Rebuilding Family Relationships and Trust in Recovery

Rebuilding Family Relationships and Trust in Recovery

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

When we are healing from mental illness and addiction, the process of rebuilding family relationships can bolster our healing process. While we are under the yoke of substance use disorder (SUD) or mental illness, our relationships with family and friends can become strained and even broken. Part of the process of our journey to recovery is rebuilding those relationships and reintegrating them into our lives.

Throughout our lives, the support structures we have around us play a significant role in our health and well-being. The support of our families and friends provides us with invaluable resources that help us to overcome many obstacles. To be sure, those who care about us often have a hard time watching us endure the pain and misery of addiction and mental illness. In some cases, those around us may feel hurt by our actions. Thus, rebuilding family relationships is paramount to the recovery process.

That is not to say that all relationships are healthy and deserve our attention. Some people may find that their triggers are connected to past relationships. Sometimes it’s best to avoid those relationships going forward. For others, familial reactions to our recovery process may not be conducive to healing. It is important to set healthy boundaries and facilitate effective communication to protect ourselves and ensure our recovery. When we address these concerns, we can rebuild family relationships and nurture our journey to lifelong sobriety.

Cultivating Family Support: A Foundation for Rebuilding Family Relationships

The reason we have to rebuild family relationships is that SUD and mental illness impact us and everyone around us. Our families often bear the brunt of our addiction. Families seek to surround and protect each other during times of hardship and stress. However, families who try to support loved ones struggling with addiction are often hurt by the response, leading to relationship strain and disconnection.

Families usually confront the subject of addiction openly and honestly. While this approach may not necessarily be received well by their loved one initially, it is very helpful in the recovery process. It is hard for someone who experiences addiction and mental illness to admit that they have a problem. Yet, once that admission has happened, they also need to confront the ways their struggle has impacted others.

Often, people with SUD can end up feeling isolated and alone, which is why it is so hard to admit their problem. By rebuilding family relationships and facilitating open and honest communication, people who experience these addictions and mental illnesses can experience trust and connection again. By cultivating the support of their family members, they can find the strength to get through treatment and recovery successfully.

The Role of Rebuilding Family Relationships in Recovery

Families have obligations too when it comes to the treatment and recovery of their loved ones for addiction and mental disorders. One of the biggest steps that families should consider is making the effort to learn about what their loved one is going through. There are many resources available to help with this. Here are a few important things family members should keep in mind:

  • Addiction is not a moral weakness. Instead, addiction is a brain disorder with a medical name: substance use disorder (SUD).
  • There are many different ways a person can reach sobriety. No matter how we get there, the path we take is the right one, and families should be supportive.
  • Each step of recovery is a personal one. These steps should be approached with care and finesse.
  • Using medications that help with addiction cessation is often a necessary tool. No one should be shamed for using these medications. They are neither a crutch nor are they replacing one substance for another. These are tools for survival in the treatment process.

Demonstrating Commitment to Recovery: Actions That Rebuild Trust

Those who are undergoing treatment for mental illness and SUD need to understand that they are not alone. The support of peers at First Steps Recovery and support networks bolster our strength and our commitment to treatment. As we begin the process of rebuilding family relationships, we can start to think about how those relationships can best support our recovery process.

There are more than a few ways our family members can help with our treatment and recovery. Some of these include:

  • They can participate in our treatment and recovery, help us stay on task with specific goals, and provide motivation.
  • Families can become a part of support groups with other families and learn how others coped with the struggles of family members with addiction.
  • Family members can help us keep and respect healthy boundaries during the treatment and recovery process.

Healthy Boundaries and Rebuilding Family Relationships

Addiction hurts families, but there are always opportunities for rebuilding family relationships. Remember, our families love us and want what is best for us. In the final analysis, our families want us to pull through.

Even if we do not see the damage that addiction has done to our families directly, it is probably still there. We often do not see the damage we have done when we hurt others, especially when our actions are controlled by a mental illness. That is why rebuilding family relationships has to be one of our top priorities.

Setting Boundaries and Strengthening Family Communication

Families often do not separate themselves with clear boundaries as a matter of practice. That is why when they approach us about addiction, they often invade what we consider our space. While their intentions are good, we need to understand that healthy boundaries are important in recovery. A healthy boundary promotes personal growth.

Setting these boundaries allows our families to play an active and healthy role in our rehabilitation and treatment. When they see us getting well, our family members can rebuild their trust. Together, you and your care team at First Steps Recovery can overcome addiction and begin rebuilding family relationships.

When a loved one begins using controlled substances, families are often shattered. Rebuilding those bruised and broken family relationships takes time and commitment in the best of circumstances. However, when you are undergoing treatment for substance use disorder (SUD), circumstances are admittedly far from ideal. As you navigate the treatment and recovery process, you need someone to have your back as you work at rebuilding family relationships. At First Steps Recovery, we know that this process is difficult. However, we also know that rebuilding family relationships will be rewarding and support your long-term recovery. Call us today at (844) 489-0836 and discover how we can support your recovery journey every step of the way. 

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