Rebuilding Relationships After Addiction Treatment

Updated on 08/02/23

Once in recovery, one of the first things you might want to do is start fixing your broken relationships. You may recognize the harm done to your closest relationships due to your substance use and be eager to mend them. Repairing relationships is vital to your recovery, but it isn’t a straightforward process. Mending fragmented relationships takes time, patience and support. Seeking the support of professionals can assist you, too.

When Can You Start Rebuilding Relationships?

Starting the mending process is possible. The question is, when? You can begin working on existing relationships right away, but you may want to defer until you have completed at least one year in recovery for new relationships. Here are recommended lengths of time you might want to wait before reaching out to repair relationships:

  • Family

You can begin rebuilding broken bridges with your family members, including parents, siblings, children, aunts and uncles, as soon as possible. An immediate family member who supports you can help by encouraging you, driving you to support groups or therapy, sharing uplifting stories from your past and affirming your future. 

  • Friends

It is equally important to begin mending relationships with friends as soon as possible. Friends provide essential support during your recovery. Make sure these friends are not friends who are using drugs or alcohol. You want clean and sober friends who will encourage you also to stay clean and sober during your recovery.

  • Children

Parenting is challenging, and our relationships with our children are complicated and sensitive. Working to repair them will take time and support from professionals but starting to mend it sooner rather than later is preferred. 

  • Coworkers 

We may not often think about the importance of our working relationships. Depending on when you return to work though, it’s important to give time and effort to those you interact with and work with on a daily basis. You are not obligated to share anything about your personal life with your coworkers but if you have people you trust at your place of work, it can be important to use them as a resource. This is especially true when work proves to be stressful. 

  • Intimate partners

Tradition advises to avoid intimate (sexual) relationships during your first year of recovery. You need to focus on your recovery and get stable before entering a new relationship. Avoid getting intimately involved with people in support groups you attend, especially if you are both recovering. It is difficult to build a new relationship while dealing with and focusing on your issues in recovery.

Following these recommendations can help ensure you only need to rebuild meaningful relationships once, but maintaining relationships is a long-term project. They can keep you focused on your needs rather than your wants during recovery. That enables you to win the battle over addiction.

What Impact Will Relationship Rebuilding Have on Your Recovery?

Being successful at rebuilding meaningful relationships can have a positive effect on your recovery. It gives you confidence by improving your self-esteem and self-worth. You know you are not alone and that people you care about still love you. Perhaps most importantly, because they believe in you, you now think you can achieve a life-long recovery.

  • Recovery-First Attitude

Maintaining a recovery-first attitude all the time seems impossible. Of course, there are going to be multiple moments throughout the day when you doubt your sanity. However, with friends and loved ones by your side, rooting you on, you are able to see the winner within and no longer feel like giving up.

  • Self-Compassion

While not everyone will empathize with you on your journey to recovery, having friends and family in your corner who do means everything. As they share their empathy with you, you will develop self-compassion and begin to forgive yourself for past transgressions. You need to interact with supportive loved ones to build this self-compassion and self-love.

  • Patience

One of the most important things you will learn while rebuilding relationships is patience. These relationships will mend at the rate the other person decides, not you. Fixing relationships involves trust, tests and time, which will not happen overnight. You will need patience if you want relationships with your family, friends, children, coworkers or significant other.

  • Acceptance

With the love of friends and family, you begin to accept your past and plan for your future. “One day at a time” is your new motto and goal. You may not be ready to set long-term goals for yourself. That is alright. Accepting where you are is a massive step in your recovery.

It is incredible the impact reconciliation with family and friends can have on your recovery. Continue to be honest to rebuild their trust and solidify the relationships.

Going through recovery is challenging. However, going through it alone can make it seem impossible. Rebuilding relationships with family and friends encourages you to see through tough spots and persevere. These individuals also serve as models of empathy, compassion and forgiveness. Use these relationships to become a better person as you recover. 

When you first decide to enter addiction treatment and begin your path to recovery, your focus must be on you. While continuing to focus on your recovery, it is important to look outside yourself and repair any broken relationships. Here at peaceful Cliffside Malibu in Malibu, California, we offer various resources and support to help you on your recovery journey. Please call us at (855) 403-5641 if you have questions about rebuilding relationships during your recovery.