Advertising
Advertising

Healing the Family: 5 Tips for Rebuilding Bonds Broken by Addiction

Healing the Family: 5 Tips for Rebuilding Bonds Broken by Addiction

Addiction and substance abuse does more than damage your health; it can destroy close family bonds and friendships, cripple opportunities, and bring bright futures, full of potential to a halt. When one chooses to break the hold addiction has on one’s life, it is the beginning of a complete transformation. Beginning in rehab, a skilled team of counselors and therapists can help you to cope with urges and triggers, remove cognitive ties to substance abuse, and gain a healthier, more positive outlook on life.

But what about the external damage cause by a substance abuse disorder? Is there no way to mend what has been broken while under the influence of an addicted mind? Must what is broken remain so?

Thankfully, our profound human nature allows for flaws and mistakes; we use these traits and experiences to learn and grow as individuals and as a global society. This adaptive nature also fosters the ability to forgive and progress in our lives and relationships- if all parties are willing to work for the betterment of the bond. If you are in recovery and seeking to rebuild bonds broken in your active use phase, following the 5 tips for rebuilding a bond broken by addiction is a good place to start.

1. Be Honest

Advertising

Be Honest About Your Wrongdoings

    You cannot ask for forgiveness without admitting wrong. Rebuilding external relationships begins within; you have to understand, or at least attempt to understand your wrongs before you can atone from them. Recognizing another’s feelings and your part in them is key to beginning the relationship healing process. That’s not to say you are solely responsible for others’ emotional well-being, but part of being a mature adult is recognizing and accepting responsibility for yourself and your actions.

    Approach your loved one open and honestly. Verbally acknowledge the cause of contention  and the part you played in the perpetuation of it, and express your feelings on it. Be sure to tell your family member or friend that you want to fix the problem, why, and how. Giving a solid, planned course of action helps them to see you are serious about overcoming the issues and moving forward with a stronger bond and appreciation for each other.

    2. Listen

    Active Listening is Key to Healing Relationships

      It’s equally important for the person whose forgiveness you are seeking to be able to speak honestly about their feelings regarding past transgressions. To help facilitate an atmosphere in which they feel comfortable being open and honest with you, make sure they know you are listening- really listening. That means an in-person (if possible) conversation which has your undivided attention: no multi-tasking, no electronic devices, no other physical crutches.

      Advertising

      While it may be difficult for you if you are anxious about the conversation, showing that you are serious about rectifying your mistakes can go a long way in helping mend what has been broken. Sincerity, above all else, must be the core of your intentions if you wish to be successful in mending the bonds broken by addiction. If you find you cannot act in a sincere manner, or that your efforts are not being truly accepted and appreciated, perhaps you should rethink if the relationship is worth salvaging.

      3. Be Cooperative

      Cooperate with Those Trying to Help You

        It’s one thing to listen, but you also have to be cooperative. Getting defensive will only serve to cause tension and further widen the divide between you and your loved ones. That doesn’t mean you have to accept abusive language; by all means, if you’re being attacked, feel free to get up and walk away. Fixing the kind of damage addiction causes to your interpersonal relationships is rarely a smooth road- but if you are forthright and willing to put in the work necessary for redemption, it is possible.

        When faced with friends or family members asking you to modify certain behaviors in order to salvage the relationships you value, at least consider their words and viewpoint. However, there are some things which are not up for debate on which you should not compromise, such as:

        Advertising

        • Your gender and/or sexual identity and your right to express it
        • Your right to feel safe and respected
        • Your sobriety
        • Your right to be heard as an individual
        • Your universal human rights

        4. Stay Consistent

        Consistency Shows Reliability

          One of the main reasons people are hesitant to believe in people in recovery is that, while under the influence of addiction, one becomes unreliable, inconsistent, and flaky. With one’s priorities shifted by a substance abuse disorder, being there for others or committing to one’s responsibilities rapidly fall into the background. Unfortunately, some view a history of relapse as reason to doubt one’s reliability rather a part of the struggle to conquer the chronic disorder. So how do you rebuild this faith with the odds stacked against you?

