Addiction is a disease and, often, it becomes a family disease.
This means that the condition doesn’t simply impact the life and health of the person who is addicted, but it can have profoundly negative effects on the addict’s family as well. As a result, many relationships are significantly – potentially irreparably – damaged by addiction.
The good news is that, through addiction recovery treatment, you can repair those important relationships that have been strained or destroyed by addiction. In Boise, Moonlight Mountain Recovery helps people free themselves from the bonds of substance abuse and addiction.
Here’s what you need to know about relationships broken by addiction and how to repair them.
How Addiction Damages Family Bonds & Relationships
When someone in the family develops an addiction, it does not simply impact that person in a vacuum. The type of substance a person abuses doesn’t matter either — not when discussing it from the perspective of addiction as a family challenge, and how it affects those people who are closest to the addict.
Addiction is a type of disease that disrupts normal family life and routines. When a person lives with someone who is battling an addiction, that person must also deal with the addict’s erratic behavior, mood swings, etc. when they’re sober and when they’re drunk or high. They may even have to care for the addict continually, as the addict recovers from using drugs or drinking.
In addition to dealing with the physical manifestations of addiction, close friends and family members must endure a variety of psychological attacks at the hands of an addicted loved one.
One example of this phenomenon is the way an addict may lie about how much they’re using or even lie about using at all. This is a common tactic that addicts use to manipulate those closest to them. Addicts may lie to get what they need in order to keep using (such as money or a place to stay), and that only strains family or close friend relationships further.
It’s normal for family members to want to help a loved one who is battling addiction, and so they step in to help. It can take some time before they realize the depth of the addiction, especially since the early stages of addiction can be so subtle. Addicts can also be very adept at convincing family members that disturbing incidents are isolated and won’t happen again.
Unfortunately, in almost every case, these incidents will – and do — happen again.
All of these aspects of addiction actively involve family members and are the reasons that relationships often become strained between addicts and their families.
How to Rebuild Familial Bonds in Addiction Recovery
One of the keys to healing from an addiction is to rebuild the trust that was lost between the addict and their family members.
Whoever you hurt, let down, disappointed, or caused a disruption to must be addressed as a part of your recovery. Part of the recovery process involves helping the addict come to terms with the ways their lives will not improve immediately when they stop using drugs and alcohol. Another critical component of recovery is that you must take responsibility for the things that happened when you were actively using alcohol or drugs. This includes addressing how you harmed those people you love most.
While it is true that addiction is a disease — and that the cycle of addiction impacted your choices that drove people away — those events still harm relationships with friends and family, those facts must be addressed.
Making Amends in Addiction Rehab & Recovery
There are several things you can do on your part to work towards making amends with those you love, including the following.
Make your expectations realistic.
If you’re newly sober and excited about your progress, you likely aren’t yet focusing on the past. However, it’s also highly likely that your family may still be mired down in the pattern of negative behavior you took part in. Issues such as these can’t be solved overnight, so make sure you view any action taken toward rebuilding relationships in your life as a positive one — even if it doesn’t fix everything.
Understand that repairing bonds takes time.
Rebuilding trust with the important people in your life takes time. You may have betrayed your loved ones’ trust by lying, stealing or simply putting your disease of addiction first. Any time trust has been betrayed, especially repeatedly, rebuilding it is likely to be a lengthy process.
Learn to communicate in a healthy way.
Communication is not a one-way street. It takes two people to communicate, both talking and listening. When you’re listening to someone else speak, make sure you’re really hearing them and doing what it takes to understand what they’re saying to you. Wait for a pause before you interject and ask questions or say what you need to communicate.
Shed unhealthy relationships.
Not every relationship in your life is a healthy one and the unhealthy ones aren’t going to help you on the road to recovery. Recognize this, identify any that are problematic, and cut ties with those people who you have a negative impact in your life. This allows you to focus on your own recovery.
In treatment, you can work on healthy communication methods and other skills that you can put to use in your life, as you work to rebuild relationships with loved ones.
Relationships That May Require Attention & Repair
Some of the most common types of relationships that you may need to work on are listed below. These may not come as a surprise, but it is important that you identify and address those that are applicable to your situation.
- Spouses or intimate partners
Reach out to the people in your life that you want to rebuild a relationship with and be honest about what it is you want. Furthermore, don’t beat yourself up about the past – you cannot change it. Instead, focus on going forward in your life and making it a point to initiate contact with the people in your life that mean the most.
If you seek help from a reputable drug treatment and rehab center, you will have many resources at your disposal, to help you with these and other critical tasks of a successful recovery program.
In the Boise area, Moonlight Mountain Recovery offers personalized drug detox and recovery programs. Our holistic approach ensures that you have the opportunity to identify and address the underlying cause of your addiction, rather than simply treating the symptoms. Contact us today to learn more about our addiction recovery programs in Boise, Idaho.