Addiction is a chronic disease that can negatively affect a person’s health, quality of life, and social relationships. While many people understand these effects, not everyone realizes that addiction may become the root of family and other relational dysfunctions. The battle with addiction can leave a trail of damaged relationships.
However, with the right kind of help, repairing relationships after addiction treatment may be key to long-term recovery. There are effective ways to get you back on track in your important relationships.
Tip #1. Starting With a Positive Relationship With Yourself
During recovery, take the time to truly get to know yourself and value yourself as a unique human being. Examine if you are struggling with low self-esteem or low self-worth. If that is the case, work on achieving a better self-image before investing in relationships with others. The stronger you become in your relationship with yourself, the stronger you will be in the journey toward long-term sobriety and relational healing.
Work proactively with recovery experts to treat mental issues rooted in low self-esteem. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an excellent way to do this. CBT can help you identify negative thought patterns, how they affect your behaviors and correct course. Your therapist can also help you understand how traumatic family history may have shaped your self-esteem.
Be patient as you dig deeper into your family and personal history with your therapist. The goal is to address the root causes of addiction, which takes some time to uncover. Make sure to do the “homework” they give you, such as using self-affirmation tools such as journaling or loving-kindness meditation.
Tip #2. Surround Yourself With Trustworthy and Positive Relationships
As your sobriety stabilizes, you must maintain relationships with trustworthy and positive peers. Protect yourself from toxic and difficult relationships that bring extra stress. This may require cutting out or pausing relationships with a high stress level or negative influence.
Getting on track with family and friends may require you to reckon with old mistakes and correct past behavioral patterns. Consider what has happened in these relationships. When necessary, apologize and make amends with those negatively affected by your time in active addiction. This can begin a new relational direction where you can get their support.
Tip #3. Take Things Slow in New Relationships
Many people desire to build new relationships when they reach early sobriety. However, you must remain vigilant when bringing new people into your life. By now, you should be able to recognize some red flags in relationship patterns. These may include dishonesty, violence, substance use, any kind of abuse, co-dependency, or bullying.
When starting new relationships, be honest about your recovery status. If you hide your past addiction, this new friendship may falter if it comes to light. Staying true to who you are is essential. Telling them about your recovery status can also protect you from risky situations that test your sobriety.
When you feel ready to explore romantic relationships, taking things slow is especially important. Dating can be complicated enough even when SUD is not involved. If you are in recovery and feel ready to get back into dating again, know that jumping into romantic relationships too early in recovery can lead to a state of infatuation, which may become a replacement addiction.
Tip #4. Work on Your Communication Skills
SUD often impairs people’s communication, which is an important life skill. Re-opening and rebuilding healthy lines of communication is a crucial step toward restoring relationships. Allow honesty and transparency to shape how you communicate with others. Talk therapy and group or family therapy can help in this area.
Active and intentional communication can build relationships. When you invest in communicating in person as much as via phone calls, letters, emails, or text messages, that shows how meaningful this relationship is to you. If your efforts are not reciprocated, check your emotional boundaries, and don’t get overwhelmed by anger and resentment.
Many treatment centers help recovering individuals grow in their communication skills. You can get advice on how and when to use words appropriately through various forms of talk therapy, experiential therapy, peer group meetings, and family therapy.
Tip #5. Practice Healthy Boundaries to Avoid Co-Dependency
When you invest time in rebuilding relationships, take a moment to evaluate whether these relationships have become co-dependent. Co-dependency is a relationship addiction when one or both people excessively depend on the other. Sooner or later, the stress and toxic reality of co-dependent relationships can sabotage your recovery progress.
Because many people lack self-awareness when in such co-dependent relationships, you must reach out to mental health professionals who are experienced in addressing this problem. You can learn how to establish healthy boundaries in a critical relationship.
When you are in recovery, you must separate yourself from people who do not support your sobriety or those who cause you to experience negativity or stress. Laguna Shores Recovery helps you navigate relationship issues by working with you to determine healthy boundaries. Here, you will find that our experienced mental health professionals and compassionate staff know the value of positive support networks and have the skills to teach you how to build them. So whether you need to distance yourself from unhealthy relationships or set up good relationships for success, Laguna Shores can help. Please call (866) 229-9923 to discover how you or your loved one can be part of our strong recovery community.