My parents had good reason to not trust me - AmbrosiaTC Ambrosia Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center
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Addiction & Trust

Trust is the core of meaningful relationships.

During addiction, relationships suffer as trust evaporates. Without laying the critical groundwork to restore healthy relationships in recovery — built on trust and with strong boundaries — the probability of relapse skyrockets.

“My parents had good reason to not trust everything I did. But for years after I was clean, even their well-intentioned comments – like ‘don’t do anything you’re not supposed to’ – seemed to belittle my achievements. I kept wondering how long would it take for me to regain their trust, and I didn’t have an answer.

Eventually, by communicating my feelings and staying on the right track for much longer than I thought it would take, my family came around. Trust can be rebuilt, but it took time, patience and truly admitting what I put them through.”

Trust is the core of meaningful relationships.

How-To & FAQ Articles

Welcoming your loved one home after treatment for addiction can be both a gratifying relief and a stressful ordeal. For months (if not years) your life has been centered around the addict and their disease, profoundly straining your relationship and destroying any trust.

Ultimately, both sides must agree to change and rebuild.

1.Don’t Obsess

In the beginning, some amount of doubt is common, including obsessing over questions like:

  • “What if they aren’t attending meetings like they say they are?”
  • “What if they’re calling their dealer instead of their sponsor?”
  • “What if they’re using again?”

Family members often act on these worries by policing their loved one and constantly looking for signs of relapse. However, paranoid thoughts and actions are not healthy for anyone and clearly convey a lack of trust. Feelings of resentment, discouragement and hopelessness can start to form if your loved one feels like they can never earn back your trust.

If you don’t give your loved one in recovery a chance to be trusted, you will never trust them.

If you want to trust your loved one, don’t automatically assume they are lying. Instead, use that energy to refocus on your own life and hobbies. Distraction therapy helps get personal problems off the mind for a little while and reconnect with yourself.

2. Relinquish Control

If you were responsible for your loved one’s finances, well-being and whereabouts while they were in active addiction, you need to make a plan to transfer these responsibilities. Control is rooted in fear. You were afraid of what might happen if your loved one couldn’t manage daily life but just as much as you want recovery for your loved one, you cannot force them to stay sober.

Accountability often morphs into responsibility. Give your loved one the space to become independent, including:

  1. Asking yourself ”what do I gain from trying to control my loved one’s recovery and life?” Often, all you have to gain emotional, mental and physical stress if things don’t go exactly the way you expect.
  2. Allowing your loved one to take care of their own finances. Let them find a job, balance their checkbook and learn to budget.
  3. Stopping the excuses for your loved one. Let them take responsibility for their actions.

What you do have control over is how your respond and support your loved one growing in recovery, through slips and accomplishments.

Your loved one is just as new to this as you, so setting healthy boundaries with each other is beneficial to understanding the tolerance of certain behavior. Simply put, learn to let go and say no.

3.Communicate

Regularly discussing current concerns and expectations allows both parties to establish and maintain trust. Always encourage open communication with love, care, trust and respect.

Listen

Learning to listen is essential to understanding your loved one. Take a moment to stop what you’re doing and recognize the feelings they are trying to convey.

Think First

Be sure you are in a good place emotionally before breaching sensitive topics. To help disarm the situation, express your feelings by stating how you feel instead of using language that points the finger at your loved one. Once you have expressed your feelings, give them the chance to respond. Pay attention not only to what you say but how you express yourself, including both your tone and non-verbal communication.

Address the Past

To trust again, the betrayal and hurt must be acknowledged. At the appropriate time, discussion of past situations allows the other person to be aware of other’s sensitivities and vulnerabilities.

4.Be Trustworthy

If you want to be trusted, be trustworthy. Trust is a two-way street. Being trustworthy is confirmation that you are reliable, supportive and honest. Remember:

  • Actions prove more than words – have more than good intentions
  • Keep your word – when you say that you will do something, do it. If you have problems keeping your word, talk to the person involved and find a way to compromise by still standing beside your word.
  • Be honest – simply, don’t lie. Be sensitive the state of the relationship and your loved one, but keep your feedback and feelings honest.
  • Be kind – Kindness is the outward appearance of compassion. Compassion must be felt from within and learned through experience, simply by being open-minded and non-judgemental.
  • Keep confidence – If people tell you things in confidence, it is because they trust you. Gossiping can cause future pain and suffering.
5. Remember Your Own Recovery

Without outside guidance from therapists or fellow support group members, you may find it hard to follow the advice outlined in the previous steps, all of which are critical to re-establishing trust and repairing your relationship. Ambrosia’s drug rehab centers in Florida and California offer additional resources for families and loved ones, such as on-site family meetings and e-therapy. If you need help finding local support resources, call our help hotline at (888) 492-0489.

Recovery is an ongoing process. Healing from wounds that were cut years ago takes time, understanding and hard work. The goal is to keep moving forward and continue to grow the trust within the newly designed life you are building together.

Addiction has many devastating consequences, but the deterioration of relationships and trust is usually the most painful. Addicts often lie more often than they tell the truth. It becomes second nature, even when it doesn’t make any sense to lie. It’s not personal. In fact, many addicts have been lying for so long — from hiding their condition to skirting around the rules to get what they need — they don’t even realize they’re doing it anymore. As much as you want to give them the benefit of the doubt, most times they cannot be trusted. But why do they lie in the first place?

Denial

Even with plenty of evidence showing the truth, denial can urge an addict to ignore the consequences of their behavior and reject the idea that there is a problem at all. Denial is very powerful. An addict may truly believe the addiction is not a problem, that their family and friends are to blame or that people simply have to live with their disease.

Because they Can

Addicts continue to lie because they can. Sometimes, family and friends further exacerbate the problem by enabling the addict to continue the reckless behavior. This could be in the form of making excuses, helping them with daily tasks, paying for things, allowing them to live in their home, etc. If an addict is not seeing consequences from lying, they are not deterred to stop.

Shame

When addicts are sober, they usually experience feelings of embarrassment, regret and shame. For most, dealing with reality in a way that does not include using is not an option. They cope with their unpleasant feelings by doing what they know to help, which is use drugs or alcohol. Addicts will often lie about their problems to others in order to appear that they have everything under control, including their emotions.

To Preserve their Addiction

Addicts will do whatever it takes to allow their addiction to continue. If they confront the seriousness of their addiction, they would have to stop using. Their brains signal the need for drugs or alcohol. They will cut out anything or anyone who will stand in the way of their habit and, unfortunately, this can include those who are trying to help.

The bottom line is — whether they mean to or not, those in active addiction will lie. Trusting an addict is near impossible because the underlying physical and mental addiction at play. However, once in recovery, addicts can regain trust with consistency and time.

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Don’t let denial drag out the suffering. Addiction is serious. You can (and should) get help before it completely takes over your life.

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