The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that 23.5 million people over the age of 12 required treatment for substance abuse in 2009 in the United States. Relationships are often broken by the lying, stealing, cheating, violence, and manipulation that addiction causes. These interpersonal issues will have to be repaired before the addicted person can become a part of the family group or groups of friends.
The first step in repairing your relationships is to get professional help for your addiction from a alcohol and drug rehabilitation center. Only after you have detoxified your body and returned to normal thinking and behavior will you be in a position to understand how the addiction has affected people around you. A drug treatment facility will offer the counseling you need to deal with the issues that caused you to become addicted, and can offer practical information on restoring you work, family, and social life to full function.
Put Your Life Back Together
After treatment, you can slowly begin to take on the duties and challenges of normal life without substance abuse. Restoring your work skills and reputation can be difficult, and it is a situation where the support of family and friends can be critical. However, if they are not yet able to offer their help, find others who can offer support for your efforts. Counselors and other people who are dealing with these same problems can provide the encouragement and compassion you need to deal with difficulties on this journey.
Avoid People and Situations That Cause Relapse
During recovery, people frequently experience strong cravings for their substance of choice. Relapse rates can be as high as 50 to 90 percent, depending on the type of substance and length of abuse. Relapses often occur and can threaten to undo all the work toward sobriety that has been accomplished. Many people find that avoiding old friends and situations associated with the substance abuse can help to prevent these relapses. Then, the individual can concentrate on putting events of the past behind them and focusing on the future.
Find Ways To Say You’re Sorry
Sometimes, the words “I’m sorry” can mend a great deal of injured feelings. However, a simple apology may not be enough for years of stress and emotional injury that family and friends may have had to endure. Don’t be discouraged if your heartfelt apologies aren’t accepted. The pain of dealing with an addict goes deep and takes time to repair. Do your best to let the person know you truly regret any pain you have caused with short notes or occasional phone calls to inquire how they are. A small gift for their birthdays or Christmas can show you care and want to resume a healthy relationship with them.
Give Family and Friends Space
Each person involved with an addicted person must deal with the aftermath in their own way. You may not be aware of the deep emotions that addiction has provoked in the family member or friend. Make occasional contact and allow the people to deal with their own feelings about resuming the relationship. Encourage them to get counseling to help resolve old issues.
Work On Your Own Issues
Recovery from addiction does not occur as a single event or period of time. It is an ongoing process that requires a concentrated effort and intense desire to return to a normal path of life. If you work on your own issues, you will better understand the difficulties that friends and family have experienced in dealing with your addiction. This skill of empathy can help you to regain your former relationships.