I thought the hardest thing I would ever do was to take those first steps to recovery. I had an anxiety attack on my way to rehab. I just kept telling myself that it had to get better from there, that having hit my lowest point in my life, I had nowhere to go but up. For the most part, that was true. However, I didn’t count on the guilt I would feel after I started getting my head together. My addiction had hurt so many people. In therapy, I had to come face to face with how much pain I had caused and try to figure out how I could begin to make amends. I was plagued by questions like, “What if they refuse to allow me to speak to them?” “What if they don’t accept my apology?” “What if they never trust me again?” Fortunately, my therapist explained to me there is a lot more to mending those fences than just an apology. He explained that just as I had to come to terms with my addiction in my own time, my loved ones’ journey to forgiveness has to come in their time. I learned that I had to show them I was sincere in maintaining my sobriety by the choices I made from here on out and how I live my life. Meanwhile, I had a lot of work to do. I had to develop new coping mechanisms instead of relying on alcohol, and I had to work through my emotional triggers that related to my friends and family that led to my drinking in the first place.
My therapist helped me to do that and gave me a list of emotional tools I can use to stay sober while facing that kind of stress:
1. Forgive Yourself
You need to stop punishing yourself for what you did before recovery. If you want your family and friends to see the new you, it is important for you to develop a positive attitude.
2. Repeated Apologies are Not Necessary
There is a reason why you learn to understand your emotional triggers and how to handle them while in therapy. You are then in a position to be a living example over time of how you have changed. Apologize once, after you have demonstrated this.
3. Learn How to Listen
As addicts, we become masters at making excuses for our behavior and blowing off what others have to say. Listening to others helps them in their own process where their relationship with you is concerned.
4. Don’t Be a Know-It-All
As we examine our own issues, we suddenly begin to see everyone else’s faults. We want them to recognize their faults, too. But they are not asking for this feedback, so keep your opinions to yourself.
5. Accept what You Cannot Change
Some people will simply no longer trust or feel safe around you. The best thing you can do is respect their space. By doing so, you demonstrate change, which may influence them to reconnect with you in the future.
6. Believe in the Process
Not everything is going to go your way in any relationship. Embrace the process by stopping yourself from falling into bad patterns of behavior when you are disappointed.
7. Love Yourself and Be Loved
We all need and deserve love. By believing that, you make yourself more lovable. By following the tips above, I was able to successfully repair most of my relationships and also make some new ones. While it was a difficult process, the rewards were definitely worth it. If you or a loved one is struggling in rebuilding relationships with the family, contact us at Oceanfront Recovery today! We offer a family program that provides a safe space for healing to begin, starting the process of family reintegration. The support that a family provides to a patient recovering from addiction is essential to that patient’s success. Call us now and experienced intake advisors will speak with you at 877-279-1777 today.