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What Are 3 Things to Keep in Mind Regarding Relationships in Recovery?

People in recovery are doing hard work on themselves but also repairing relationships. Relationships in aftercare require a lot of different kinds of work, even though some may need to be eliminated because they are toxic.  Keep in mind the most important thing in recovery is healing from addiction. Relationships are secondary. They are important to recovery, so it helps to have some tips on what to look for in relationships as the journey continues in recovery. 

Healthy Relationships

Healthy interpersonal relationships are a big component of post-addiction life. Without them, people feel isolated and alone. The right number of relationships can lead to improved mental health, a better immune system, and improved outlook on life. Relationships are fundamentally important, and no less so than in recovery and aftercare. They may be more important for people in recovery from addiction because of how they relate to others and need sober companions for the journey. 

Repairing Relationships

An important process in recovery is taking a life inventory. This means people that are known like social connections and family members should be documented. Every person who fits into those categories was affected by substance abuse or hurt by addiction.  They may even have contributed to it in some way. When it comes to repairing relationships in aftercare, the closer a person is to you, the harder reconciliation feels. When dealing with spouses or serious romantic partners, the issue requires a careful approach. A therapist will teach you that anger, hurt, and betrayal of addiction cannot be changed or forgotten. It is possible to create a new relationship from the shadow of the old one. This will not come easily and may be frustrating for both people. Everyone has to work hard and be patient with each other. Recovery is complicated and requires compromise. 

Make New Friends

The old adage of make new friends, but keep the old carries some weight for people in recovery. It allows a person to be intentional about who they spend time with. Even if friendships are no longer determined and driven by the use of drugs or alcohol, the people who were in your life may not be compatible with your new sober lifestyle. If their friendship was only around when you were drinking or using drugs, they likely have no place in your current life of sobriety without anything in common. Find some new ways to make friends:

  • Volunteer
  • Hobby groups
  • Spend time in nature
  • Host sober gatherings and invite friends of friends to join to expand social circle

Eliminate Enablers

There are relationships that will not sustain into the longer-term sobriety stages, no matter how hard you try. These enablers are people who encouraged substance abuse and self-destructive habits. They may still be enabling you. Being around enablers is dangerous for people in recovery. Potential relapse triggers are landmines, begging a person who is sober to step on them and blow everything up. If the enabler does not stop enabling, they will pressure you to keep drinking so they can keep caring for you because that is how they related to you.

Looking for friendships and relationships to repair themselves will not work in recovery. Instead, it is important to find a pathway of healing that works for you and your best friends and closest relationships Some are worth salvaging, while some are simply not salvageable and need to go. Be aware of when it is time to let go as it will be a favor to your sobriety to be open to this earlier rather than hang on too long and risk sobriety.

Guest House helps you navigate the challenging world of addiction recovery. Our goal is to help you find hope and healing on the other side of addiction with our holistic program focusing on the rehab, recovery, and aftercare parts of the addiction journey. For more information about sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call 855-483-7800.