During a battle with substance abuse or addiction, broken trust is inevitable. Addiction by definition changes the brain, impairing judgment and impulse control. Usually, the people we care about most have the deepest wounds.
As anyone who loves or lives with an addict knows, trust begins to fray when the addict begins sneaking around, telling white lies or trying to minimize their substance abuse. As the issue gets worse, the addict has to tell more lies in order to keep the facade intact. Even if the person never commits deliberately deceptive acts like stealing money, lying or cheating, they may suddenly realize that the seemingly harmless half-truths and coverups have manifested elsewhere in their life, and they have created a tangled web.
Rebuilding trust after addiction is hard, but it is not impossible. Here are some tips, both for recovering addicts and for the people who love them.
Rebuilding trust in recovery
During recovery, you will learn to live in a new way. Whether you have elected inpatient rehab or outpatient therapy, you’ll learn the tools to stay sober and how to navigate relationships of those closest to you. Here are a few tips to think about:
- Remember, it will take time
Trust takes a long time to build but can be broken in an instant. It’s very important to be patient with yourself and those around you. This holds especially true if you have been in recovery more than once.
- Be honest
This is probably the most difficult part of regaining someone’s trust. In order to move forward, you must come clean about your past transgressions — even ones they may not know about. This does not come easily to us humans, but it’s the only way to truly move forward with a clean slate. You should also go one step further and try to make amends wherever you can, to rectify the situation.
- Pledge to be honest — and stick to it
Now that you’ve been honest, expressed remorse. and rectified past mistakes where you can, it’s time to turn the page. The last step in building back that trust is to keep your word moving forward.
How to trust a recovering addict
Family members know the roller coaster of addiction all too well. There’s no doubt that addiction puts a huge strain on a family. Many friends and family members of addicts fall into the trap of either trying to control the addiction or the other extreme of enabling him or her. No matter what, resentment builds while the friend or family member tries to pick up the pieces. If this is you, consider the following:
- Understand the nature of addiction
Remember, as hurt or frustrated as you may be, the disease of addiction has nothing to do with you. They don’t reflect on anything you’ve done or haven’t done, and they don’t even really reflect on the addict. Rather, they’re a result of the changes addiction has done to their brain.
- Set healthy boundaries
Even if addiction isn’t your fault, boundaries are key for a healthy relationship moving forward. A lack of firm boundaries opens you up to further abusive behavior.
- Accept that rebuilding trust takes time
Just like the addict, you must also remember that building and rebuilding trust takes time. With patience, you can learn to trust a recovering addict again.
People in recovery often say that feeling ashamed of their behavior while using, keeps them using because they don’t want to face the difficult truth. As difficult as it may seem, acknowledging that there’s a problem is the first step. Whether you yourself are struggling with addiction, or you have a loved one whom you suspect may have a problem, we can help. Addiction takes a toll on the entire family, and professional help is necessary for winning the battle. Contact a qualified specialist at United Recovery Project today to learn more about your options.