Our addictions and mental health issues can cause us to create deep rifts in our relationships. When we are using and/or depressed, we can treat the people around us in ways we might not otherwise. We might be consumed with anger, bitterness and resentment that we unleash on the people around us. We might be filled with fear and anxiety that gets misdirected as frustration or impatience. When our relationships have suffered because of our addictions, how can we start to rebuild them once we’re in recovery?
Making amends is one of the core principles of many recovery programs, and it is an important step in healing our conflicts with loved ones. This requires humility and vulnerability. It can be really hard to accept that we’ve hurt other people. We can feel ashamed, remorseful and filled with regret. Reflecting on our wrongs, being forthcoming and honest, and apologizing to the people we’ve hurt can do a lot for our broken relationships.
When we’ve hurt others, we can find it really hard to forgive ourselves, but this is a hugely important step for rebuilding our relationships. We can’t move forward if we’re stuck hating ourselves and beating ourselves up for past mistakes. Try to remind yourself that you were hurting, and that it was your pain that caused you to hurt others. Give yourself the compassion and understanding you would give to other people. Work to have unconditional forgiveness for yourself.
When we’re working to heal our broken relationships, communication is one of the most important elements. Talk to your loved ones about your feelings. Don’t be afraid to tell them how you feel. You might be surprised at how much they want to try and understand. Our addictions can cause us to distance ourselves from people, to isolate and even cut people off. Our loved ones are usually so happy that we’ve returned and are communicating with them again. Allow them to express their feelings as well. There are probably years of things that haven’t been said. Listen with an open heart.
It takes time to rebuild relationships that have suffered the blows of addiction. It will take concerted energy and willingness on everyone’s parts. If conflicts arise, remember that this is normal, reasonable and understandable. You’ve all been through a lot. Be patient with yourself and with your loved ones.
Our treatment programs include various kinds of therapy, including family therapy. Call 1-888-986-7848 for more information.