          There’s not much you can say to rebuild broken trust; but there is plenty you can do- by backing up your words with actions. Following through with your promises and staying firmly on the sober path can help re-establish the trust and confidence past actions may instill in others. Beyond that, sticking to your word and your goals is a great way to build confidence in yourself and your ability to turn things around. Learning to rely on yourself is essential to successful recovery addiction.

          5. Know When to Walk Away

          Advertising

          Know When to Walk Away From Toxic Relationships

            The reality is, no matter how much we may wish to repair the damage caused in the past and rebuild relationships, it often isn’t up to us. Sometimes we simply cannot let go of the hurt or anger- and sometimes that is for the best. Anyone who would insist on holding your past against you even as you attempt to improve yourself and your life is not someone you need in your future. You do not deserve abuse, neglect, or mistreatment, no matter what others may say.

            Walking away from bad relationships- even ones within the family- is the best thing you can ever do for yourself. With time and distance, you will come to realize those relationships only served to hold you back in the long run. Ideally one would have the support of friends and family through the recovery process, but if they cannot recognize your attempts to better yourself, it’s okay. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people- they’re more important than salvaging a relationship better left in the past.

            More by this author

            Beyond Cheating: When Sex Becomes an Addiction Beyond Cheating: When Sex Becomes an Addiction Combating Monday Blues: 5 Ways to Naturally Elevate Your Mood! Combating Monday Blues: 5 Ways To Naturally Elevate Your Mood Is Your Drinking Ruining Your Love Life? 5 Reasons Your Drinking Destroyed Your Relationship 5 Ways to Jumpstart Your Recovery! 5 Ways To Jumpstart Your Recovery Choosing Sobriety After Childhood Exposure to Substance Abuse

            Trending in Communication

            1 13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently 2 The Key to Happiness and Leading a Fulfilling Life 3 15 Inspiring Ideas to Boost Your Motivation for Success 4 How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success 5 How to Turn Your Fear of Missing Out into a Joy of Missing Out

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on April 23, 2019

            13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently

            13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently

            Let me begin by being 100% frank with you – everyone is capable of happiness.

            Happiness is first a choice but it also takes persistence to maintain. Happiness is our birth right and my mission is to help as many people as I can live their happiest life.

            My mission is to spread the message that everyone deserves happiness.

            To live a happy life; however, you must do the work, gain the necessary knowledge, and increase your awareness.

            You must fully embody this state and begin to think and feel happiness on every level of your being.

            Often times, excuses present themselves and our mind gives us the reasons why we can’t be happy:

            “I am too busy right now to focus on happiness”

            “I will be happy when I finish school, when I have the money, when I am in the right relationship, when I have kids, when my children are older….”

            “I would have had a happy life if this traumatic event had never happened”

            “I don’t deserve happiness”

            EVERYONE deserves happiness. The reason that you are here right now is because you have a purpose and you are on the earth to enjoy your journey.

            Think BIGGER than your excuses. Push FARTHER than your complaints.

            Don’t be pulled away from greatness. Get uncomfortable. At least these are what happy and successful people do on a daily basis.

            This article highlights the top 13 tips and tricks of how happy people think and feel.

            If you would like to begin embodying this life-changing state, then… Here are the 13 ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently:

            1. Happy People Put Happiness First

            Happy people have made the decision that their end goal is happiness.

            Every situation, event, bad day ultimately ends with happiness.

            To them, happiness is equivalent to sleep and water – it is a necessity to their life. To live an unhappy life is to have never lived at all.

            The happy person asks,

            “What would be the point of living if every day and moment were filled with negativity?”

            Advertising

            “Why would I deplete my energy on negativity when I expend less to be positive?”

            They make happy-based decisions which means in EVERY MOMENT they choose happiness.

            If their circumstances can’t change then they instead change their perspective, they look for the silver lining in the negative.

            Happy people don’t let negativity steal their moments away – a positive mindset always prevails.

            If you ask a happy person how their day was, they will always answer your question with a highlight or a lesson learned.

