One of the biggest challenges for people in early recovery is learning how to reconnect with their family. They often feel badly about things they did and said during the addiction, which holds them back from rebuilding healthy relationships. It’s also common for people in early recovery to lack essential social skills because addiction isolated them for so long.
If you are having trouble connecting with your support circle, know that this is normal and will get easier over time. But, like all things in addiction recovery, you need to work at your relationships. Below are some helpful tips that will allow you to get closer to your family after completing rehab.
Make amends with those you hurt.
As you work the steps, you’ll find that forgiveness is a big part of the process. You must forgive yourself and others for the things that happened during your addiction. That said, keep in mind that you can’t control other people’s feelings. If they’re not ready to accept your apology, you will have to be patient and understanding.
Nevertheless, it’s still crucial to go through the forgiveness process. If you lied, stole money, said hurtful things, etc., be sure to apologize for your wrongdoings. Asking for amends is an important step in the family healing process, as it shows that you are aware of what you did wrong.
Build trust by keeping true to your word.
Trust is a big issue in relationships with addiction, and for good reason. When you were actively using drugs and alcohol, you probably lied a lot to your family and friends. Now that you are sober, you want them to trust you, but this trust needs to be re-established. The best way to do this is by keeping true to your word.
For example, if you tell your spouse that you’re going to pick up groceries for dinner, be sure to follow through. If you promise your parents that you’ll mow the lawn, make it happen. As your family sees you following through with your words, they will grow to trust you.
Open up and be vulnerable.
An effective way to rebuild ties is by being open and vulnerable with your family. They probably haven’t seen this side of you in a long time so it will be refreshing for everyone. Hopefully, your time in counseling will help you open up easier and enjoy genuine conversations with your loved ones.
Be patient and accept your loved one’s feelings.
When you get out of rehab, you might return home to a family that loves you but is still angry. Addiction affects the whole family, so remember that they are healing, too. Be patient and give them time to work through their emotions. By sticking to your recovery goals and staying true to your word, you’ll find that most wounds heal over time.
Show gratitude to your support circle.
It’s likely that your family saved you from your addiction, so you have a lot to be grateful for. It might not seem like it yet, especially as everything is still new, but take time each day to write down the things you are thankful for. This will help you shift your perspective to the positive things in your life, such as family, healthy meals and a roof over your head.
Additionally, be sure to let your loved ones know that you appreciate them. It’s nice to hear, and compliments will make you feel good, too. Plus, it costs literally nothing to share a nice comment, smile or hug with someone.
Move forward and focus on the future.
The past is the past. While it does influence your life today, moving forward allows you to create more time between you and your addiction. So, continue looking forward to your new life and healthy family bonds.
However, we do recommend taking things slowly – one day at a time. Rushing through things can cause you to feel overwhelmed or prevent you from living in the moment. The reality is that we don’t know what tomorrow holds, so enjoy what you have today and stay positive for what the future may hold.
Continue counseling and support groups.
In the early days of sobriety, you might feel like counseling and 12-step groups take up all your time. As you grow stronger in your recovery, you may not need all of this support. But for now, it’s invaluable to a healthy recovery.
Continue going to your individual and family counseling sessions. This allows you to work through unresolved trauma that you and your family may not have dealt with. Also, your support groups keep you grounded and allow you to practice essential social skills like active listening. Your family may also find comfort in joining their own support groups like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon.
Try new activities and hobbies.
Lastly, think of some things that you and your family can do together. Some ideas include playing board games, going to the movies, cooking meals and working outdoors. Or, consider donating your time to a cause that’s close to your heart. Surely, there are places in your community that could benefit from your time.
Spending these hours together will help your family grow closer. You’ll be reminded of what you love about each other and have new things to talk about. Remember, the best way to rebuild trust is through your actions – not your words.
Start or continue your journey with Acceptance Recovery Center
Acceptance Recovery Center’s motto is, “Healing the past. Transforming the future.” We realize that recovering from an addiction is a long process that involves many factors. That is why we have treatment solutions for people in all stages of recovery.
If you feel that you need more support, contact us to learn more about our relapse prevention and aftercare services. Or, start your recovery journey with us today – we will build you an individualized treatment plan that meets your unique needs.