It may appear that, even after you’ve entered recovery for a substance use disorder, certain relationships can never be fully restored. The truth is you can work to rebuild relationships after addiction treatment that have been harmed in the course of an addiction, especially when you seek out help available through counseling services.
Relationships and Addiction
The effects of addiction can permeate nearly every aspect of your life, seeping through to cause harm in all areas, including your relationships with others. Spouses, romantic partners, business associates and even platonic friends may lose their trust in you. The parent and child relationship also involves a loss of trust, coupled with anger, frustration and disappointment. The whole family is affected by the consequences of substance addiction.1
Destructive behaviors exhibited by those who suffer from addiction can include dishonesty, theft, violence, unnecessary risk taking and other negative actions. Over time, someone who is abusing drugs or alcohol will generally become less functional and begin to neglect the responsibilities of work, family, school or finances. Their significant other, close family member or business associate may end up taking over many of these duties. This can become a burden that breeds resentment, causing deep cracks to form in the relationship.
Family therapy plays a key role in restoring harmony, communication and trust between someone in recovery from an addiction and their loved ones.2 Family counseling will help restore these relationships after addiction treatment and during treatment.
Most treatment therapies for addiction will involve your significant other. Couples counseling is very important, because if troubles in the relationship are not addressed, the marriage or partnership may deteriorate, and this stress can put recovery at risk.
Individual and group therapy, core components of any high-quality addiction treatment program, are also very helpful and offer strategies for rebuilding relationships in the workplace and at home.
Begin Restoring Relationships Now
Though therapy is imperative to rebuilding relationships after addiction treatment, there are some steps you can take to begin those repairs now.
Ask the people involved for their time and their patience as you work through the self-involvement that accompanies addiction recovery.
You will need to be completely truthful in order regain the respect and trust of the people in your life if you want those relationships to be rebuilt. For example, if you are going to be home late, call to say how late you will be and why. If money has been an issue, be open and honest about how much you spend and what you are spending it on.
Accept responsibility for everything you’ve said or done related to your addiction.
Listen to what the people in your life say to you and acknowledge their hurt and feelings of betrayal.
Finally, focus on the relationships you are attempting to rebuild. Do this through therapy and by working toward becoming the best partner, parent, co-worker or spouse you can be to increase your chances of sustaining successful relationships after addiction treatment.