            2. Happy People Embrace Pain

            I know what you are thinking –

            “No one is ALWAYS happy”

            or …

            “Even happy people get in bad moods”

            and …

            These statements are absolutely accurate.

            Happy people aren’t always happy and they DO get into bad moods. They get overwhelmed, they feel defeated, and their feelings get hurt.

            Happy people aren’t invincible and they feel pain just like everyone else. The only difference between happy people and people who let negativity run their lives is that…

            Happy people quickly acknowledge their pain and they make a decision to find a way to transform their pain into something greater. They also use these 13 simple ways to shake off the sadness.

            Happy people admit the negativity they feel and they do what it takes to get back into their natural state: happiness.

            When your end goal is happiness, then you will find a way to achieve it no matter how much strength you have to muster.

            3. Happy People Have a Happy Self-Image

            We all have an image in our minds that we subconsciously live up to.

            The reason that change is so hard is because our subconscious mind is programmed to live by how we define ourselves.

            How are you currently defining yourself?

            For happy people, they see themselves with a smile, positive outlook, and/or a bounce in their step. When an event or situation arises that brings in a negative emotion, they quickly change their state to resemble their natural self-image.

            Advertising

            When happy people are in a bad mood, it feels unusual to them because feeling negative isn’t aligned with how they see themselves.

            When they feel upset, they acknowledge the negativity and look for a solution to bring their emotions to the level of how they perceive themselves.

            Look at how you define yourself today – your mind and body are always trying to live up to the definition it is taught to believe.

            Your body’s job is to keep you in a “normal” state because this is where it feels most comfortable.

            If your self-image is happy, then your mind and body will naturally be brought back to where it feels at home. Your actions will be a clue to how you define yourself.

            4. Happy People Have a Strong Support System

            The happiest people know that it takes a village and they lean on others for support.

            Happy people feel comfortable reaching out for help when they feel that their resistances are overpowering them. They quickly sense their negativity and they tell somebody.

            Happy people ask for assistance when they can’t figure out a problem. Seeking help takes strength and it never gets in the way of their self-worth. Happy people appreciate the wisdom that their support system provides.

            They have strong connections with the people who are close to them. They never trudge through tough times alone because jeopardizing their happiness for too long would be detrimental to their well-being.

            5. Happy People Safeguard Their Minds from Negative Triggers

            Warding off negativity is almost impossible when we live in a society that lives by what went wrong and feeds off of what could go wrong. News travels instantaneously so it would be unrealistic to shut this out of your life completely.

            However, one strategy that happy people use to safeguard their minds is regulating their environment.

            We have a lot of control on how we allow our environments to affect us. We can control our social media feed, the television shows and movies we watch, the books that we read, the people that we spend our time with, and the places that we hang out.

            If happiness is your end goal, then take a good look at what is bringing you down. What triggers your unhappiness? See if there is anything in your environment that can be changed……

            What we listen to, read, and who we hang out with influence our mind, what we think about, what we worry about, our reactions, and behaviors.

            Happy people know what triggers a feeling of negativity and it feels out of alignment for them so they do what it takes to avoid it.

            They might regulate their social media news feed to reflect the information that brings them positive energy. They might regulate the people that they spend their time with. It is important to hang out with like-minded people.

            What are you triggers? How can you avoid the negativity in your environment?

            These are ways that happy people regulate their environment and safeguard their minds.

            6. Happy People Know When to Say “No”

            Happy people know when to sit one out and say “no.” They do this to protect their happiness and well-being.

            Life gets overwhelming – a lot of people need our attention and the to do list can seem never ending.

            Advertising

            Happy people give themselves permission to take the day off and they feel comfortable with saying “no” when their stress levels begin to climb. They understand that those around them aren’t benefiting from someone who is frazzled, overwhelmed, and tired.

            A happy person identifies their negative emotion and then they quickly treat it to bring themselves back to their “normal” state, so that they can be at their best for not only themselves but for those around them, too.

            A simple “no” can ultimately mean many more “yes’s” in the future because happiness has a long battery life. You can take a look at Leo Babauta’s article The Gentle Art of Saying No and learn to say no.

