It might take some time to fully adjust to life after your loved one has completed their substance abuse treatment program.
Trust will be extremely important in your relationship, since recovery is a process that demands growth, patience, and healing.
Trust is rarely something that is developed easily or quickly, but it can be one of the silver linings that come from working through difficult situations and trying times together. Building trust entails both sides being vulnerable, forgiving, understanding, and encouraging.
Substance abuse is a biological illness. While it is not a result of poor decision making or a lack of self-control, a significant portion of recovery has to do with our minds and emotions. Knowing that you have someone in your corner, backing you up and believing in you can have a very positive impact.
How Trust Promotes Sustained Recovery
By trusting in your loved one’s ability to succeed in their recovery goals, you are also communicating to them that you are validating all of the hard work they have put into treatment, the bravery needed to commit to sobriety, and that you are willing to stand by their side on this challenging but rewarding journey.
And from the other perspective, by trusting in your loved one’s ability to support you in your recovery, you are also communicating that you feel comfortable enough with them to be honest with your struggles and that they are the ones you want to share your success with as well. Trusting in their ability to support you will also require you to acknowledge how this part of your life has affected them and maybe even initiate conversations about how you can do the same for them.
How to Build Trust in Recovery
Suggestions for ways to build trust include:
- Family or couple therapy can be extremely beneficial in creating safe spaces where you can bring up issues and situations that might feel threatening to one another’s trust. A therapist can be an objective guide and mediator who can make certain that everybody’s perspective is heard and that the relationship can progress effectively from these big moments of revelation.
- Another similar option would be to attend support groups similar to Aviary Recovery Center’s Family Wellness Program where close friends and family members can find the support, healing, and tools that they need so that they can best trust and help their loved one in their commitment to recovery.
- Setting emotional boundaries can help keep any relationship healthy, but this is especially the case for those involving addiction recovery since it entails significant inner healing and processing for everyone involved. Boundaries can reduce the tendency to fall into bad habits like enabling and codependency, and can also prompt those in recovery to make sure that they are going to the right people for help (e.g. your wife vs. your AA sponsor).
- Being honest and upfront about any concerns or anxieties you have surrounding your loved one’s recovery, and about how their journey affects your life as well. Affirming one another throughout these difficult conversations can be very beneficial in encouraging these practices of empathy and understanding to become natural, regular parts of your relationship.
- While for some people it can be difficult to do so effectively, simply spending time together is a classic and proven way to build trust with someone.
Promoting the Transition from Substance Abuse to Sobriety
Unmistakably, your loved one’s life will never be the same after they begin their journey of addiction recovery and a significant portion of their treatment will focus on this transition. That being said, it is important that you are also aware of the ways that you will be affected and of how you can best support their new life in recovery. Trusting in one another can help make this transition from substance abuse to sobriety as smooth as it can be.