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Relationship Changes in Early Recovery

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Relationships with friends, family, and co-workers are often a casualty of addiction and alcoholism. As an individual sinks deeper and deeper into substance abuse, the substances become the only thing that matters in his life. An addict will lie to people closest to him in order to cover his addictions or to convince them to help him procure drugs or alcohol. When an addict finally resolves to get sober, the people that he hurt while he was addicted will understandably be reluctant to treat the recovering addict as if nothing really happened. One of the greatest burdens that a recovering addict might face will be dealing with changes in his relationships during the initial phase of his recovery.

Early recovery can be marked by mood swings and emotional instability that can tax any relationship. A recovering addict who experiences a burst of sober clarity might rush headlong back to relationships that soured while he was on drugs or alcohol, only to discover that the people that he wants to reconnect with are not as anxious to establish that connection. Rebuilding old relationships in early recovery will require time and patience on the part of every party. Addiction recovery counselors will frequently recommend that recovering addicts or alcoholics who are trying to rebuild relationships should refrain from developing serious new relationships until their relationship to themselves and their family are more secure.

A recovering addict might be wracked by guilt, anger, or shame if he is unable to rebuild past relationships early in his recovery. As recovery progresses, an addict can and should make amends for the past damage that he has done, but he should not let his feelings in early recovery impede his attempts to rebuild relationships. Each party’s emotions will be fragile during an addict’s early recovery. Negative emotions can be acknowledged, but they should not be allowed to control the course of events. Alternately, both parties should try to empathize with and remain non-judgmental about the other party’s emotional state.

As an addict’s recovery takes stronger hold, he will grow in emotional intelligence and maturity. That growth, in turn, will facilitate stronger relationships as the recovering addict gains a new appreciation for the perseverance and patience that other parties in relationships will have exhibited. Relationships in a post-recovery world are often stronger and more intimate as a recovering addict develops his self-confidence and self-esteem through continued sobriety. At some point in an addict’s recovery, he will want to address the pain and discomfort that he caused when he was still abusing substances. A recovering addict’s desire and willingness to do this should be recognized as a symbol of emotional growth and as evidence of success in recovery.

Design For Change knows that you can change your life, one step at a time. If you are facing the reality of how your addiction has affected your relationships, it’s okay. You are not a failure for this. You can find victory over addiction by calling us today and planning your treatment. There is hope. You will find freedom. Call (877) 267-3646.

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