            7. Happy People Are Good Evaluators

            Happy people can quickly sense when something is off with themselves or others. They are very intuitive to happiness levels. When someone isn’t quite right, they are the first ones to notice.

            Being able to evaluate happiness means that you can identify when negativity is lingering around for too long.

            We all have bad days; however, the happy person evaluates often and quickly intervenes.

            In other words, happy people frequently evaluate their state and immediately change when their pessimism is overshadowing their joy.

            8. Happy People Bring Other People Up

            What goes on inside of us is mirrored into our physical world.

            What we think about literally consumes our life and is displayed in our work, relationships, and attitude.

            Happy people naturally feel good inside and about themselves so they treat others the way that they treat themselves. It never feels forced to give a compliment or to help out a stranger.

            When we are truly happy with ourselves, everyone around us has a better experience. Happy people are kind to themselves and because of this, it feels natural to them to want to make others’ happy, too.

            9. Happy People Go After Their Dreams

            Happy people are always following the joyful path. They make happy-based decisions and because of this, they always end up where they want to be.

            It’s absolutely impossible to be happy by following an undesirable path, which is quite opposite for unhappy people.

            Most people journey through life on a path they think they are “supposed” to be own. Warning signs (negativity) are often ignored because they truly believe that these feelings are a normal part of life.

            Negativity is NOT normal.

            The happiest people investigate the negativity in their life and quickly analyze the results. This process allows them to get back on the joyful path which ends in a desirable outcome.

            Follow your happiness and your dreams will come true (If that isn’t motivation then I don’t know what is!)

            In addition to happiness, here are 14 amazing things that happen when you live your passion.

            10. Happy People Never Sweat the Small Stuff

            The only expectation that the happy person has is that they remain in a joyful state.

            They rarely have expectations for the events and people in their lives because they know that this is a sure way to get let down.

            Advertising

            The happiest people take life as it comes – you could say that they roll with the punches. When you don’t have expectations, thenyoue can just sit back and watch how beautifully life unfolds.

            Happy people understand that bad things are inevitable, they are a part of life – The car will break, the kids will make mistakes, people will be late, and dinner will burn.

            If it’s not anything seriously affecting their lives, then they don’t give their energy to it.

            11. Happy People Rarely Have to Prove That They Are Right

            Happy people remember that it’s more important to live up to what they believe. When you live your life aligned with your belief system, then there is no need to explain or prove yourself to others.

            Differences in opinions are inevitable, but the happiest of people know it’s wasted energy to defend their position.

            It is more effective to simply show people, through actions, how you think, feel, and what you believe.

            Energy is saved, arguments are diminished, and credibility/respect are gained when we live by what we believe.

            12. Happy People Smile (Even When They Don’t Want To)

            Smiling is one of the healthiest things we can do; and happy people use this simple trick quite often.

            It has been proven that smiling has the ability to boost your immune system, decrease stress levels, and can even make you look younger. The benefits of smiling have even been backed up by science.[1]

            Better yet, smiling is contagious. When you engage in a quick smile, you are likely to brighten someone else’s day along with your own. It is no wonder why happy people smile often!

            13. Happy People Live Life in the Present Moment.

            When we are genuinely happy, we are living for the moment.

            Happy people let go of the past, enjoy the present, and look forward to the future. They take the moments for what they are worth – they only invest their energy in what feels right to them.

            Everyone is capable of living a happy-centered life. You deserve a life that you desire – your dream life. All you have to start doing is make happy-based decisions TODAY.

            In every moment, decide on what makes you happy – decide on what gets you excited. Stop doing what you don’t love, don’t listen to the people that you dislike.

            If you are engaging in something that isn’t bringing you joy, then quit doing it. Listen to your heart, stop ignoring the warning signs (negativity) because they are there for a reason.

            I have observed, studied, and interviewed some of the happiest and most successful people along with some of the most miserable and self-loathing.

            It starts with one decision – happiness.

            The happiest, most successful people choose happiness with EACH and EVERY decision. And you can start doing this today.

            Featured photo credit: Autumn Goodman via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Harvard Business Review: The Science Behind the Smile

            Read Next