Addiction is a problem that can affect all aspects of a person’s life including their relationships with loved ones. People who have an issue with substance abuse often struggle to maintain healthy connections to others especially their family. For various reasons there may be a distance that develops between the addict and their family members but recovery offers them a chance to rekindle their connection.
When you are dealing with an addiction, your desire to continue using drugs often takes priority over everything else. You may care less about your job, your health and the people in your life because you are so focused on getting your next fix.
Family relationships tend to suffer because of addiction. There may be arguments and fights with tension and anger that remains unresolved. Addicts may begin to avoid talking to their family members and isolate themselves instead especially if they are being confronted by them about their substance abuse.
If you feel that your family relationships are distant, difficult or tense then recovery is a good time to work through some of these issues. Most rehab programs incorporate family members into therapy so that the addict can work through any problems that may be causing strained relationships. Family issues can hold you back from achieving a full recovery so it is important to resolve these problems in order to remain sober.
Making Amends for the Past
One of the most important parts of reconnecting with family when you are in recovery is addressing any times in the past that you have wronged them. Throughout your addiction you may have behaved in ways that hurt your family or made it difficult for them to trust you.
If you lied, stole money, said hurtful things or were unfaithful then you will have to own up to these mistakes and ask for forgiveness. It will take time for family members to rebuild their trust in you and believe that you have changed but asking to make amends will help start the process.
In the past when you were in the midst of your addiction you may not have been remorseful or truly apologized to your family. Admitting that you were wrong and that your behavior as an addict was unacceptable can help change the dynamic and allow family to open up to you again.
Open Up and Be Vulnerable
One of the best ways to connect with people is to show them your vulnerable side and be honest about your true feelings. While you were addicted you may have developed a habit of hiding what was going on in your life so that you could keep pursuing your substance abuse.
If you struggled with talking about feelings in the past then therapy can help you open up and learn to be more connected with yourself and others. Individual therapy sessions can help you gain a better understanding of your own issues so that you can talk about them with family members.
When people are abusing substances, they are often using drugs as a way to numb their feelings and be shut off from painful emotions. Learning to deal with these feeling in more constructive ways including talking about them with family members is a crucial element of recovery. As you become better at opening up you will find that you feel a deeper connection with your loved ones.
Focus on Positive Actions
As much as discussing issues with family members can help you reconnect, sometimes the best way to rebuild trust is through your actions more than words. Recovery is the time to prove that you can be a better version of yourself and be more responsible and accountable.
You can prove yourself by always being somewhere when you say you will and showing up for important events. Being on time, keeping your word and showing that you are someone they can count on will help your family move on from issues of the past.
Focusing on positive actions can also mean helping out more around the house and being more generous with your time and attention. Instead of thinking about yourself and what you want you can begin to consider others and what would make them happy. These small efforts can go a long way to help you be more connected to your family.
Be Patient and Keep Working
Your relationships with family members may still be difficult at first as it can take a lot of time for them to get over events of the past. You need to try to accept their feelings and the anger they may still hold onto. Eventually the more time you spend talking and connecting with them the relationship will begin to improve.
As long as you are patient, open and always keep your promises you can enjoy more positive relationships with your family in recovery.