Navigating Relationships in Active Recovery

Closeup of a male and female couple holding hands while sitting on the sofa working on their relationship in recovery.

If you or someone you love has struggled with addiction, you may know firsthand how difficult it may be to maintain a healthy, loving relationship. It goes without saying that all relationships go through tough times, but addiction can make things that much harder for the addict and the one they’re with.

Living with addiction damages relationships, not just those with a partner or lover. Addiction harms relationships with parents, family, friends, coworkers and anyone in a person’s inner circle.

When you decide to recover from addiction, you may want to mend broken relationships as part of your healing process. Although a great idea, quick fixes are not a great way to solidify long-term, positive results and lasting relationships. Addiction Recovery programs are designed to help with all aspects of your life including relationships

Why Are Relationships Important in Recovery?

Relationships are the building blocks of all things fruitful in one’s life. They are needed to create bonds, trust and support in the pursuit of some level of companionship, especially if you’re focusing on romantic relationships.

Relationships with your family and friends are just as important as those that involve romance. When healthy, they help you navigate life’s troubles, celebrate wins, and give you the support and guidance you need to live your best life.

Knowing the Difference Between Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships

Whether you’re trying to mend past broken relationships or hoping to forge new, more positive relationships and friendships in this new sober season of your life, understanding the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships is crucial when handling and building relationships in recovery.

Everyone handles relationships differently, but there are some telltale signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Healthy relationships are built on trust and compatibility and often include:

  • Thoughtfulness
  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Effort
  • Safety and security
  • Encouragement
  • Humor
  • Playfulness
  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Healthy boundaries

Unhealthy relationships are quite the opposite. They include:

  • Manipulation
  • Guilt-tripping
  • Obligation
  • Intimidation or bullying
  • Mental, emotional, verbal or physical abuse
  • Disrespect
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Lack of boundaries
  • Control or dominance
  • Shaming
  • Inequality

Whether you’re currently in active recovery or hoping to get sober and build lasting relationships, always listen to your gut when it comes to the signs you may be seeing from others. If any red flags arise that look similar to some aspects of unhealthy behavior and relationships, it is time to consider moving on from them on your own.

Focus your efforts on building lasting, healthy relationships for both you and your partner.

Mending Past Relationships

Addiction causes a lot of pain and regret for ourselves and those that love us. Often, when you are in active recovery, you realize the impact that your words and actions had on others you loved. Many relationships are severed during addiction, but most can be healed through intentional care in recovery.

When considering healing relationships during recovery, reflect on these important questions before reaching out to a friend, loved one or past partner:

  1. Who did I hurt?
  2. How long did it take to damage this relationship? Weeks? Months? Years?
  3. Was our relationship healthy before my addiction took over?
  4. Is it worth my time or energy to fix this?
  5. Will a mended relationship with this person help me heal healthily?
  6. Will rekindling a past romance aid or hinder my recovery?
  7. What is the best way to show that I am sorry for my words and actions?

It is important to remember that it is not your responsibility to fix every broken relationship during your struggle with addiction. Some relationships may have been toxic and do not need to be rekindled. Others may have been too damaged to fix.

It is your responsibility to take ownership of what you’ve done, apologize when necessary, and focus on your recovery and healing journey.

Self-Reflection in Recovery

Self-reflection is key to understanding yourself better and knowing exactly what you need to do to fix valuable relationships during your recovery journey. It also provides some perspective on what relationships you should leave in the past.

Knowing precisely what you believe in, where you stand, and what you want for your future helps you mend (or not mend) past relationships while creating a healthier version of yourself for new, future relationships.

During recovery, as you peel back the layers of who you are and what you’ve been through, you’ll begin to paint a picture of exactly what and who you want in your life moving forward. Those people and relationships should be healthy advocates and supportive partners for your long-term recovery goals.

If you’re hoping to begin your journey to long-term sobriety and forge ahead with healthy relationships, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs and get the treatment you need now.

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