Repairing relationships after addiction is tough. Addiction is a horrible disease that takes away your control over your life. People with substance use disorders struggle to control their use of drugs and alcohol, even when there are repercussions. The truth is, addiction makes people behave selfishly. While this isn’t entirely in their control, it can make trust and communication difficult to uphold in a relationship. Trusting an addict isn’t easy, and rebuilding relationships after addiction is equally trying. However, our Clearbrook rehab in PA is sharing some tips for rebuilding trust in recovery.
Can You Ever Trust an Addict?
Although it may sound harsh, you can’t always trust an addict while they’re still using drugs or drinking. Anyone who has been married to a drug addict or has attempted a relationship with someone who struggles with substance abuse understands that truth and honesty are casualties of this disease. Even people who are normally honest become manipulative and secretive to the point where they’re unrecognizable. But this isn’t entirely their fault. The most common misconception about addiction and recovery is that addicts “did it to themselves.” Not only is that hurtful, but it’s also untrue. Very rarely, if at all, do people with substance use disorders begin using drugs and alcohol with the intention of becoming addicted.
Even so, people with severe addictions may not be entirely trustworthy. The definition of addiction is an uncontrollable urge to use drugs and alcohol. When a person becomes hooked on these substances, their priorities shift. Their thoughts may become consumed with the drug in question. When will I use it again? How will I get my next dose? Where can I get the money for it? Oftentimes, it gets to the point where this person puts their responsibilities, including their relationships, on the back burner to focus on their drug habits. As their substance abuse becomes worse, they may become secretive and deceitful to obtain the drugs they want.
Trusting an alcoholic or drug addict can be difficult because they may go to great lengths to get the drugs they want. They may steal from a loved one or ask for money and lie about what it’s for. They may promise to stop using but don’t. They may even lie to their healthcare providers about losing or misplacing their prescription drugs to get more. The longer they do this, the more comfortable they may feel with being deceitful. Lying may become second nature, to the point where they can’t stop, and they’ll say or do whatever they can to get drugs and stay out of rehab. Over time, lying and secretive behavior can erode a relationship and any trust that previously existed between the people involved.
Additionally, the person may attempt to tune you out or distance themselves from you because it’s easier than facing their problem. They may also minimize the extent of their problem or only say what you want to hear just to avoid confrontation. However, although you may not be able to trust an addict while they’re still using, that can change if they get the right kind of help. Clearbrook Treatment Centers Pennsylvania offers various levels of care, including medical detox, that offer physical and emotional assistance through recovery.
How to Trust a Recovering Addict
Rebuilding relationships after addiction is possible, but it’s hard work. Trusting a loved one in recovery can take some time, so patience is key. If you’re wondering whether trusting an addict again is possible, below are some tips that can help:
Understanding What You’re Dealing With
It’s important to understand that the person’s lies or secretive behavior aren’t about you or even your loved one’s morals or values. The use of drugs and alcohol perpetuates lying because these substances have a severe physical and psychological impact. Despite the obvious repercussions that may result from drug use, the person may continue their habit because they physically can’t help it. As a result, they’ll do anything they can to get what they want, including lying.
When you take a step back and view this issue from a different perspective, you may better understand that the lies are a side effect of the disease and not a reflection of your loved one’s character. This can make it a little easier to work with them and make an effort to rebuild a relationship with them.
Another common result of addiction and relationships is self-blame. When addiction is involved, everyone is hurting. Where there is pain, there’s usually someone pointing a finger. While your loved one was actively using drugs or drinking, you may have been blamed for things that weren’t your fault. Out of hurt, frustration, or confusion, your loved one may have heaped accusations at you for no real reason. And while you know that there’s no foundation for their accusations, you may still feel hurt, and that’s normal. When learning how to trust an addict in recovery, you must first learn how to trust yourself.
Learn how to trust your instincts and assessment of the situation. If you ever think back on moments when you were blamed for something, and you start to feel bad, try to distinguish fact from fiction. Even if the other person doesn’t agree with you or isn’t quite ready to accept something hurtful they said, you don’t have to gain their acceptance of everything. Trusting yourself prevents self-blame and opens yourself to trusting others.
Learn About Enabling and Then Avoid It
Enabling is when you do something for someone that they can do on their own. Enabling also means that you’ll cover up for that person when they lie, make excuses for them when they mess up, and protect them from ever having to take responsibility for their actions. If you found yourself doing this for your loved one before they received inpatient drug treatment, then you have to learn how to stop this behavior to aid in their recovery. Not only can enabling the person make it more difficult for them to maintain their sobriety on their own, but it can also make it easier for them to relapse because they’ll feel protected enough to do so. Eventually, they may take advantage of your love and desire to care for them, making it difficult to redevelop trust.
Communicate Openly and Honestly
Communication is important for building trust. If you can’t talk about your problems, then you can’t learn to trust or rely on each other. Usually, the way we communicate with each other affects the stability of our relationships. With that being said, when you communicate with the other person, make sure you think before speaking. It’s easy to say hurtful things in the heat of the moment or during an argument, and what you say matters. So remember to think about what you’re going to say before saying it.
Also, be sure to use “I” statements when speaking to this person. This will prevent you from sounding as if you’re accusing or attacking the person. Using statements like, “You did..” or “Why did you..” can make it seem like you’re blaming them, which can hurt them, make them defensive, and even cause enough frustration to the point where they may relapse. Instead, use statements like, “I don’t understand how you feel, can you explain it to me?” or “I’ve realized that this has been tough for you, and I want to help.”
Setting boundaries prevents enabling, codependence, and further deceit. When you set boundaries, you’re making it clear to the person that they cannot say or do certain things. In building trust, setting boundaries is key. Establish guidelines for appropriate behaviors, language, and responsibilities. Establishing boundaries also encourages respect, which is another key aspect of a good relationship.
Trust can take years to develop and even longer to rebuild. It will take many honest answers, conversations, and actions to fully trust that person again. You also have to allow your loved one to earn your trust. Acknowledge when they do something trustworthy and talk to them when they do something that’s not. Eventually, you may see an improvement in their behavior.
Being in a relationship with an addict in recovery can be difficult if you don’t have the support you need. Not only do we offer drug treatment in Pennsylvania for them, but we also offer a family program that provides individual and group therapy sessions for the loved ones of addicts. Recovery is a group effort, and with the right support, you and your loved one can recover from the effects of addiction.
To learn how we can help you or someone you care about get sober, call Clearbrook Pennsylvania at 570-536-9621.