Learning to Trust Again
Your loved one’s recovery is nothing short of a miracle, and you are extremely grateful for their new and normal lifestyle. So, why does your stomach still lurch and your fists still clench when your Loved one is a few minutes late coming home from school or work, or even when they are leaving to attend a recovery event with their new sober friends?
It’s not that you want the addict by your side all the time, but more about the question as to when they are not here are they going to be able to handle the pressures and influences and not use drugs or alcohol?
Jackie Glass, psychotherapist for The Watershed Addiction Treatment Centers, says one of the biggest challenges facing family and friends is learning to trust again. "It is normal for friends, family and co-workers to be anxious when the addict returns home and back to work after treatment," Jackie says.
"Trust is earned in time through communication, concrete behavior changes and in the achievement of significant clean time. Family and friends naturally fear the addict/alcoholic will relapse and ultimately die," Jackie continues. "They feel anger and resentment because of the addict/alcoholic's negative behaviors, yet love the individual and have hope for their future. Because of these fears and ambivalent feelings, the issues of trust and family expectations are exceptionally important to address in family counseling prior to the addict/alcoholic returning home." The recovering addict and their families should remember the slogan, “One day at a time.” Which literally means that sobriety is a day by day journey.
Sobriety is maintained and continued after treatment by using a combination of the tools learned while in rehab and learning to apply them afterward with the help of a 12-step program, counseling or therapy, and in many cases, doctor-prescribed psychiatric medications. “One day at a time” can also be applied to the recovering addict’s family and friends. Addiction damages and destroys relationships. Just because your loved one is home from treatment and sober now, you will not have a magically repaired relationship. You may not trust them in the beginning of their recovery. It’s ok. This takes time. Trust, like sobriety, is a precious and valued commodity which will be earned through patience, vigilance, compassion, spiritual and behavioral changes, and living proof.