There are many consequences of addiction. Those who suffer from this terrible illness often find that they struggle financially and may also have to deal with both physical and mental problems. However, one of the biggest costs of addiction is the damage it does to relationships with loved ones. Siblings, parents, spouses, and children are all affected by one members addiction issues.
If your addiction has damaged family relationships, once you have completed your programme of rehabilitation, you may be keen to start rebuilding these ties. Many addicts struggle with this because they just do not know where to begin or how to go about getting their relationships back on track.
Start with an Apology
The first thing you will need to do is apologise to the family members you have hurt. This could be your husband, wife, parents, brothers, sisters, or children. Nonetheless, you need to know that it takes more than words to prove you mean it this time.
It is likely that your loved ones have heard you say you were sorry countless times in the past before you went back to your destructive behaviour. Many addicts will promise to stop drinking, gambling or taking drugs when they are feeling particularly sorry for their behaviour. At that moment, they may have every intention of never drinking again; they may really believe that they will never gamble again. Sadly, once the urge takes over, all their promises are meaningless, and they cannot stop themselves from satisfying that urge, even though they know deep down that this could have serious repercussions.
As well as saying you are sorry, you need to show your loved ones that you are sorry. This will mean staying sober and working hard to rebuild those damaged relationships. It is important to remember that just staying sober alone is not enough to get things back on track.
Your family members have probably been hurt and upset by your actions. It can be extremely difficult for them, therefore, to deal with constant broken promises. If you have continually promised to get help but have then failed to do so, or if you have lied to and stolen from loved ones, they will undoubtedly be upset.
You need to be patient with your loved ones who may not be ready to welcome you back with open arms. Just because you feel different this time and are committed to your recovery does not mean that they are going to just believe what you say. Your problems with your family have no doubt been cultivated over a number of years, so it would be naïve to expect them to disappear overnight.
Revisiting the Past
You may be of the opinion that broken relationships can be mended now that you are sober, and this may be the case, but be realistic with your expectations. For example, if you and your spouse broke up because of your addiction, you cannot expect him or her to simply want to rekindle things now that you are in recovery.
Your ex may have moved on and could now be in an entirely different place. Think very carefully before pursuing this relationship because you may end up disappointed. It would be a good idea to think about the relationship you had before addiction took over. Was it healthy and full of love? If so, then maybe you could make it work again. Nevertheless, if there were issues there beforehand, your ex may not be keen to start again. And ask yourself; do you really want this relationship or are you just clinging on to the past? Could you handle rejection at this point in your recovery or are you better off moving forward and putting the past behind you?