During rehab, the only thing you may want is to get better. Whilst at the facility, most of your treatment will be focused around you and your past. Throughout this time, you will experience highs and lows, but at the end of your stay you will be ready to live a new, sober life. However, when you return home, you will have to deal with issues which arose before you sought treatment. One of these could be relationship problems you may have encountered with a spouse, partner, parent, child, friend or co-worker.
If these were a result of your addiction, you may have a deep desire to rebuild these relationships. Before you begin to restore these connections, it’s important to have prepared a plan which includes who you want to repair damage with and how you will begin to do that. If you haven’t developed this plan or need further advice, here are helpful ways to rebuild your relationships after an addiction ultimately making stronger and healthier connections.
Apologise and listen
It’s not always easy to own up to a mistake and apologise, but in the case of rebuilding relationships in recovery, this process is a vital part. Be sincerely apologetic about everything you did in the past; no matter how small you think the action was. Once you are finished with your apology, listen to the other person. What they may say could be hurtful, but it’s a crucial part of forgiveness and will help them to know you understand how they feel.
If you’ve been involved in a 12 step rehab programme, you will be familiar with the process of making amends with yourself and the things that you have done. This could take time; even months or years, but it will make you feel good. If for example you stole from a loved one, try paying them back. If you hurt someone on an emotional level, get creative as a way of making amends. Paint a picture, plant a flower garden or cook a nice meal. These simple actions can show another person you are serious about rebuilding a relationship and that you truly care.
Make time for you
Although you have made it through the first step, that being rehab, recovery is only beginning. It’s important you take time to work on yourself and your goals. Continue to write in your journal or re-evaluate your sobriety plan. Involving other people will help you to feel better about yourself while showing the other person you are making a great effort.
The foundation of a healthy relationship is set upon trust. This emotional and physical assurance may have been damaged by the addiction and will take time to be restored. To rebuild a relationship, you will need to rebuild trust with others. Be patient throughout the process and do your best to follow through with what you say you will do. Be supportive, coherent and transparent. Honesty is vital; if you’re having a bad day, let your loved one know and explain why you think this is. In rehab, you learned how to share what you think, feel, need and want. This should continue into your addiction recovery and will be a core reason for someone to begin to trust you again.
Following in suit with trust is communication. This is an important trait of relationships and without it you can lose sight of your goals, thoughts, desires and intentions. Be open with those closest to you. If something is on your mind, or you are bothered about a situation, talk about it. Letting things build up is not conducive to your recovery and can cause an overwhelming amount of negative emotions.
Be comfortable with yourself
It’s common for recovering addicts to have low self esteem and poor social skills. Take time to get to know who you are and become comfortable with the things that make you, you. Meditation and exercise is a great way to break down thoughts and re-connect with the self. This will also help you to set healthy boundaries, improve self confidence and grow into a person that people enjoy being around.
Pay it forward
Giving back can be one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself. Small acts of kindness such as volunteering, donating items or even helping other addicts out will show you that you are a beautiful human being while connecting to others. It will also show those closest to you that your sober intentions are pure.
Remember Forgiveness Can Take Time
Sometimes a person you are trying to rebuild a relationship with will not be ready to forgive you.As hard as this can be to accept, it is a reality that could happen. If you’re feeling this is something you are dealing with, give the other person time. Things may not work out as you wish them to, but at least you can have peace of mind in knowing that you tried.
Rebuilding a relationship is like replanting a garden. You will need to take great care in tending to small details and ensure everything is well cared for even in the most difficult times. Taking these steps will help you to slowly grow your garden; allowing the sun and daily watering to promote the blossoms to evolve into colourful, healthy flowers. Imagine that analogy as your relationships. You can build them, watch them blossom and eventually see a loving, kindred relationship.