Repairing relationships in addiction recovery requires courage. Many people who have damaged a relationship believe time alone will heal the wounds created. Simply put, this is not true. The person who you hurt needs to know you are doing the work. They also want to know you are sincere with your intentions. This requires you to invest time and energy into making things right.
While there are often issues both people need to work on, rebuilding the relationships after rehab, the responsibility lies on the person who caused the damage. Having guilt or remorse is not enough. However, you must put in the effort and learn how to repair a relationship. You have to prove you are becoming someone they can trust again.
Offer an Apology
With an apology, we can work on repairing relationships in addiction recovery that come our way. While an apology is not a quick fix, it is the first step to restoring a healthy, guilt-free relationship.
If you plan to apologize, you likely did something to upset, frustrate, offend, disappoint, or cause distress to someone else. The key to a sufficient apology is focusing on the other person’s needs and not your own needs.
If possible, plan a date and time to meet alone with each person. Keeping the apology one-on-one will show respect for the person and the situation. Scheduling time in advance allows you to be more deliberate and less impulsive.
Making an apology is simple but not easy. For instance, there are five critical steps to creating an apology.
- Start with, “I’m sorry.”
- Express regret.
- Acknowledge your awareness of breaking an expectation or social norm.
- Show empathy surrounding the impact of your actions
- Request their forgiveness.
Many individuals find writing what they need to apologize for helpful. This helps them practice the apology for each reason using the five steps above.
No matter where the conversation goes, try to keep your attention on the goals of your apology. Having your list of what you need to remember in the apology is helpful here. You will both have something to say. However, getting through everything you need to apologize for is essential. Do not let the conversation distract you from the goal of your discussion.
Also, you only need to apologize for the things you regret. Apologizing for something you do not regret is insincere at best, and deceitful at worst.
An apology is not making amends. Amends is about fixing the damage created in the past. Amends is about setting things right with the person you hurt. Empty gestures and empty promises will only generate more strain on the relationship. You cannot undo the damage you caused by only offering amends. It would help if you acted on your amends. Make sure the amends you submit can be fulfilled in a reasonable, agreed-upon time frame. Then follow through.
Also, be mindful of how much you offer during your amends. Guilt can often lead us to give more than necessary. We often believe if we do more, our sincerity will be more obvious. However, this is not always the case.
The person you hurt will look for clear, unmistakable signs you are invested in doing the work to repair your relationship.
While offering your apology and amends, be mindful. Remember to listen actively. Active listening is listening to understand. You are listening to respond, not to react. Pay attention to non-verbal queues and emotions. These details will help you provide a sincere apology. Offering empathy is easier if you are mindful of what is going on during the discussion.
A helpful tip to remember when rebuilding relationships after rehab is showing you understand what the other person must have experienced. All too often, those who hurt someone want the other person to forgive and forget. They want to move on quickly and pretend this never happened. However, it is not that easy. The person you hurt needs to know you understand their pain.
Keep Putting the Work In
Time does not heal all wounds unless you put the work into helping them heal. The person you hurt needs to know you are putting in the work. They need to see you are putting in the time and energy to resolve the concerns they have. This does not mean you need to arrange an excessive display showing you are more responsible than before. Often, the tiny things count for more than the grand gesture. Things like spending time with someone, actively listening to them, and making amends is all they need.
Ultimately, repairing relationships in addiction recovery can help you learn the behavior and actions that influence your friends and family the most. Showing you are committed and consistent in work to mend this relationship will show you are genuinely invested. It shows them you are sincere with your apology. This commitment makes the relationship better than ever.
If you, or someone you love, are suffering from addiction then contact us today. Our specialists can help you get on the right track for you and your needs.
Do You Have the Skills to Rebuild?
Apologies and amends are difficult. They can bring up emotions which cloud our mind. If you are not in a clear mind, relapse is possible.
