Drug and alcohol abuse not only affects you, it also affect everyone around us. Our actions can take a toll on loved ones and, often times, personal relationships become strained. Some loved ones hold on and endure the hurt, while some cut you off completely.
But what happens once you get clean and sober? Is it possible to mend these damaged friendships without one side looking in the rear-view mirror?
Sobriety Doesn’t Always Equal Forgiveness
Though it may take some time to rebuild trust, many past friendships are, in fact, salvageable.
In these situations, friends will need to see that you are able to juggle all the stresses of life and still maintain balance. They will need to see you honor commitments and act with integrity. Most importantly, though, they will need to see you remain sober, which is the biggest indicator that you have changed.
Unfortunately, it’s highly likely you’ll likely encounter a friend who is unwilling to forgive what you’ve done. Sometimes, there’s just too much water under the bridge and the resentment held towards you can run deep. As a result, you may come face-to-face with unresponsive friends or encounter hostility from those who used to play a big part in your life. But even if this does happen, don’t let it discourage you.
It’s important to remember that, although you’ve changed your life, you can’t change how others feel about you. You have no control over another person’s thoughts or emotions, but you do have control over this: the direction of your own recovery. Staying positive about the future, forgiving yourself, practicing acceptance and letting go of resentment toward those who won’t forgive are all steps in the right direction.
Keep Moving Forward
Another way to keep moving forward is to make the conscious decision not to dwell on the past. Even though some relationships aren’t capable of rekindling, it doesn’t mean others won’t appreciate the person you’ve become today.
Instead, take time to forge new friendships and place yourself around those who have similar interests, with those who don’t hold your past against you and with those who have your best interests at heart. These relationships will be essential down the road and will help you maintain success with your sobriety. After all, recovery is much more probable when you’re around those who want you to rise, not fall.
Additional Reading: What’s a BFF’s Role in Recovery?
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