Learning to Trust Again – Rebuilding Relationships While in Recovery
One of the hardest parts of the recovery process is rebuilding trust. It’s not just between the person in recovery and his family and friends, either: loved ones often begin to distrust one another, too. And it can be very difficult for the addict as well as his family to trust the counselors and doctors who are trying to help.
Why? Because while some people find it easy to forgive, it can be darn near impossible to forget. And how can you trust someone when you simply can’tforget what he or she “did”?
So today, we want to talk about learning to trust again: your loved one in treatment, other family members, the professionals – and yourself. Rebuilding this trust can and will take time. It can be frustrating, and you might feel angry at times, but that is an entirely natural part of the process to creating a healthy bond between you.
Love takes time
The very first thing you need to remember is that all of this will take time, and everyone needs to set realistic expectations. Everyone needs to be committed and willing to do the work, because it doesn’t happen overnight.
“Dealing” with the past can put you at odds
At Little Creek, we work hard to help our residents become empowered over their lives, and positive about their futures. But for those people who are not with us day-by-day, the actions and words of the past often hold more sway. The person in treatment is trying to learn from the past; the person who has been hurt is trying to get over it. Those are two totally different directions from which to tackle your issues.
So both parties need to understand where the other person is coming from, and be empathetic to that position. When we are able to truly hear one another, then we can work together towards a better future.
Guilt is not the same as accountability
One of the most important tenants of the addiction recovery process is taking responsibility for your actions. Accountability is a big part of any 12-Step program. We need to admit to ourselves and to our loved ones what we have done wrong, and make amends for those wrongdoings.
But the truth is, many loved ones – event those with the best of intentions – don’t want accountability; they want the person in treatment to feel the full weight of his or her wrongdoings. In short, they want the person in recovery to feel guilty. Sometimes, it is because they, themselves, feel guilty: about not recognizing the signs of addiction, about enabling behaviors, about fighting with their loved ones (both those in the throes of addiction and those who are not), about their own fears and frustrations.
Guilt and shame aren’t healthy for anyone; taking responsibility is. It is only then that we can truly forgive ourselves and one another, and begin to forget – not forget what happened, but forget our grudges, and commit to a willingness to rebuild.
Communication is a two-way street
When we talk about “communication,” we don’t just mean talking; we mean listening and engaging with one another, to develop intimacy (“into me you see”) with on another. Yes, speaking honestly and frankly about our experiences is a critical component to rebuilding trust, but we must be willing and able to listen, too.
In our Family Program, we offer guided interactions between our residents and their families once a month. These gatherings help families learn to be in a space with one another, and to relearn how to hear one another’s needs. The goal is to create intimacy and openness between parents and their children, so they can feel safe and secure while allowing themselves to be vulnerable.
Rebuilding trust can take a long time, but it worth it. Trust is the bedrock of any healthy relationship. When you’re ready to take that next step, Little Creek Lodge will be here to help.
At Little Creek Lodge in Pennsylvania, we want residents to be empowered to make good choices. Having their families by their side, supporting them, can make all the difference in the world. If you have questions about our Family Program, or wish to learn more about our services, please call 570-630-9354, or fill out our contact form, and start the healing process.