While offering an apology is important, there is no timeline for how quickly you must apologize. There will be times when it is more important to focus on you. Your recovery is, and will always be, the most important goal. If you are struggling with the day of the apology, then reschedule. If the idea of apologizing creates intense emotions or sends you into a panic attack, step back. Take a breath. Talk to a professional about your fears. Get guidance and support before going ahead with making amends.
During rehab, they will teach you many skills. Just because they have taught you skills do not mean you are 100% ready to take on the world. And this is OK! In reality, no one is ready to take on the world 100% of the time. However, if you notice you are having excessive worry about going forward, you need to see this as a sign to check in with your sponsor or mental health professional.
Sometimes, it doesn’t seem right to apologize for doing something when the other person hurts you first. Often, we end up reacting in a vengeful way. First, it’s important to apologize whether you were the first person to start the problem.
Forgiveness is a challenging thing for most of us. Letting go of hurt, resentment, or anger is not the easiest thing for any of us. However, forgiveness is the alternative to hating yourself or experiencing guilt for the rest of your life. Forgiveness will allow you to move on. It will enable you to be free of the anger in your heart. If you are not free of these powerful emotions, you are more likely to drink or use drugs again.
Besides helping you stay sober, practicing forgiveness can support your mental health and your heart health. Plus, symptoms of anxiety and depression are less.
As you forgive those who have hurt you, you’ll no longer define yourself as someone with this hurt.
The biggest thing to remember about forgiveness is forgiving. Someone does not mean you forget what has happened or are excusing what has occurred.
Just because you forgive someone does not mean you have to have this person in your life.
Remember, you cannot force someone to forgive you. But if you can forgive them for hurting you in the first place, it will help you rebuild relationships after recovery. You do not need to go through recovery alone. Addiction is a tough battle, do not try to face it alone. Call our experts today and we can help you get on and stay on the path to sobriety.
Time to Move On
When Things Are Going Well
If the apology goes well, and you are rebuilding family relationships, this is worth celebrating! You did the hard thing, and it turned into something useful. Hold on to this as you continue forward with other apologies.
While there is a natural high when your apology and amends is accepted, this does not mean you can stop trying. You must continue to show your growth and rebuild the trust lost during your addiction. Having your apology accepted does not mean this person will trust you. Trust is something only time, and actions can heal.
How to rebuild relationships:
- Keep track of—and acknowledge—birthdays, anniversaries, or any other important date.
- Follow through on your promises to attend events.
- Get involved in a new hobby or community service program.
- Communication goes two ways, be sure to reach out to them and ask about what is happening in their life.
When Things aren’t Going Well
Despite your best intentions, it is possible the other person does not want a relationship with you. However, if this happens, do your best to apologize. Then let them go. It is healthier for both of you to move on. The critical thing is apologizing. While they may say they want the relationship to be over, they might still come back around after time passes. Sometimes when a person is hurt, space and time are needed to heal.
Remember, what happened in the past is the past. You have grown. You have new experiences. Sobriety is your new life. Having a sober life does not mean you have to be stuck in a world of who you once were.
Rebuilding family relationships is difficult. Staying respectful and honest, while disagreeing is essential.
Detaching yourself from negative results is important. Do not let one person’s rejection shatter you or cause you to relapse. While losing a friend or family member is difficult to process, remember how many people are still around supporting you and your recovery.
Contrary to the way Hollywood makes relationships appear, keeping a quality relationship is not so easy. Regardless of who caused or contributed more to the problem, an essential part of your recovery restores critical relationships.
Finally, remember that both you and the other party have animosity toward each other (or at least used to). You know specific triggers get to that person—be an adult and avoid pushing those buttons, no matter how badly you are tempted.
To summarize, apologizing, making amends, and forgiveness is tricky skills for anyone. It’s essential to have support from a neutral third party during this time. Someone who can help guide you through these situations. Possibly someone who can mediate if you’re afraid to do this alone. If you are ready to go forward, rebuilding relationships with family after rehab, call us at 912-214-3867. We have years of experience navigating these challenging life moments. You can get started on repairing relationships in addiction recovery. We’d love to prepare you for this journey.
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