When someone struggles with substance misuse, they may often find that they've caused a strain in a lot of their relationships with family and friends. Some of these relationships may even appear broken beyond repair. This is often due to broken trust. Even after an individual has sought treatment for their substance misuse and is well into recovery, they may still struggle to regain the relationships they once had.
Once trust is broken, it can be hard to get back. The good news is that you can rebuild trust through time. It takes effort, patience, and a lot of healing, but it is possible. No matter how bad things may seem now, there is always hope for the future.
How Is Trust Broken as a Result of Substance Misuse?
There are a lot of different ways that an individual struggling with substance use disorder (SUD) may break the trust of those closest to them. Often, this is unintentional and involves an individual's substance misuse overtaking their ability to make rational decisions. Sometimes, the individual may not even remember what they did to hurt a loved one when they were still engaging in active use. The following are some common examples of how trust can be broken as a result of substance misuse:
- Deceit: Many people with SUD try to cover up their use or how much they are using. This can involve sneaking around or lying about one's actions or whereabouts. It may even include stealing from a loved one in order to purchase drugs or alcohol. It only takes getting caught one time to really damage a relationship.
- Verbal abuse: When people are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they often say things they don't really mean. They can become emotional and say really hurtful things that they can't take back. This may involve name-calling, belittling, or other types of verbal abuse.
- Inability to keep up with responsibilities: Regularly engaging in substance misuse can hold one back from being able to keep up with personal or professional obligations. They may begin to slack off, forget requirements, perform poorly, or fail to show up altogether. This can cause them to come to be viewed as unreliable.
How Can I Rebuild Trust With the People I've Hurt?
The very first and most crucial step in rebuilding the trust of the people you have hurt is to seek professional treatment for your SUD. However, this is just where it begins. After completing your treatment program, you must continue to take steps to maintain your recovery. This involves keeping up with whatever your continuing treatment plan may be. It likely includes therapy or regularly attending support group meetings.
By not skipping meetings and putting in the work, you'll be proving to those around you that you are taking your recovery seriously and you have no plans of going backward. The more you do this, the more likely people close to you will feel comfortable beginning to trust you again.
The next step is to begin making amends for your actions by repairing the damage you may have done while still in active addiction. This could involve paying back financial debts or replacing items that have been broken. It may also include looking for a new job so you can begin to live more independently. This step also involves asking for forgiveness from those you've hurt. Don't casually do this, like by sending a text message. Have a serious sit-down conversation with these individuals and explain to them why you're sorry and what steps you're taking to make things better. Allow them the chance to ask questions if they have any.
Remember that some of these individuals might not be at a place yet where they are ready to forgive you, and that's OK. Everyone heals in different ways. Make sure you give them the time and space they need, and they will likely come around eventually. In the meantime, you can continue to show them how seriously you're taking your recovery by keeping up with your continued treatment plan.
Trust is often built back gradually over time. Try to be as patient and consistent as possible. There may be some individuals in your life that won't accept your apology, no matter what you do to try to make things right. Instead of focusing your energy on these people, instead, focus on fortifying the relationships of those who did agree to give you a second chance. At the end of the day, you can't force someone to forgive you; you can only do your best to make things right. Once you have done this, you can then begin the process of forgiving yourself and moving forward.
There are a lot of ways that an individual struggling with substance misuse can damage the relationships they have with those they love. This includes broken trust, which is a hard thing to repair. However, through time, effort, and patience, it can be rebuilt. The first step in doing this is to seek treatment for your substance use disorder. You must also continue to take your recovery journey seriously in the months and years that follow. It's also important to make amends by paying back debts or replacing broken property. This also includes asking for forgiveness and a second chance. If you're struggling with substance misuse, call us at The Ho Tai Way today at (714) 581-3974.