Early recovery can be a very confusing time. On one hand we feel better than we ever have before, but on the other, we are overwhelmed by emotions and circumstances.
Throughout addiction, we are like a wrecking ball, destroying everything and everyone in our path. So, although early recovery can bring its beautiful moments, we are also left in the wake of our own destruction.
Trying to dig our way out of debt, taking care of health issues, addressing legal consequences. These are just a few of the issues we come across. And then there’s relationships.
Relationships, whether it be with family, friends or significant others, are all seem affected throughout our active addiction. Some more than others, but affected all the same.
When we finally get sober and the fog begins to clear, we realize what it is that we have done to them. Then we wonder, will I be able to fix this? Are they going to ever forgive me?
We understand that you want to repair relationships within your life, and we know the very thought of it can be overwhelming. We would like to give you a few recommendations going forward.
Forgive Yourself | Before you could ever expect your loved ones to forgive you, you must learn to find forgiveness within yourself. If you become consumed with self-loathing, your family will pick up on that. Resentments tend to be contagious, so any you have towards yourself, let them go.
They Are Entitled To Their Own Process | Don’t rush your loved ones into forgiving you. Sometimes, in early recovery, we expect things to go back to normal immediately. Or even further, we expect to be rewarded for a job well done.
This is a delusion that we must be rid of. Our family and friends have been through a lot as well. It may take a long while before they heal. By respecting their process, you allow for forgiveness to occur.
Words Are Not Enough | Saying sorry will no longer cut it. Your feet must match your words, but please do not mistake what we are saying. DO NOT put the cart before the horse.
The 12 steps are in order for a reason. You cannot begin on step 9 until you have gone through the first 8. Nevertheless, changing your behaviors in early recovery needs to happen. In order for our loved ones to really have faith in us, they need to have some evidence.
Help your family with household chores. Cook dinner for your parents. Show up to your kid’s baseball game. Simple things will go a long way.
Listen To Hear, Not To Respond | Listening to your loved ones is vital. For so long, we have explained our way out of things, rationalizing every action we have ever taken.
“If only I can get them to understand where I am coming from. Only if I can put into words why I did what I did.”
The reality is, they may never understand, nor do they really need to. However, we need to make an attempt to understand where they are coming from.
When we open ourselves up to listening, we show our loved ones that we are taking their feelings into consideration, and by that process, we allow for the healing process to begin.
If you are feeling discouraged in early recovery, know that things will get better. But always remember “Faith without works is dead.”
Here at Clearbrook, we believe strongly in maintaining relationships with our alumni. If at any point you are struggling or need someone to talk to, know that we are always available.
For information on our alumni support group, open 12-step meetings or “Families Helping Families” group, contact us today.