Mending Relationships After Treatment

Once life begins to stabilize and you’re able to think clearly in recovery, the top priority is often regaining the trust of your loved ones.

It’s important to make amends with family and friends and have them feel you are trustworthy again. However, your loved ones may have been betrayed or hurt by things that happened during your addiction and need time to heal. In some cases, family members may have had to lie about their loved one’s behavior. In other cases, family members endured much emotional ups and downs witnessing family members abusing substances and going through withdrawal. Much of the trust and connection has been lost once a relative begins using drugs or alcohol, and relationships may have been broken.

The good news is that your loved ones want to be able to trust you again, and it can happen. It just takes patience and a consistent effort.

Sometimes, when the family member abusing substances shows responsibly in changing like being involved in an intervention, or attending treatment, trust can begin to grow. This allows relatives to believe the individual is making strides to change for the better. Additional ways to restore trust can be the decision to attend 12-Step meetings, which require members to be accountable for broken relationships.

Tips for Restoring Trust With Loved Ones

Letting your loved ones know they can trust you again starts with being able to trust yourself. Take steps to actively change your life for the better and prove to yourself and those around you that things are different this time. Some examples can include making commitments or promises and fulfilling them. For example, promising to have a lunch date wit a relative and behaving a certain way, then following through can be a small example to build trust. Developing a routine that include a relative, such as a church meeting can be another way to build trust.  It may take some time for the relative to develop trust, but having faith in the process can work wonders.

Keep Your Word

This tip takes the top spot for good reason. Without honesty and follow through, anything else you do to try to prove yourself trustworthy will fail.

Because your loved ones’ emotions are so raw, they will be watching you anxiously. This is your opportunity to demonstrate to them each and every day that you are going to keep your word. Follow through on post-treatment plans to show them you are serious about sobriety. Keep your appointments, attend 12-step meetings, make it to work on time, and do everything in your power to be seen as a person of integrity.

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Leave Lines of Communication Wide Open

Most people with an addiction tend to withdraw from friends and family, often in an attempt to hide their behaviors. Trying to re-establish honest and open communication with loved ones may be difficult in the early phase of recovery, but doing so is important for rebuilding a sense of trust with them. Keeping continuous contact with a loved one may seem daunting, but it allows them to stay connected to you. If a loved one gets anxious about the whereabouts of their loved one suffering addiction, they may want to reach out. Being available may put their mind at ease. Setting up a time to talk each week may also create a pattern of trust with each other. If the individual abusing drugs withdrawal without notice, he or she can trigger feelings of uncertainty and fear in the relative’s mind. What seems like a break may intensify the lack of trust someone feels.

By sharing your feelings, fears and hopes with them, you will alleviate much of the anxiety they experience as you continue with treatment and recovery. Also, family counseling can help identify dysfunctional family dynamics that can trigger a relapse or hinder a healthy recovery. This form of therapy will provide the whole family with new communication tools to encourage productive and healthy interactions and relationships.

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Create A New Healthy Routine

Addiction of any kind wreaks havoc on both physical and mental health. Family and friends agonize as they watch their loved one spiral into damaging habits that may threaten their life.

Once in recovery, you can make a commitment to rebuilding your health and showing friends and family that you are serious about your sobriety by sticking to a routine.

Some healthy habits to add to your routine:

As family and friends witness your new, healthy lifestyle habits, they will feel encouraged that you are practicing a disciplined approach to rebuilding your life. By consistently following this new routine, you will be not only feel better physically and emotionally, but you will be regaining lost trust as well.

Practice Patience

Restoring trust with loved ones is a process that takes time and an abundance of patience. During your addiction, feelings were hurt — often deeply. It takes time for those memories to subside and make way for new, happy ones as your loved ones begin to forgive and move forward. Patience allows for both parties to naturally forgive or assess the levels of trust in the relationship. Slowly, both parties can communicate and feel comfortable establish bonds with each other.

The reality is that it’s going to be a long process to earn [your loved ones’] trust back…you’re not going to be able to earn everybody’s trust in one day. You need to earn your own trust first and work from there.

- Niko McManus, MS, Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Get Addiction Help Today

Now that you know how to regain trust after rehab, it’s time to enroll in a treatment program. Mending relationships and lost trust is a normal part of the recovery process and this will encourage you to stay sober and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Contact a treatment provider today to discuss treatment options.