How to Repair Relationships Hurt by Addiction

Repairing RelationshipsWhen someone begins recovering from addiction, we are inspired when we see them feeling renewed and encouraged about their new life ahead. After confronting the personal pain of an addiction, completing a treatment program should be celebrated. However, people often face reality when they realize how the severity of their addiction hurt people they love.

Perhaps before entering treatment, your relationships were suffering. Trust among family and friends had been tested and broken. Maybe you began your treatment program feeling positive and motivated, but now you’re faced with cleaning up the damage your addiction inflicted on other people. Consider the following thoughts on repairing those relationships.

Make your actions reflect your apologies

When you attempt to fix broken relationships, painful memories can come out in those conversations. Were there times when you unsuccessfully tried to quit your bad habits in the past? Did you convince family members that you had changed, only to relapse soon after? These questions aren’t meant to add guilt, but they are reminders to keep your expectations realistic. See your situation through someone else’s eyes. Perhaps someone trusted you in the past and felt fooled and disappointed when you let them down after they gave you second chances.

The best way to show you have changed is to follow up your apologies with actions. Continue putting effort into your recovery by keeping up with counseling and going to support groups. As time goes on, sticking with those commitments will help prove to loved ones that you are committed to a healthier lifestyle.

Break free from toxic relationships

To keep your commitment to sobriety, avoid risky settings. Steer clear of toxic environments that tempt you to use. Those environments may include spending time with certain friends or peers with whom you used to drink or do drugs. While that person might have been a close friend in the past, they aren’t healthy to your recovery if they’re still using. Focus on surrounding yourself with people who help you make wise decisions. Not every prior relationship should be salvaged.

Respect people’s space

While it’s a painful truth to accept, recognize that not every relationship will heal. You may not be the only casualty in your battle with addiction. If someone expresses unwillingness to mend the relationship, honor their perspective and give them space. They may need more time to forgive what happened in the past. If and when they forgive, they still may not want a future relationship. Losing those companions and loved ones can be heartbreaking, but that doesn’t mean you should pressure them back into a relationship. After you’ve reached out and apologized, let those people come back into your life on their own time.

Show the grace you hope to receive

If you’re struggling with mending relationships, take solace knowing that facing those consequences is part of everyone’s journey through recovery. That doesn’t make it easier, but it does mean others can relate. While you can’t turn back time on those relationships, you can humble yourself and recommit to treating those around you with respect and kindness. When someone forgives you, they’re showing you grace. In turn, be gracious and patient as you repair your relationships.

For more perspective on addiction recovery, read our recent blog on the family’s role in addiction recovery.