Treatment gave you much-needed clarity and time to reflect on the way addiction affected your life and the impact it had on those closest to you. Working through the guilt, anger, and shame you may feel because of your actions during the height of your substance use disorder takes an incredible amount of strength and forgiveness and is essential to starting the healing process with yourself. As you head towards recovery, you might be thinking about how to reconnect with people that you lost touch with during your illness and treatment process. Working to build these relationships back up and make them a part of your support network can appear emotionally daunting but ultimately worthwhile as you rebuild your life.
There will be people who are still bitter or angry towards you due to events that transpired while you were prioritizing your addiction. As you learned in counseling, it’s impossible to control their feelings, but it’s not entirely impossible to win them back over now that you are working so hard to improve yourself. People who genuinely deserve to be in your life will see your efforts and ease their grudges and resentment as a result. Often times, these people don’t understand the cognitive effects of addiction and perceive your past actions as deliberate betrayals, rather than your brain prioritizing substance use. This may take some time, but it’s helpful to communicate with them that you understand their feelings, but would like to work to improve the relationship.
Repairing bonds takes much longer than building them, which requires patience. That’s why building trust back up with people in your life will take some time and put you through various trials. Making realistic promises, no matter how small, and keeping them is one way to start. Committing to plans and following through, offering a helping hand when it’s needed, and adhering to boundaries as the process unfolds are all vital small steps towards rebuilding trust. During this time, it’s also important to know that some people will simply not respond to your efforts the way you’d hoped, no matter how hard you try. Don’t beat yourself up; move towards a different goal and let time pass before attempting to try again.
Accept the Now
There are things in your past that will have left a mark in history with many of the people in your life that were affected by your addiction. There’s nothing you can do to erase that fact, but that is okay. Don’t spend time trying to rewrite history; instead, move forward. There will be relationships you cannot salvage, and they will make room for new relationships to be made in the future. Don’t allow people who you are looking to reconnect with to hang shame over your head as you try to reestablish your relationship. Shame is destructive and can be triggering. Instead, look to preserve healthy connections with people who are on board to move forward with you on your healing path.
As you work to reconnect with friends and family, remain grateful for the opportunity to redefine your role in their lives after addiction treatment. You may be surprised at your own strength after treatment as you continue to work on yourself and maintain more fulfilling and enjoyable connections with others. For more information or to begin treatment, contact us today.