your substance abuse has caused damage and forgive others who may treat you poorly or harbor anger. Don’t push the issue; instead, wait patiently for them to see that you’ve changed and come around on their own.

Be Prepared to Let Go:

The sad fact is that some relationships may be irreparably damaged due to substance abuse issues. Spending all of your time and emotional energy pursuing damaged relationships will hamper your recovery and add unnecessary stress to your life. You can’t force anyone to forgive you or give you another chance, so be prepared to let some things go and to let time take its course. They may come around in time, and in the meantime, you have a healthy life to live.

Recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous recommend that an addict not embark on any new romantic relationships within the first year of sobriety. If you were already in a committed relationship before you began rehab, you may want to consider working on this relationship with the help of a counselor. Romantic relationships always have their ups and downs and you may want the a third party to help you manage yours until you are on more solid footing.

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