Rebuilding Trust After Addiction| September 16, 2016
Rebuilding Trust After Addiction
Addiction destroys not only the person living in it but also the people who care about that person the most. With drug use and alcohol, trust becomes something of the past, and relationships are based on lies and shadiness. It takes a long time to rebuild trust after addiction, and sometimes it can’t be rebuilt at all. If a relationship is worth it, it will be a fight to rebuild trust for an addict in recovery. With patients, love, hope, and some faith – it can be done.
When Trust is Gone
Trust is an incredibly different thing to get back once it is gone. In extensive addiction, addicts can lie, steal, and cheat their loved-ones, so it is no surprise that people end up walking away and losing all faith they had in that person. Unfortunately, many of these relationships are gone for good. It is important to know which ones are worth salvaging, and the steps to take to do so.
Family ties are always hard to break, and these are relationships that are usually worth revisiting and working to fix instead of throwing in the towel. As a person who has lost trust in someone who was in addiction it is important to realize that their actions were based largely on their addiction, and not on something you did to them, or vice versa.
Addiction can be so strong that it literally takes over everything else in that person’s life. Any sense of normalcy and responsibility is replaced by the want and need to get high or drunk. There have been studies done that show that the craving to use is so strong that the brain is tricked into thinking it is a matter of life or death. The person feels a need to use that is so strong, they may die if they don’t get their hands on their drug or drink of choice.
How to Learn to Trust Again
If you have been hurt or lied to by an addict, it is incredibly difficult to learn how to trust them again. Getting that trust back is a process that can take months or even years. It may not ever come back completely, but just enough to retain a relationship with that person.
The first thing to do is support the person in getting treatment for their drug and alcohol addiction. This is a huge step for them. Admitting they need help is a sign of telling the truth. This is a time to put hurt feeling aside and encourage and applaud them for taking this step to save their own life.
While they are in treatment, see how you can participate. If you are a family member, most rehabs have family treatment and support. These programs help family members to heal themselves, and learn different skills for coping with addiction. Family members are also given therapy both individually and with the addict to help resolve issues with a trained professional present. While the addict is in rehab, it is essential for the family to work on themselves as well. It is a time of healing for everyone.
After Rehab, How to Trust an Addict
When an addict completes treatment, they will have a different mindset about drugs and alcohol. They should have an extensive aftercare plan to make sure they are continuing to stay sober and have the right support system to do so. This is a time when family members and loved ones should work with the addict towards maintaining sobriety. Being involved in the process will help everyone learn what works and what doesn’t. Family members will have more of an idea of what is going on, and will be able to see the work that the addict is putting into changing their life for the better.
Even when a person can see the addict trying, there will still be scars from the past that boil up to the surface from time to time. Also, there is the constant, nagging fear of a relapse. As a person who loved the addict and wants to learn how to trust again, there has to be some faith and trust in the process itself. Otherwise, everyone will get stuck in the past and lots of negativity will be fostered.
As long as the addict does nothing to break your trust, it is important to appreciate the moment and keep looking ahead with a positive mindset. Take time to celebrate sobriety milestones together. When the time is right, you can explain what had hurt you in the past. This conversation shouldn’t be a fight, but rather a way of putting the issue to rest.
With addiction, lack of trust can continue long into recovery. It is an unfortunate part of drugs and alcohol use. The best thing everyone can do is work on themselves and being the strongest, best person they can be. Continue to support one another, and keep the past where it belongs – in the past. Trust the process but also stay knowledgeable about potential relapse triggers and signs. Together you can create a strong environment to foster sobriety, health, and happiness.