23 Dec Restoring and Maintaining Relationships In Recovery
Relationships are one of the most intrinsic needs that humans have. If you’re in recovery from addiction, it’s very likely that you’re wondering about your relationships. Most people with addiction damage their relationships during their struggles with substance abuse. As you move from active addiction to recovery, the realization that you may have damaged several relationships starts to sink in.
• How should you go about restoring these relationships?
• Can you maintain your current relationships?
• Should you start new relationships during recovery?
These are some common questions about relationships in recovery. Once in recovery, many former addicts have the urge to fix all the problems they created while abusing drugs or alcohol. Relationships often come in at the top of the list. Let’s take a closer look at how you should focus on relationships in recovery.
How Addiction Ruins Relationships
Addiction ruins relationships because the addicted person has only one focus in life, which is seeking and using drugs or alcohol. They turn their lives upside down in order to focus more on substance abuse. This means that their relationships fall to the wayside. Whether it’s a family relationship, close friends, or a romantic partner, none of them are as important as the addiction. The following are some common ways that addiction ruins relationships:
• Social withdrawal
• Lying and being deceitful
• Domestic violence
• Stealing or otherwise taking advantage
• Creating financial problems
By the time you get help and reach recovery, you may have done significant damage to all of your relationships. Your spouse might have left you, your friends no longer trust you and your family might have disowned you. This is why recovery therapy often focuses on how to regain your relationships. Recovery can be a lonely place, and a good support network is integral to staying in recovery.
Making Recovery Adjustments
Many people in recovery struggle with a deep sense of shame, regret and guilt over the way they’ve harmed people that they love during their substance abuse. Fixing relationships is often at the top of their list. Part of why you want to fix your relationships is because it might alleviate your emotional pain from hurting your friends and family.
The process of recovery requires you to accept and struggle through the pain in your life. It’s important to realize that repairing your relationships will take time. Part of this recovery process is also accepting that the damage you caused to others during your addiction will take time to heal on their end too. It’s important to remember that actions speak louder than words, and many of the people in your previous relationships may no longer trust you.
Instead of trying too hard to fix your relationships immediately during recovery, you should focus more on yourself. As you improve your own outlook on life and progress through recovery, your relationships are likely to slowly heal on their own as people realize that you’ve changed.
Supporting Relationships in Recovery
Relationships in recovery are still important as they provide a good support network. You also have recovery support through your therapy groups, treatments and programs in your community that you may be a part of. Many people with addiction withdraw and isolate. Even in recovery, you might be tempted to isolate yourself as you go through treatment. However, it’s important to maintain any relationships in recovery that you may have. Connection and support are essential to feeling motivated in recovery. You can support your relationships in recovery by reaching out to people that you may have hurt. Some of your relationships may be ready to work with you in recovery. Others may take more time and be more cautious.
How To Review Your Relationships In Recovery
If you have previous relationships that aided and abetted your addiction, it’s important that you do not go back to those. Toxic relationships are often a big cause of substance abuse. Many people report getting into substance abuse through peer relationships. Anything detrimental to your recovery should be set aside, and this includes prior relationships. Getting rid of toxic or unhealthy relationships is a crucial part of the recovery process.
If you have relationships that are willing to support you during recovery, then you should work on maintaining them.
Challenges For New Relationships and Addiction
It’s often recommended that people in recovery refrain from pursuing new romantic relationships. The main reason for this is that it can be detrimental to your recovery to switch your focus from yourself to another person. Relationships require plenty of work from both parties. However, recovery is supposed to be a time of self-healing where you reflect on your choices and assess your future. It’s also a time of learning, which involves developing coping skills and ways to handle negative emotions and stressors. Recovery is also a time where you will feel very vulnerable. It’s like starting a brand-new life.
Adding relationships in recovery can complicate your already jarring emotional rollercoaster. It can complicate and lengthen your recovery journey. If you don’t have a strong grasp on coping and dealing with stress, your recovery could easily be thrown into jeopardy by a single relationship conflict. Recovery requires your full commitment and focus. However, romantic relationships are very distracting and time-consuming. It’s even possible to become obsessed with your new relationship, which can replace your previous obsession with substance abuse.
If you’re thinking about starting new relationships in recovery, it’s important to remember that you need to be happy with yourself and fully healthy before you can transfer that to a relationship.
Should You Be Upfront About Your Recovery Status?
Sometimes you can’t help meeting new people during recovery, and it is important to make connections. There are different schools of thought on whether you should disclose that you’re in recovery. Some people believe that you should be fully upfront about your recovery as soon as possible. Others believe that it’s better to wait until the relationship has taken off. There’s also the possibility that a new work situation might impact your recovery status.
Ultimately, the choice of disclosing your recovery status to others is up to you. If you feel comfortable telling your work or someone you meet that you are a recovering addict, then you should do it. Remember that no one is completely invulnerable to relapse. Telling people that you don’t drink or use drugs can help you avoid risky situations where you might be tempted. It’s often a better choice than finding yourself in those situations and having to say no.
New Method Wellness is a dual diagnosis treatment center that provides a wide range of therapies and modalities to work through the challenges and obstacles faced by those in addiction recovery.