5 Meditation Practices for People in RecoveryOctober 10, 2017
5 Ways to Help Somebody Struggling with AddictionOctober 25, 2017
Addiction is a disease that affects the family so deeply that we may never even fully understand its impact. Saying, “I’m sorry,” seems trite and inadequate in the face of such an overwhelming problem. Still, it’s a good place to start.
Here are some tips to help learn how to forgive yourself and begin rebuilding family ties:
- Work on Yourself First
If you don’t forgive yourself, how can you expect forgiveness from others? Showing self-resentment around your family does nothing but open old wounds. Resentment will breed more resentment, so address this issue before you do anything else.This can be a difficult step to master. Understand that you are not your past mistakes. You can feel remorse and regret without carrying self-hate forward in your life. The person who did those things was the old you that was controlled by drugs. Addiction isn’t a choice, so this wasn’t your fault. Now, you have regained control, and you can move forward with love and forgiveness.
- Use Your Apologies Sparingly
When you continually apologize, you open and reopen old wounds. Your apologies may even remind your loved ones of empty apologies you’ve previously given. Remember that it’s as difficult for your loved ones to hear your apology as it is for you to speak it.Your goal is not to forget that the past happened but to set your sights on the present and future.
Actions speak louder than words. Be the person you want your family to see you as. If you are sorry for your actions, find ways to make things up to your family members. Take small actions every day to show them you care. These can be small things like taking out the trash every day or taking a chore from someone else’s task list.
- Give Them Time
Forgiveness doesn’t happen overnight. It will take your family time to adjust to the new you and understand that the past is truly behind you. This process will be different for each person. Just because your mother has forgiven you doesn’t mean your sister is close behind. Everyone has their own process, and it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with you. All you can do is stick to your path and continue putting addiction further away in the rearview mirror. They will eventually come around. In the meantime, try to understand that they are coming from a place of pain; don’t let their resistance upset you.To help expedite the healing process, consider enrolling in one of your local family addiction therapy programs. This will ensure that your family members also get the emotional support they need to help them through the healing process.
- Become a Better Listener
Addicts quickly become masters of justification. Excuses flow freely, and you get used to having to defend your actions. When you get sober, you have to throw that all out the window and become a better listener. Listen when your family members tell you about their pain and struggles. As difficult as it may seem, do not interject. Do not attempt to explain why you did what you did. Explanations aren’t what your family needs. They know why you did what you did. Now, all they need is for you to acknowledge their pain.
- Exhibit Patience
A funny thing happens when you shine the spotlight on your own flaws in an attempt to become a better person. You start seeing that everyone else is flawed too. Maybe you even inherited some of your flaws from your parents. However, you must understand that this is your journey, not theirs.In a perfect world, everyone would recognize and address their own flaws, and we would all be better people. This isn’t a perfect world. Learning to live with people as they are is a large part of recovery. In fact, it’s the only way you’re going to mend those family relationships.
Have patience with people and understand that it’s not your job to fix, or even point out their flaws.
- Accept What Cannot Be Changed
Unfortunately, you may find that not every family relationship can be fully repaired. You may need to adjust your relationship with someone or sever ties completely. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but you must respect their decision. Some people have trouble trusting after trust has been broken. It may have as much to do with their personal history as it does with your past behavior. Accept what you cannot change without harboring anger or ill will. Focus on the positive relationships you have maintained and continue nurturing those as you find your way through the recovery process.When you first get sober, rebuilding family ties seems like an insurmountable feat. But if you give them three things, you have a good chance at rebuilding those relationships. Be sure to give your loved ones:
- A venue to talk about their feelings without your input
- Your patience because you know this process isn’t easy for them either
- Plenty of time and space to heal in their own way
Congratulations on your commitment to getting sober and rebuilding family bonds. It may be a long journey, but it will be worthwhile.