Repairing Relationships in Addiction Recovery Rebuild Trust After Addiction

Accepting the reality that relationships change will help you continue on this journey with a positive outlook. Be honest, direct, and patient – a lot has happened on both sides of the relationship, and it’ll take some time to get back on track. The same can be said for what steps it might take when rebuilding relationships after addiction. The reason why rebuilding relationships after addiction is so important is having a circle of support. Above all, when a person is recovering from addiction they need a helping hand. For instance, a loved one can remind them why they want to recover.

It can be difficult at times to remember that someone’s addiction does not define who they are as a person. When trying to rebuild your relationship with your loved one as they recover, do your best to separate the person from the disease. By doing so, you’ll be able to approach the situation with a more open mind.


At this time, developing relationships that provide mutual support and connection is essential. Twelve-step programs and other mutual-aid resources help serve this vital purpose. If you step into the process of repairing broken relationships after addiction with unrealistic expectations, you’re setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.

Rebuilding and Repairing Relationships After Addiction

If you are in recovery, it’s important to rebuild relationships where trust has been breached and with individuals who encourage your recovery. Relationships get negatively impacted by addiction, and can lead rebuilding life after addiction to serious tension and even estrangement from those you were once closest to. Part of rebuilding yourself in recovery is breaking the isolation of addiction and repairing important relationships in your life.

Personality changes, abuse, and violence

Although the road to recovery can be long for everyone involved, it’s possible to make amends with those you might’ve hurt or lost in the past due to SUD. But there’s hope for mending broken bonds and repairing any damage that may have been done. When you enter recovery, it’s natural to want to repair this damage as soon as possible, and your impulse might be to try to do just that. However, attempting quick fixes is rarely helpful and almost never works well. Instead, give age-appropriate but honest answers and explanations about your addiction.

We all lie, cheat, and steal, and we have to accept that we can’t always fix our past transgressions. Some of the people we’ve hurt don’t want to make amends with us, and learning to accept their points of view is significant. Some bridges are burnt beyond repair— all we can do is make peace with and grow from the experience. Relationships with friends often involve broken trust and hurt from addiction. Some friends enabled the addiction, unintentionally or intentionally, while others may have tried to help their friend seek addiction treatment and been cut off. Conversely, parents and grandparents will often feel angry, hurt, or betrayed by an older child or adult child using substances under their roof, lying to them, or stealing from them.


To paraphrase the twelve-step literature, through the process of recovery you can transition from a life characterized by taking and being taken to one based on giving and being given. Children of different ages will be affected differently by addiction in the family. Young children may internalize unhealthy beliefs about substances. So don’t try to change your children’s minds and hearts; acknowledge their feelings and work on healing from those feelings. You can start to rebuild yourself, your family, and all your important relationships.

  • If your addiction got you in trouble with law enforcement, your loved one may hold onto the way that experience made them feel.
  • Such healthy repair need not be confined to the patient-therapist dynamic, however; repair is an art and skill that can be learned and applied to all meaningful relationships.
  • After rehab, as you come to terms with your addiction, you’ll realize that you’re unable to control other people’s feelings and emotions with respect to your experience.
  • For example, up to half of people with substance use disorder have also experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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