When a person is affected by addiction, it often destroys his or her relationships with family members and friends. It can be extremely difficult for loved ones to understand why a person acts the way he or she does while affected by addiction. Addiction is an illness that is largely misunderstood, with many people believing that those affected have no willpower.
A large number of people do not even realise that addiction is an illness; many think it is a choice. They fail to understand that the individual with the addiction has no control over his or her behaviour. These affected individuals may want to stop drinking or taking drugs, but once they get a craving, they have no control. The same can be said of gambling addicts.
Even if an addict knows the consequences of his or her actions, the urge to drink, take drugs, or gamble is just too strong and everything else pales into insignificance.
If you have been through a programme of rehabilitation and are no longer abusing a particular substance or engaging in a particular activity, you may be looking forward to the future and getting back to some semblance of normality with the people you love.
However, it may not be as easy to simply pick up where you left off before you became an addict. During your addiction, your behaviour may have caused a lot of heartbreak and upset. Family members and friends may find it harder to trust you now than they once did. Your actions while addicted could have caused significant damage to your relationships, so you will have to regain the trust of your loved ones before you can move on.
Prove You Mean Business
One of the things that most addicts have in common is making promises and then not keeping them. You are probably guilty of this and, while you had no control over your actions, your loved ones were no doubt left to pick up the pieces each time you broke a promise.
So now saying that you have changed and that you are going to continue to stay sober may not hold so much sway. Instead of just saying things, you have to prove it. You have to show that you are determined to mend your relationship by putting in the effort required to do so. And even if your loved ones seem reluctant to believe you at first, you must continue to make the effort.
Learn to respect your loved ones and be there for them when you say you will be. Begin to take more responsibility within the home, and make time for others.
Learn to Communicate
While you were addicted, you may have become manipulative and secretive. It is likely that you did not communicate well with your loved ones, so now is the time to start learning how to talk to the people you love.
You need to be honest with them and make sure that you are true, no matter how painful this may be. Speak honestly and openly about your feelings and your illness so that they understand what you have been through and where you are now.
Be Prepared for Hard Work
Not all relationships can be mended; sometimes the damage is beyond repair. Unfortunately, this is just something you will have to deal with. Some loved ones may be unwilling to forgive you for your actions no matter what you do. They may be unable to deal with their feelings of anger and resentment, so you need to learn that there is nothing you can do about this. All you can do is make the effort and if they are unwilling to budge, move on with your life.