Achieving sobriety is possible for individuals struggling with substance use disorder (SUD). Overcoming the symptoms and side effects of substance misuse involves facing the consequences of past actions and repairing damage to relationships. The National Institute on Alcohol Addiction and Alcoholism (NIAAA) stated that “families may play a key role in fostering the initiation of recovery.” Rebuilding close relationships can decrease your risk of relapse by giving you a support system. However, what you say and do affects others, and every person is responsible for how they have acted. Therapy and treatment include identifying how you may have impacted others with your past choices and finding ways to make amends or move forward.
Identifying Healthy Relationships
According to Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment, “to reach and maintain abstinence, it is important to maintain positive relationships and to engage self-agency to protect oneself from the influences of negative relationships.” One way to do that is by recognizing positive influences and potentially healthy relationships. You may have grown apart from people in your life because of your addictive behaviors. Now you have the opportunity to reach out and bridge that gap by doing the following:
- Asking for forgiveness for harmful things you may have said or done
- Showing them through your actions that you have chosen to remain sober
- Attending support meetings, individual therapy, or family therapy to improve communication and self-awareness
Not all relationships are healthy, and not everyone requires an extensive support system to stay motivated in their recovery. You may feel perfectly content with one or two loving and supportive people in your life. Learn how to identify healthy relationships and do your best to avoid hurting others with your actions. You can do this by being honest and communicating.
Healthy Ways to Move Forward
Making reparations as part of the recovery journey will look different for everyone. Sometimes it is difficult to contact friends and family who may have been pushed away or grown distant. However, healing often includes finding ways to practice compassion, self-forgiveness, and forgiving others.
Some healthy ways to reconnect with others include:
- Updating friends and family about your choice to become sober
- Opening up a line of communication and being honest without having expectations
- Using resources like support groups and therapy to explore healthy boundaries
Most relationship issues result from both people doing or saying something hurtful, which means reconnecting with others means facing the pain you both experienced. The goal of recovery is to maintain sobriety, grow, and move forward each day.
Practice Patience and Compassion
It is essential to practice patience and compassion when interacting with others and during moments of self-reflection. Rehabilitation facilities that offer a safe space to explore social connections will help you explore personal growth and healing during recovery. Therapeutic tools provide insight, coping mechanisms, and emotional stability. The social skills learned during treatment make it easier for individuals to overcome barriers between themselves and the people they love. A few ways to heal broken relationships include:
- Actively listening to the other person’s point of view
- Being willing to accept blame for your choices
- Offering forgiveness to others and yourself
- Holding yourself accountable for past, present, and future actions
- Be ready to forgive yourself and others
Forgiveness is a common theme in the recovery community, and that is because forgiveness breaks down barriers and supports positive change.
Acknowledge Hurtful Mistakes
Forgiveness does not mean forgetting the past. What happened still matters and affects how you live and feel, but it does not have to control you. Being able to forgive others and accept forgiveness allows you to let go of any shame, guilt, regret, or self-loathing that might be holding you back from building a healthier future with that other person in your life.
A few ways to acknowledge the effect of mistakes include:
- Listening to how your words or actions made the other person feel
- Owning the consequences of your comments or actions
- Making a choice every day to not repeat past mistakes
Show Your Resolve to Sober Living
Humans are social creatures, and individuals in recovery will benefit from healthy connections. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “the support of peers and friends is . . . crucial in engaging and supporting individuals in recovery.” Mending relationships after achieving sobriety comes with a lot of vulnerability. Permitting yourself to take those steps will help you heal.
One way to show your resolve to a new way of life is by being a role model for others in the recovery community. Your friends and loved ones will see your choices and how your positive influence affects others. Your dedication to self-improvement will give others a reason to trust your sincerity when you try to repair damaged relationships.
The people who get hurt the worst by the effects of substance misuse are often the ones closest to us. At Sober Life, we understand the healing nature of forgiveness. The programs we offer include family therapy, social skills development, and therapeutic techniques for achieving emotion regulation. We encourage individuals to mend relationships with friends and loved ones that may have been damaged by the effects of SUD. Actively listening, communicating clearly, and choosing a healthier lifestyle provide you with a healthy foundation for change. Peer support is another excellent tool to boost your self-confidence and motivate you to repair damaged connections with the people in your life that mean the most to you. Sober Life offers rehabilitation treatment for individuals living in and around San Diego, California. Reach out to our office today to find out more about our facility and services by calling us today at (619) 542-9542