Addiction causes harm in many ways. One of the most devastating consequences of addiction is the destroyed relationships left in the wake of an addict’s behavior. The good news is: there is hope! Once you commit to recovery, you can rebuild the relationships you have damaged. Addicts tend to develop habits of secrecy and lying to protect their ability to pursue their addiction. These habits become so strong, addicts tend to lie even when it is not necessary to protect their addiction. As as a result, relationships suffer and break down completely. The effect is often worst with those who are the most inclined to care about you and love you unconditionally. That “unconditional” love keeps family member coming back for more abuse until they have finally had all they can take and turn their back on an addict. That is a painful rebuke. Fortunately, it does not have to be permanent, if you commit to recovery. Let’s take a look at how to rebuild family trust.
Don’t Be Impatient – Rebuilding Family Trust Takes Time
Your family members will not be ready to forgive you right away. You will definitely need to get clean and sober first. Trying to rebuild trust when you are not in stable recovery is very counterproductive. Once you are clean, you will still need to wait. Your family will need some time and some distance. They will need to see that your recovery is real.
You will have plenty of work to do on your own to rebuild your capacity to function without addiction. You need to relearn to be grateful and relearn how to process emotions that you have been suppressing. This will help you appreciate your family without making demands and manage emotions that arise over past wounds. You will also learn to accept what you cannot control. This is important when attempting to rebuild family trust. Sometimes, with some family members, it may take a long time, or it may never happen. You need to be prepared to accept these things that are beyond your control and make your best effort without placing expectations on the results.
We highly recommend that you see a qualified addiction and recovery therapist who focuses on family issues. You can participate in a family therapy program while in rehab. After that is done, do not resist if your family wants some time and distance to process what they learn and assure themselves that you are going to stick with your recovery plan.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Rebuilding family trust can be a fraught and emotional process. Work on yourself first. Then work you your relationships. When the time comes to re-engage, you will have practiced what you have learned about acceptance, your inability to control others, and how to work through your own emotions without lashing out at others. You may need to live together for practical reasons, but you can avoid demanding a complete deep engagement until you and your family are ready.
Make A Plan to Rebuild Family Trust
While you are practicing your recovery skills, you can make a plan to rebuild trust with your family. You might want to identify who will be the easiest person to recreate trust with and start working together with them first. Think honestly about how you have let them down, without beating yourself up or being ashamed- that doesn’t help. Consider how you can approach them and remember you can’t control other people, so plan to accept their reactions.
We highly recommend you make your plan with the assistance of a family therapist who specializes in addiction recovery. They can guide you through the process of identifying what you need to own, and when. They can suggest the best way to make amends, and help you make a commitment to doing the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing. If you make amends with the goal of manipulating people into forgiving you, you are not really making amends. And that can backfire, generating mutual resentment if they are unable and unwilling to forgive you. You also need to realize that your family members are not necessarily going to be reasonable about this. They may have issues of their own. They may angrily blame you for things that are not your fault. You need to sort out what is real and what is not. That’s easy for us to say, and easy for you to read. But to really internalize this, you need the guidance of a skilled therapist.
Be Honest About Your Past
You can’t rebuild trust without first being honest. The first step is to admit to yourself where you have gone astray and mistreated family members, been emotionally distant, taken advantage of them or lied to them. The second step is to approach them and express your willingness to go over this with them, and explain that doing so is an important part of your recovery and will help you stay clean. While you do need to be honest about things that involve them, you don’t need to horrify them with all the details of your life as an addict. A good family therapist can help you assess what you need to share, and what is better left unsaid.
Find Ways To Make Amends
Once you have made an honest inventory of what you have done wrong, you can start thinking of ways to make amends. Rebuilding trust often takes more than just an apology. Sometimes you have to take action to put things right. This may require work or financial sacrifice or both. But it will feel good and help you stay on the course of recovery. Make sure you make amends for the sake of putting things right, not just to regain acceptance. Sincere amends support recovery. Manipulation doesn’t.
Commit To Being Completely Honest Going Forward
There is no point in rebuilding trust just to break it again. Make a personal commitment to yourself to place honesty above convenience or expediency. There are a million ways to rationalize a lie. Don’t do it. Face the truth, even when it is painful or inconvenient. With effort, you may be able to completely avoid relapse. If you do relapse, your pre-commitment to honesty can help you share the truth with your family and get back on the road to recovery sooner, and without destroying again what you have just rebuilt. Honesty is your friend. Addiction is not. You know this. That’s why you are here reading this.
Recognize You Have A Problem And Take A Step Towards Recovery Today
You know you have a problem. You know it has cost you some of your most important relationships. But you can solve this problem and rebuild those relationships. You know it will be hard to fix, but we are here to tell you: you can do it and we can show you how. Take the first step on the road to a better life. Learn more about our Rehab Program in Bali for recovering from addiction backed with our evidence-based family therapy program and make a plan.
If you or someone you care about has a problem with drugs or alcohol or any other form of addiction, call one of our experts today on (toll-free Australia) 1800 288 348 or +62 8124678 or email us at [email protected] and we will call you.