Trust is a key dimension of any relationship. You may have found yourself acting with chronic dishonesty in the throes of addiction. One of the most commonly cited secondary goals of the rehab process is rebuilding trust with one’s support network of family and friends.
Research demonstrates that, in particular, maintaining family support is critical to long-term recovery success. The disease of addiction can drive you to do things your character would never allow while sober. Coming to terms with your actions while under the influence can be one of the hardest parts of the recovery process as persons with substance use problems face negative stereotypes, putting them at risk for discrimination.
This article will examine ways to rebuild trust soon after emerging from the depths of dependency and abuse. Lantana Recovery uniquely integrates family and friends, with the client’s consent, into their routine treatment regimen. Through Lantana Recovery’s approach, the road to rebuilt trust can start in earnest with the onset of the rehab process.
Build Trust by Focusing Internally
Depending on the intensity of your addiction, the damage left in its wake may be severe. You may care deeply about what friends and family think about you and desperately want to improve your standing through any means possible.
First and foremost, focus on yourself, do not worry about what others think. If you focus on doing “the next right thing,” the quality of your character will come across transparently. As you continue to make quality decisions regardless of who’s watching, you’ll find that they slowly will become habitual. Also, your friends and family will begin to take notice.
Be Above Reproach
As a result of the decisions you’ve made, let’s face it, you’re on thin ice. Your family and friends will likely not be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. This requires you to work doubly hard to avoid not only impropriety but even its appearance. This expands upon the idea of focusing internally described above. Once you are organically in the habit of doing the right thing, you want to begin to pay attention to the impression you are giving to others.
Think of yourself as being held to the standard of a federal judge – you’ve got to both do the right thing and appear to do the right thing. The high standard isn’t necessarily fair, but meeting it will go a long way to restoring your place as a trusted family member and friend. Remember, the emotional conditions of family and patients’ perceived social support play important roles in the treatment or relapse process.
Strengthen Trust Through Communication
Being close to perfect can help build trust. However, there is no doubt you will make mistakes on the long road to recovery. One way to maintain trust in the context of that winding, rock path is to communicate honestly. While it is a great goal to avoid even the appearance of impropriety – like a federal judge – that doesn’t mean covering up your flaws.
You’re going to have cravings. And yes, you may even relapse. Communication with your family on these points is key, even to the point of embarrassment. Are you tempted to steal money to relapse? Tell a family member or friend, and have them talk you through it. As the saying goes, honesty is the best policy, and sunlight is the best disinfectant.
Let Others Get Under Your Mental Hood
As a part of communication, let others get under the hood of your mental gears to understand how you operate as a person. This can help elucidate your character and explicate the essence of who you truly are to those closest to you.
Explain to your family and friends why you made certain decisions in the heat of addiction. Be honest about your flaws and your thinking. This will help your family and friends get a better perspective on you. Let them know the guilt, sadness, and blame you feel for what you’ve done. They will rest assured that you are a good person with flaws, striving to improve. While they might not be ready to trust you fully, they’ll be more likely to trust that your heart is in the right place.
There are a variety of dimensions of the idea of “trust.” While the most important part of “trust” revolves around honesty, there is another dimension – that of reliability. Reliability relates to the ability to trust that person will follow through on what they say. During the height of your addiction, you probably could not fully fulfill obligations for work, family, or friends. You may have missed appointments, said you were going to do certain things and didn’t, or otherwise neglected commitments.
Now that you’re in recovery, it’s time to be extra attentive to being a reliable partner, friend, and family member. Demonstrate to others that you have the discipline to maintain strong character in your personal and professional lives by consistently doing what you say you’re going to do.
Stay Committed to Your Recovery
Another way to restore trust through the power of your actions is to stay committed to working on your program. As your family and friends watch the intensity with which you pursue recovery, they will respect the discipline you demonstrate and be aware that this discipline also indicates character. If you fail to stay in touch with your sponsor, attend meetings, or if you repeatedly relapse, your family will be less likely to believe that you can ever have the ability to control yourself in other areas of your life. Studies have shown that “as the individual becomes more committed to the group, a social identity is created, and the attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and norms of the individual start to align with those of the group” (Recovery at Work: The Relationship Between Social Identity and Commitment Among Substance Abuse Counselors, Curtis & Eby, 2011.)
Rebuilding trust with family and friends in the wake of addiction is difficult. It requires you to be on your best behavior as you navigate the unpredictable road to recovery. Lantana Recovery recognizes the critically important role that family and friends play in getting you on a sustainable path. That’s why Lantana Recovery offers a multitude of engagement options, with the client’s consent, that involves your support network in the lifecycle of the rehabilitation process. At Lantana Recovery, the path to rebuilding trust with loved ones starts on day one and continues well beyond the final day of treatment.