Building Healthy Relationships Post-Recovery

One of the biggest challenges recovering addicts face is trying to rebuild those special relationships with the people closest to them. At Arizona Addiction Recovery Center, we encourage our clients and their families to enroll in our family guidance and counseling program, in an effort to heal as a unit.

The program is designed to involve both the addict and their family members, with the primary goal of strengthening the family unit as a whole. An important component in preventing a recovering addict from relapsing is continuous support from family and good friends. It can never be stressed enough how important it is to establish a strong support system during this time. Good relationships are very important, and it’s crucial to foster them during treatment and aftercare.

We know it’s not easy for recovering addicts to recreate and rebuild these important relationships in their lives. We also understand that it’s difficult to cut ties with those that were once a part of your life, but are now hindering your recovery. Addictions are extremely damaging, and these consequences extend far beyond the life of the addicts themselves. The addict needs to take into consideration the fact that the repercussions of their actions affect those around them just as much.

With that being said, it is important for a recovering addict to understand which relationships to keep and which ones to dissolve altogether.

Relationships To Fix and Keep

building healthy relationshipsRevisiting your past during recovery is difficult but necessary. You’ll need to address uncomfortable situations and issues, including relationships that suffered because of your addiction. The people you stopped talking to, the ones you’ve wronged, the friends you’ve hurt. This is when you should sit down with a counselor and utilize their professional assistance to determine which relationships you need to rebuild.

The next step is finding concrete ways to repair those relationships. This is one area where you will need a significant amount of help, as rebuilding relationships can be difficult in general. It becomes even more challenging when these relationships fell apart because of an addiction you continued to pursue, despite its negative consequences to those around you. Loved ones may harbor resentment towards you because of your choices. But by using the right approach, reconciliation is possible.

We often advise recovering addicts to stay patient and strong because this process requires time, understanding, and forgiveness. While you may be ready to take the step towards reconciling with family members, friends, or a spouse, understand that they may not be ready or willing to do the same just yet. It is important to understand that some people take more time than others in these situations. Forgiveness plays a huge role in reconciliation, and is something that must be genuine and not forced whatsoever. A person must be able and willing to forgive you, and that can take time. Addictions aren’t fixed overnight, and relationships are the same way.

New Relationships to Build

Recovery allows you to make important life decisions, which includes deciding which people you should continue to maintain relationships with. While it may be difficult to cut certain people out of your life, it will be necessary. Any friends, relatives, family members, or significant others who engage in activities that led to your addiction in the first place should be kept at bay. It doesn’t matter if they’re a boyfriend, a sibling, an aunt, a cousin: if they played a part in aiding your addiction, they need to be cut off.

But just because old relationships end doesn’t mean new ones can’t be found. If anything, you now have a chance to create better and healthier relationships with people that will elevate your quality of life. You can meet people with the same interests and same life path, and they might even play a part in making your recovery that much better.

Our counselors offer guidance on the how to establish these new connections. We encourage our patients to do so by engaging in volunteer opportunities. Nothing is more gratifying than giving back to the community, especially for a recovering addict who is struggling with feelings of shame and guilt. By helping those in need, it makes a recovering addict feel like they are atoning for their past sins or wrong-doings.

Therefore, we encourage clients in aftercare to look for opportunities that allow them to engage with others in positive ways. Participating in community service projects is a great way to create healthy relationships with other recovering addicts or people who have similar goals.

Relationships You Need To Get Rid Of

As we mentioned, to succeed in recovery and maintain long-term sobriety you’ll need to cut ties with certain people. While it’s difficult to end relationships with people you’ve known most of your life, if they don’t encourage your sobriety, they will only derail your progress. No matter how hard it is, keeping these people in your life will do nothing for your recovery other than remind you of your past vices.

If you have friends that are not supportive of your recovery, it’s time to make new friends: maintaining relationships with enablers puts you on a fast track to self-sabotage. These are the same people who will pressure you into going back to your old ways, unaware and insensitive to the fact that you are still healing. For example, if you’re stressed out or anxious, an enabler may convince you to take the edge off by getting high. These are the type of people you cannot afford to be around if your goal is to live a sober life.

Separating The Good from the Bad

Just because someone was a part of your life when you were addicted doesn’t mean they’re looking to sabotage your efforts of staying sober. However, if they are intentionally acting in enabling ways and their addictive behavior remains the same, you must move on without them.

The most difficult components of addiction recovery are the continuous sacrifices you’ll have to make. As painful as this may seem, the only other option is to continue being around the people whose behaviors only increase your chances of a relapse. If your goal is to stay sober, you have to bear the burden of having to let these people know you can no longer participate in events that remind you of your old lifestyle. This means turning down invitations to hangouts, parties, clubs, or bars where you may be tempted to drink or use drugs. Avoiding these situations entirely is the best way to ensure sobriety.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction or life post-treatment, Arizona Addiction Recovery Center can help. We’re always here to lend a helping hand, whether you’re embarking on the journey to recovery or you need additional support after having completed your program. For more information on the full scope of our services, call us today.