Rebuilding Relationships After Rehab

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.

Rebuilding Relationships After Rehab

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.

Children as young as 13 are using ice, falling victim to intergenerational drug use. And the damage that ice causes to small communities is clearly illustrated in remote areas of Australia where illegal drugs were once uncommon – in recent years, methamphetamine use in small Australian communities has climbed to 2.5 times that of large cities.

Rural Victoria’s ice problem is an example of how the drug has torn communities apart: ABC reports that ten years ago, Victoria police reported just 135 ice possession busts; that number has climbed to 6,000 this past year. Relatives of addicts are afraid to leave their houses, and those who attempt to address the problem by setting up treatment facilities are the object of anger for attracting addicts to their small towns.

But the stigma around ice use is a barrier that prevents addicts from seeking addiction treatment in Australia. In addition to packed facilities, people struggling with addiction must contend with societal attitudes that label them as weak, lazy and bad people who don’t deserve compassion. Ice addicts in Australia wait an average of ten years to get help. During that decade, they struggle through their daily tasks, which puts all Australians at risk. A recent study by SafeWorks Laboratories found that 240,000 workers in Australia attended work high on ice in 2017, some of whom work in safety-sensitive fields. Workers interviewed recall smoking ice on breaks to stay awake and trying to hide symptoms like paranoia and a lack of concentration.

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.

Build trust

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.

Ice, also known as crystal meth, was first produced in the late 1970s. Because it’s easy and cheap to produce, criminal organizations increasingly chose to manufacture crystal meth in the 1980s, and production has only increased since. And though meth is easy to produce, because of its combination of highly volatile chemicals, meth labs are at a high risk of exploding. Street meth is particularly dangerous for drug users because the chemicals it contains vary widely, making it impossible to reliably measure its purity and strength.

Be open

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.

  • Admitting powerlessness over the addiction
  • Believing that a higher power (in whatever form) can help
  • Deciding to turn control over to the higher power
  • Taking a personal inventory
  • Admitting to the higher power, oneself, and another person the wrongs done
  • Being ready to have the higher power correct any shortcomings in one’s character
  • Asking the higher power to remove those shortcomings
  • Making a list of wrongs done to others and being willing to make amends for those wrongs
  • Contacting those who have been hurt, unless doing so would harm the person
  • Continuing to take personal inventory and admitting when one is wrong
  • Seeking enlightenment and connection with the higher power via prayer and meditation
  • Carrying the message of the 12 Steps to others in need

When users have binged to the point of no longer being able to experience a high, they will enter a phase called “tweaking.” During the tweaking phase, users feel empty and lose their sense of self. They perceive things that aren’t there, including bugs under their skin, which leads to uncontrollable scratching and self-mutilation. Users in this phase are often in a psychotic state characterized by sleeplessness and aggression.
After tweaking (which can last for days), users crash and become immobile. They enter into a deep sleep and wake up days later in the grips of a severe hangover. Exhaustion, dehydration and the need to relieve the symptoms in any way possible often lead to another meth binge.

If someone who has formed a dependency stops using, meth withdrawals will begin to set in. Withdrawal symptoms include intense cravings, the inability to experience pleasure and suicidal thoughts. Needless to say, this process is agonizing, which is why many habitual users turn to using again to relieve their pain. Meth addiction is an extremely difficult cycle to break, characterised by painful episodes that further incite the addict to continue using.

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.

Nowadays, it’s common for private rehabs to incorporate 12 step ideas into the program, but not follow each step word for word. The idea behind this is in the hope that people in recovery will continue to be actively engaged in 12 step methodology and support groups when they return home. Rehabs may also use the 12 steps as a foundation because of the sheer amount of results proven research backing this methodology. However, they may eliminate any spiritual aspect of the 12 step program leaving an encompassing model of care.

A person who is high on meth often believes that they are smarter or more productive than others, which leads to aggressive and argumentative behaviour. Meth users can become paranoid and distance themselves from friends and family for long periods of time. While the behavioural effects of meth ultimately depend on the individual, most addicts in the throes of a high lose their grasp on reality and become unaware of how others perceive them.

The mid- to long-term effects of meth use are harrowing. Common signs that a loved one’s meth addiction is spiralling out of control include “meth sores” from picking at imaginary bugs on the skin, rapid weight loss, tooth decay, erratic sleeping patterns and hygiene and personal care issues. Meth use also makes mental health conditions like depression and anxiety much worse, and suicidal impulses among active and recovering meth users are common.

Prolonged meth use causes visible aging, and this process is mirrored within the body. Common ailments among heavy meth users include disease of the brain, heart or lungs; damaged blood vessels and permanent psychological impairment. Additionally, meth users are at risk of contracting HIV and Hepatitis B or C because of the risky behaviours meth fuels.

Long-time meth use also results in financial instability as addicts lose their jobs and attempt to procure the drug by any means necessary, including selling possessions or performing sex work. Some users will even offer up their houses as meth labs in a pinch, which makes homes permanently inhabitable and could result in deadly explosions.

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.

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