Getting off of drugs is a large achievement. It takes courage and determination. I remember the months following my recovery when I had all of the best intentions. With a new chance at life, I couldn’t wait to start rebuilding relationships with all of the people I loved. I felt like I was on top of the world. But I knew I would have to do some work to repair the trust I had destroyed.
After spending years lying, stealing, and damaging all of the relationships around me, it was going to take more than twenty-eight days of rehab and a few months of being sober to build the trust back. I have seen this problem in the families of many addicts and mine was no different. I knew I had to earn the trust, but I wasn't sure how to do it.
I started by sitting down with everybody and apologizing. I needed to let them know that I acknowledged my dishonesty in the past and that I wanted to try to rebuild their trust in me. Most families, including mine, have heard this speech before so I didn’t expect every person to be trusting in the beginning.
The next step was to show them with my actions. I stayed off drugs and lived a productive life. I would offer up info about my day-to-day activities and tell them when I was having a hard time. I didn’t have to be perfect I just had to be genuine. I invited them to services for loved ones of addicts but never pushed any of this on them. Every situation is unique and will take different time frames.
An important thing that I had to realize was that I had the luxury of being intoxicated during most of the hurtful events in my addiction. My loved ones were sober and had a much better recollection of those events. They were still hurt from some of the things I said and did while I was using, but in time things got easier. Talk is cheap but it's not worthless. It was important for me to vocalize my plans and even more important for me to carry them out. Trust is still something that I work for, but every month clean helps with the rebuilding. It is definitely something that must be earned not given.