Relationships in Recovery - Addiction Recovery

5 Ways You Can Rebuild Relationships After Addiction

Reconnecting with your loved ones as you recover from addiction is important. The Forge Recovery Center helps rebuild damaged relationships.

5 Ways You Can Rebuild Relationships After Addiction

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

August 5, 2022

The Forge Recovery Center

In deciding to recover from drug and alcohol addiction, you have likely reckoned with the reality of what your addiction is costing you. Finances, self-care, and relationships probably went by the wayside as you focused on your drug of choice.

Despite the temptation to avoid rehab, you can choose to partner with an addiction center that will walk with you through your recovery journey. Unfortunately, you still may feel alone, especially if you made decisions during your addiction that isolated you from friends and family members.

Luckily, a huge part of recovery is learning how to repair relationships, and maintain them after you leave treatment. There are many tools and resources you can utilize in rehab to start reconnecting with your loved ones. After you leave treatment, you can continue to focus on building positive and constructive relationships as you begin integrating back into a mainstream lifestyle.

Here are five ways you can rebuild your relationships.

#1. Pursue Accountability

The truth is that half-baked apologies do not resonate with people. If you have done something to damage a friend or family member’s trust, you must own up to it.

One of the most valuable strategies for taking accountability in addiction is the 12-Step Program founded by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The steps in this program that help people take responsibility include:

  • Taking a fearless moral inventory of yourself  

  • Admitting to God as you understand them, to yourself, and to another human being the exact nature of your wrongs

  • Committing to changing your negative behaviors

  • Make a list of all persons you have harmed and become willing to make amends to them all

  • Making direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when doing so would injure them or others

To take full accountability for your actions, you will need to reflect on how your decisions impacted those around you. It may help to talk with a trusted mentor or counselor about your efforts to ensure you deliver an honest and heartfelt apology.

It is crucial to remember that sometimes people do not want to hear your apology. When this happens, you cannot force them to accept it, nor can you allow it to derail your recovery progress. It will take time to rebuild relationships and trust with the people you have hurt through your addiction, and you must be patient with yourself and others.

#2. Set Boundaries

A relationship falling apart is not always your fault. Relationships take both the efforts of both yourself and the other person into account, and some of your relationships with friends and family members may have had toxic traits that pushed you away or caused you trauma.

Before reconnecting with friends and family members, reflect on what behaviors you cannot tolerate in your life moving forward. Boundaries are vital to ensuring healthy relationships and permitting yourself to not stay in stressful emotional situations that could trigger a relapse. 

Knowing your boundaries is one thing, but you must hold to them. Ensure they are clearly communicated and explained to the individuals involved the steps you will take to remove yourself from a conversation if they begin crossing your boundaries. If your boundaries are overstepped, do not be pressured into undoing them. Instead, remove yourself like you said you would.

#3. Go to Family Therapy

Having conversations about hurt feelings can be positive and constructive, or they can devolve into arguing, leading to more hurt feelings. To navigate these tenuous conversations, you can enlist the help of a family therapist who can mediate the discussions and ensure that all parties feel respected during interactions.

A family therapist will also help people set boundaries that are agreeable to all parties. They may even write a family contract so that everyone involved in the conversation readily commits to themselves to the other parties, and to their mediator to uphold the promises made while in counsel.

#4. Cut Out Toxic Relationships

Your friends and family members will not be able to fully trust you again if you continue to nurture relationships with people that enable your addiction. If you are still spending time with people who are using and therefore allow you to have easy access to your drug of choice, you will be at high risk of relapse. It is time to say goodbye to those relationships.

Although closing the door on a friendship can be heart-wrenching, it does not mean that door is closed forever. People evolve and change. If your friends decide to turn to a new leaf, you may have an opportunity to help them through their addiction.

Continuing to engage in these relationships while they are using will increase your chances of relapse and demonstrate to your loved ones who are living sober lifestyles that you are not ready to change. Your loved ones will continue to be apprehensive about being around you, especially if they’re concerned about exposure to illegal activity. 

#5. Spend Quality Time with Your Loved Ones

As your loved ones begin to reacclimate to your new life, it is essential to spend time with them. This can be as simple as calling them on the phone, meeting for coffee, or going to a movie. Rebuilding your relationships will take more than an apology. It takes a consorted effort to show your loved ones that they are a priority in your life. 

More importantly, as you spend quality time with them, you must remain accountable to your boundaries and theirs. Own up to it willingly if there is a disagreement in which you had a fault. Showing continued accountability will allow you to build healthy relationships and develop a support system that is supportive of your recovery goals.

The Forge Recovery Center Knows Rebuilding Relationships are Key to Addiction Recovery

At The Forge Recovery Center, we know relationships are an important cornerstone for recovery. One of the biggest factors that contribute to addiction is loneliness. With loneliness comes a lack of a support system, which leaves recovering addicts without anyone to turn to in their life when they are struggling. Likewise, no one is there to celebrate their success with them.

We know how hard it can be to rebuild relationships, and that is why our programs are focused on helping you reconnect with your loved ones and build new relationships with peers that share your recovery goals. Recovering from addiction is a rewarding challenge, but you should never have to do it alone.

We will be here to help you every step of the way during drug and alcohol treatment. To learn more about how we support healthy relationships in our treatment programs, contact The Forge Recovery Center today.

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