The focus of sobriety is to improve and rebuild your life. Sobriety epitomizes personal growth and renewal, and anyone in their first few months of recovery can expect a roller coaster of emotions when it comes to forming—or in some cases, restoring— meaningful relationships. Repairing old friendships, establishing new ones and being open to the possibility of new relationships is important during recovery. However, there are a few things to take into consideration to avoid the risk of relapsing when trying to build healthy relationships in recovery.
When Building New Relationships
Remember That Your Recovery is Your Top Priority
The early stages of recovery can be filled with excitement and seemingly limitless possibilities. However, it can feel a little lonely, too. As a recovering addict, you may feel inclined to build or rebuild more intimate relationships in hopes of feeling loved. After all, the need to feel loved is one that is essential for our emotional well-being. However, rushing into new relationships—especially romantic ones— so early in sobriety is a big mistake. One of the most important relationships in your recovery is the one you have with yourself. By establishing yourself as a sober person and putting your recovery first, you get to better know yourself before sharing yourself with others.
Avoid Forming New Kinds of Dependency
While there is nothing wrong with forming a close connection with one person, in particular, devoting too much to a single relationship— whether it is platonic or not— can create a new form of dependence for the person in recovery. This can trigger a potential relapse if the relationship fails for any reason. This can be avoided by progressively expanding your circle of friends, rather than focusing on a single relationship. Putting your time and energy into multiple healthy relationships in recovery will give you someone to turn to in the event that one relationship goes sour.
One of the hardest lessons learned throughout the recovery process is self-control. Having a strong sense of self-control is important in building new relationships in recovery, since you may find yourself in a situation that could lead to a relapse. For example, if you are recovering from a drinking addiction and are invited to a party by a new friend, be prepared to say no when someone offers you a drink. No one’s perception of you will change if you put your health first.
Learn to Recognize Bad Influences
Since there are a lot of external factors that contribute to addiction, such as peer pressure, it’s important to learn how to distinguish those who care about your sobriety from those who do not. Disassociating yourself from the latter will lower your chances of relapsing.
When Rebuilding Old Relationships
Remember Who Your Friends Are
Everyone in recovery should have a strong support system; one made up of friends that only want what’s best for you and your health. By opening up and receiving love and support from multiple friends when you feel especially vulnerable, you lower your chances of relapsing.
With addiction comes deception. In recovery, you have the opportunity to rebuild trust and respect in damaged relationships by being open and honest throughout the recovery process. Additionally, practicing honesty with yourself will help you rebuild self-respect.
Every healthy relationship has boundaries, and for a person in recovery, it’s crucial. Establishing new boundaries in both new and pre-existing relationships protects your physical and emotional health. If for whatever reason your friends or family pressure you to engage in behavior that jeopardizes your sobriety, you should always be able to say no without feeling selfish. With this said, anyone who does not respect the boundaries you’ve set should not be a part of your support system.
Know When to Let Go
Letting go is an important step in the recovery process. If someone close to you is threatening your sobriety by encouraging habits you’re trying to avoid, it’s probably time to part ways. It can be difficult, but it’s essential for your health.
The Role of Healthy Relationships in Recovery
Healthy relationships in recovery are the foundation of sobriety, so it’s important to know which ones are worth holding on to. For more tips on how to build or rebuild relationships during the recovery process, call All About Recovery at 888-712-8480.