How to Handle Existing Relationships for New Recovering Addicts

When you come home from rehab or another treatment program, you may not have seen your friends, family, or significant other face-to-face for months. The experience of coming home and seeing those faces again might be a little surreal, even if you’re genuinely happy to see all of them. For new recovering addicts handling existing relationships, it may feel strange in the early stages of your recovery. However, the support that you receive from these people can make a huge difference in your recovery. Every relationship is different, but below you’ll find some common scenarios and advice that may help you navigate your relationships now that you’re home.

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Roughly half of Americans have seen a friend or relative struggle with addiction.

Ending Unhealthy Relationships

As your recovery progresses, you may want to take some time to consider whether or not certain relationships are unhealthy.

Of course, you should immediately end any relationships with people who still use drugs or who enable you to use drugs. These relationships will almost inevitably trigger a relapse.

However, some relationships are not explicitly tied to drug use but are still unhealthy. Even if these people have never used drugs, they still aren’t good for your mental health. If a friend, family member, or significant other commits any of the behaviors below on a consistent basis, it’s probably a good idea to end that relationship. At the very least, you should limit your time with these people. Poor relationship behaviors include:

  • Mocking or belittling you for your addiction
  • Behaving passive-aggressively
  • Not listening
  • Ignoring your problems

A good friend will absolutely point out when you’re engaging in unhealthy behaviors. However, these friends do so out of love and a desire to help you. If you always walk away from certain people feeling worse about yourself instead of loved and supported, these are probably not healthy friendships. If you can’t decide whether or not a relationship is healthy, a therapist should be able to help you figure it out;

Are your relationships struggling because of a drug or alcohol addiction? Call 800-492-QUIT today.

Accepting Support

The friends and family members who do support and help you will be invaluable to your recovery

Alcoholics Anonymous advises participants to “HALT” – or avoid getting too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. All of these things are potential relapse triggers. Loneliness can lead to you trying to numb your sadness with drugs or alcohol. Your friends and family can help you avoid this loneliness.

Make sure that you’re willing to accept their support. Too often, people are tempted to handle life’s problems alone. This issue is prevalent not only with drug addiction but with all sorts of other issues. The American culture especially values independence and self-sufficiency. However, keep in mind that there is absolutely nothing wrong with accepting help from a friend or family member. If you’ve been raised to believe that accepting help or comfort is a sign of weakness, it’ll take some practice to get used to the idea of relying on other people. Once you develop this skill, though, you’ll be glad that you did.

Possible Awkwardness

In some cases, the people with whom you have relationships will want to support you but won’t know how. When loved ones go through a big life event, such as a stay in rehab, people don’t always know what to say. If someone avoids reaching out to you, don’t assume that this person is angry with you. He or she may just not know how to start a conversation. It’s okay if you don’t have the mental energy to reach out yet, but give your relationships some time to grow and heal as you progress through your recovery. Also, if someone you love says something awkward or even tries too hard to avoid awkwardness, just move on. As long as this person is coming from a supportive place, what matters is that he or she is there for you.

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Recovery Relationships

During your treatment, you probably made some friends. If so, try to keep up with those friendships. For friends who live nearby, you can meet for coffee or lunch every once in a while. For distant friendships, you can keep up with one another through phone calls or social media. Friends that you meet in recovery will understand some of what you’ve been through, and they’ll have similar goals. Even after rehab or group therapy sessions have ended, you can still support one another.

Start By Finding Treatment

If you haven’t found treatment for your addiction yet, the best thing that you can do for yourself and your friendships is to begin your recovery. Start by calling Rehab Info.

A member of our caring staff will listen and then recommend

a course of treatment for your specific situation. Start by calling 800-492-QUIT today.
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