Earning Back Trust
Escaping the grips of active addiction and beginning the journey of recovery is a terrific achievement, but it doesn’t mean that everyone and everything is simply going to fall into place. Let’s face it, years of substance use causes destruction to relationships. Loss of accountability and trust are painful results of compulsive, impulsive, and manipulative behaviors. Losing trust of loved ones is extremely painful. It fills you with guilt and shame knowing your family hides money and valuables before you come over, or your father telling you he wants to believe you but he just cannot tell the difference of when you are lying or telling the truth anymore. Rebuilding relationships is a hard challenge. It takes time to regain trust and respect of the people we have hurt. In order to earns someone’s trust back, you must be willing to earn it.
Start within! In the beginning, it is important to keep the focus on yourself and your recovery. Saying the words “I’m sorry, I swear that will never happen again” doesn’t hold meaning to the people we have hurt. My loved ones had heard it all before only to be let down time and again. Expect for people to be skeptical of you and your recovery possible for the first year.
The results of our behavior was loss of trust. To change our behavior we must change ourselves. This is an inside job. We must turn the focus inward, the place where change begins.
Stop making excuses! Although you may have experienced some terrible things during your life the reality is that life is hard- for everyone. When you choose to stay in the victim mentality you excuse yourself of responsibility and accountability. People cannot trust someone who blames circumstances as the reasons for their behavior. Don’t be a victim of your circumstances be a survivor. Some experiences are traumatic and we need help to move past them. I sought out the help of a therapist to process and overcome some of my own circumstances. You don’t have to do any of this alone.
Be honest! In my active addiction there was no lie I wouldn’t tell to get what I wanted. The constant lies had effect on my loved ones. They could no longer be certain of when I was being honest. For me, lying had become second nature- I would lie even when it was unnecessary. I began practicing honesty by admitting these lies soon after they came out and after time I was able be honest from the start. In recovery you must be honest even when it is difficult. It takes a lot of truth telling before your words can be trusted.
Follow through! Do what you say you are going to do. Be where you say you are going to be. Show up on time. Words are meaningless without intent and follow through. This falls closely with honesty because think about it, saying you are going to do someone thing and then not can feel a lot like being lied to. Following through with commitments taught me responsibility and my consistent actions showed others I was reliable.
Consistency, consistency, consistency! None of these things will matter if you are not showing consistency in your behavior. Perfection is not realistic but when you slip, it should be rare and you must take accountability and responsibility quickly- nothing will set gaining trust back more than being caught doing something we said we would not do.
The good news is after doing the above mentioned things for a period of time you will be well on your way to creating a new, happier and healthier life and people will start to notice the changes. The bad news is that this is not a guarantee you will gain back trust from everybody. Some people may find they are unable to let past transgressions go, and that is something we cannot change. We do not get to choose when or if people trust us again. But if we can honestly say we have done all we could, then we can be at peace with ourselves.
Heroes in Recovery is seeking to Break The Stigma of addiction. You can help!! Join the movement by:
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