7 Ways to Restore Trust with a Loved One After Recovery
The journey towards recovering from addiction involves many steps.
After you’ve gone through detox and gotten the counseling necessary to better understand the issues behind your substance abuse, you’ll need to work on repairing fractured relationships with your friends and family. These 7 tips will help you work on rebuilding trust.
1. Realize It’s Not Up to You
Unfortunately, you can’t make a loved one decide to trust you. Trust must be earned, so the first step in restoring trust with a loved one after recovery is realizing that this process is going to take a lot of work on your part.
If the relationship is important to you, know that the reward will be well worth the effort. If you’re doubting whether you’re ready to make this type of commitment, it may be time to reevaluate whether this person is someone you still wish to have in your life.
2. Be Patient
Trust isn’t lost overnight, nor can it be so quickly rebuilt. If you’re serious about repairing your relationship with your loved one, you’re going to have to learn to be patient.
Part of patience involves realizing that people develop trust at different rates. Some people are eternal optimists who always want to believe the best in every circumstance. Others are more guarded with their feelings and won’t fully trust someone until they are confident that their faith is well deserved. Both approaches are valid and need to be respected.
3. Make a Sincere Apology
We all want to feel as though our thoughts and feelings matter, so a sincere and heartfelt apology for past mistakes is a great way to begin the process of making amends. Consider writing a letter to your loved one expressing your remorse for past mistakes and your desire to work on repairing your relationship.
In your letter, do not place any blame on your loved one for what’s happened in the past. Your apology should be focused on your own actions and how the mistakes you’ve made have affected your loved one. Own up to your actions, then express the desire to repair the relationship so you can enjoy a brighter future together
4. Remember: Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Your friends and family need to see with their own eyes how hard you are trying to get your life back on track before they will realize that you’re 100% committed to rebuilding trust in your relationship. Since much of what goes on in addiction recovery is “behind the scenes” work, you may need to make a special point to inform your loved one of the progress you’ve made.
You don’t need to share details of your recovery that make you uncomfortable, but mentioning milestones such as 90 days of sobriety or going on your first post-treatment job interview can help reinforce your commitment to staying clean. Depending upon the nature of your relationship, you may also consider asking your loved one to attend an open AA or NA meeting with you.
5. Practice Acts of Service
Relationships are a two-way street, which is easy to forget when you’re struggling with addiction. To encourage your loved one to view you as trustworthy, look for ways to demonstrate your helpfulness.
Acts of service don’t need to be elaborate to be successful. Cook a meal for your spouse, help your son with his homework, do yard work for your elderly parents, or volunteer to help a friend with her move. The important thing is to help without being asked and without the expectation of anything in return.
6. Strive for Consistency
The unpredictable nature of an addict’s behavior makes the people around them suspicious of their intentions. To overcome this tendency to expect the worst, you’re going to need to show that you can behave in a predictable fashion.
Being consistent means creating an orderly routine for yourself. Attend counseling and support group meetings, stay committed to maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, and honor any professional or social commitments that you’ve made.
7. Think of Yourself as a Survivor, Not a Victim
In the throes of addiction, it’s easy to develop a victim mentality. You may think about all of the past difficulties you’ve faced and feel as though these challenges justify your substance abuse. However, a victim mentality is a surefire way to kill any relationship. Victims need rescuing and aren’t capable of being an equal partner in the relationship.
No matter what’s happened to you in the past, you have decided to take control of your life by seeking treatment for your addiction. You are not a victim. You’re a survivor, which means that you’re strong enough to rise up and tackle whatever comes your way.
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