If you’re currently struggling with or in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse, odds are that some of your relationships have gotten a bit strained. Addiction can take over a person’s life, making everything else seem secondary to getting that next drink or reaching the next high. It’s not uncommon for people to neglect household chores and parenting responsibilities in favor of using or seeking out their substance of choice. You may have lost your job as a result of your addiction and found yourself unable to contribute to rent or bills. If things got particularly bad, maybe you borrowed money that you knew you couldn’t return or even found yourself stealing from your friends and family to finance your habit. Repairing your relationships isn’t going to be easy, but there are some things you can to increase your chances of success.
Don’t just say you’re sorry – prove it. It’s easy to say the words, but backing them up with actions is another story. Did you steal or borrow money? Work on paying it back, even if all you can manage is a few dollars at a time. Did you neglect all of your household duties? Try doing things around the house without being asked. If you aren’t sure what you can do to make things up to the person you’ve wronged, you can always ask them, or you can discuss it with a therapist or sponsor. If necessary, you can even try bringing a therapist in to facilitate the conversation or attending counseling with your friend or loved one.
Prove that you can be trusted. This is going to take some time, but if you promise to make things up to someone and then follow through, it will go a long way toward repairing the relationship. Whether you’ve promised to keep attending meetings or to paint the house, what’s important is that you continue showing them that your word can be trusted. If you find yourself unemployed after completely substance abuse treatment, finding a job and contributing financially is always a good step. It doesn’t matter if it’s not your dream job or even something you can see yourself doing long term. What matters is that you’re putting in the effort and showing that you’re willing to work and able to do it reliably without your substance abuse getting in the way.
Keep in mind that no matter how badly you want to repair a relationship, timing is important. If you’re still using drugs or drinking, you probably aren’t going to be able to follow through on your promises. Even if you’re in recovery, it can take a while before you learn how to deal with the cravings and triggers well enough to return to a “normal” life. There’s a reason why making amends isn’t the first step in 12-step programs.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.