Chances are, while you were deeply involved in substance abuse and were battling your addiction, you burned some bridges and destroyed some relationships that were important to you. People you loved may have become upset with you, and perhaps mostly gave up on you during this time period; after many attempts at helping you, it may have become too much for them to handle, and they may have begun to think of you as a lost cause. Perhaps your behavior become unbearable to them to see, or even worse, the addicted you broke too many promises, or even stole from them or made their life difficult in some other nearly unbelievable or heartbreaking way. Now, though, you have stopped using drugs and alcohol, and your life is on the up and up. You are recovering, and you are back to being the person your loved ones once knew well and loved intensely. You want to rebuild these relationships, and ask for forgiveness, but how?
Rebuilding relationships you destroyed during the time you were struggling isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible. Sure, some people may never forgive you, and may have written you off for life. But others may be open to tentatively welcoming you back into their lives, and by taking the right steps to get there, you may very well be able to repair the bonds you once held with these people that you love, and who loved you – and who deep down, still love you.
There are many steps to seeking and finding forgiveness in any situation, but the steps a recovering addict must take are even more numerous. Remember, your loved ones want to love you again, but the person they saw during your addiction is fresh in their minds and may be difficult to quickly forget. However, if you are calm, careful, and calculated, you may still be able to turn things around.
- First, forgive yourself. Before anyone can forgive you for anything, you first must forgive yourself. You know that the addicted you isn’t the real you; you know that your life and decisions and actions were driven by your addiction to drugs or alcohol. The recovering you never would do some of the things you did, and the person that you were before you starting using wouldn’t have either. Your recognition of this is exactly what put you on the path to recovery to begin with, and now, here you are. Even if your loved ones with whom you wish to mend fences with continues to hold your actions against, you, once you have forgiven yourself, you are already moving forward on your new and healthy path wholeheartedly, and you can hope as time passes that they will come around and forgive you, too.
- Accept responsibility. Although as mentioned above, we all recognize that the person you were when you were an active substance abuser wasn’t truly you in many ways, fact is – it also very much was You made many mistakes during your active addiction, and you need to take responsibility for those actions. This is where apologies come in. Although you likely apologized many times before, and then went ahead and repeated the same behavior, now is the time to offer your loved ones a true and sincere apology for what you put them through while you were using. They may not forgive you right away, or ever, entirely, but offering a true and thorough apology that you mean and feel from the bottom of your heart is a foundational step in rebuilding the relationships you have destroyed.
- Work on building trust and be honest. It may seem impossible to regain trust, and it will certainly take some time. The key to regaining trust, though, is complete and total honesty. It’s important to tell the people that you love that you will always be honest with them from this point forward – and that includes telling them the truth when you feel you may be slipping or struggling again. Hiding things from them and sneaking around is likely a big part of what strained your relationship to begin with, so you need to assure them that that sort of thing will not happen again. Be open with your feelings – both good and bad – and encourage them to do so as well. Open communication will only strengthen the rebuilding of your relationship, and will help to keep it healthy as you continue to work on your recovery.
- Request their patience, and give it time. Nothing is easy in early recovery, and for the most part, you need to stay focused on yourself and your sobriety. This may be hard for others to understand, and they may feel neglected – especially if you have reached out to them to try to repair things, but then are not wholly available all the time. Encourage them to be patient while you work on yourself and while you try to get life back to the normal it once was before you started using, or before you got to a point where you needed to seek treatment. Nothing can be entirely fixed in a day – or even a week or several months – so be aware of that, and make sure your loved ones are aware of that too. In time, you can redirect your focus off of yourself and onto the lives of the people around you, and to rebuilding the relationships that were strained while you were using.
- Focus on continuing to improve. Once you have sought and completed treatment, you have to focus on each day, one at a time. Every day and situation will be a new challenge for you, but as long as your focus and intent is in the right place, things will continue to improve. Reassure the people with whom you are trying to restore bonds that you are constantly working on your recovery and that you are improving and getting stronger each day, and share with them your successes as you move forward. As they see you working hard to be better and healthier, they will likely be more willing to come around and see that you truly are a changed person, and are a person that is dedicated to this new and healthier lifestyle, and in turn, your relationships with them will improve bit by bit.
Getting sober is never easy, and neither is rebuilding relationships with people who, for a time, lost faith in you. However, if you follow these steps and keep working on your health and progress, you can, in most cases, restore relationships with the people who are important to you. Be patient, be honest, and keep moving forward. In the rare case that someone will not forgive you for who you were when you were using, give them space, and keep continued hope for the future. You never know when someone will truly see and embrace the new person you have become, and when they finally may come around.
At Clear Sky Recovery, we are here to help you on this journey. Ibogaine is often viewed as “addiction interruption,” resetting your mind and body to a point where addiction quickly becomes something that is a part of your past. However, we realize that much work still must be done after your time with us, and we are here to help you on that journey as well. Please give us a call and get started on the process, our intake specialists are standing by to discuss with you the ways in which ibogaine treatment can help you on the first steps to a happier, healthier you. Once you stop using, it’s amazing the ways your life can change, and in turn, the relationships that suffered during your active addiction can begin to change for the better, too.
Dr. Sola is one of the world’s leading experts in medically-based ibogaine treatment; he has more clinical experience with safe and effective ibogaine administration than any other M.D. in the world today.