Building Trust in Recovery

This article was written by Devon Berkheiser and published by Practical Recovery


You can build trust again!

Often, building trust with loved ones is a significant part of the recovery process. It’s not uncommon for people in the midst of an addiction to engage in lying, sneaking, and other behaviors that create a loss of trust in relationships. While it can be daunting to think about repairing your important relationships, here are 5 ways to help you manage the process:

1. Be patient

First and foremost, recognize that rebuilding trust takes time. Addictive behaviors may have occurred over a span of many years, so it’s not realistic to think that you’ll be able to regain trust immediately. Your friends and family members have their own feelings to work through, so give them time and space for that. It’s normal to want to make things better right away in order to avoid discomfort or pain, but it’s important to allow the necessary time for healing.

2. Be honest

When attempting to repair a loss of trust, honesty is definitely the best policy. Even a minor lie will bring up old wounds and memories of past hurts, so make sure that you are truthful in your communications.

3. Be transparent

Go beyond simply being honest and make an effort to be as forthcoming and transparent as possible. Trust will start to rebuild more quickly if your loved ones feel like you are openly sharing information, and they won’t feel like they have to pry. To the extent that you feel comfortable, tell your loved ones about the steps that you are taking in your recovery and your typical daily activities. They will feel grateful to be included in the process.

4. Follow through

Reliability is an important component of trust. If you say you are going to do something, do it. Show that you are dependable and that your word really does mean something.

5. Be understanding

While you have taken significant steps toward recovery, your family members may need time to recognize and appreciate the changes you have made. Your loved ones are also likely to have a lot of anxiety about the possibility of a slip, which is understandable considering that slips are part of the recovery process for many people. Be understanding of the fact that your friends and family have to go through their own process of change, and that they will have their own feelings to manage and work through. They will likely make mistakes along the way, so try to be compassionate rather than defensive. Like you, they are probably doing the best they can.

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