Addiction is all about loss. It is well known that addicts lose things like money, jobs, freedom, and so much more. Most addicts also lose trust as part of their addiction. This trust is not just lost in and from others but also self-trust. Losing trust is painful and can leave you feeling guilt and shame when others do not believe anything you say. However, trust is never fully lost or forever gone if you are willing to do the work. Building trust is something that can be earned through action, even after addiction has been an issue. There are no shortcuts to rebuilding trusting relationships, but it is possible. The remainder of this article will share some basic ways to start rebuilding trust. Remember each step is a long term commitment, not something to be done once and forgotten, trust takes time.
Though it may seem counterproductive, the first step in building trust is to focus on yourself without begging for forgiveness. This is especially true in the first year of recovery. A big part of trust is letting others see you start building a good life for yourself. If you can learn to trust yourself, others will begin to trust you as well. Stay your course and let others watch from a distance for a while, this goes a long way toward earning trust later on. This healing will come in time if you truly focus on yourself to discover where the dies and distrust originated and correct that issue. The next step is to avoid being a victim. There are likely times that you did some terrible things in life and during active addiction. Playing the victim in all of that will do you no favors. Be honest about what happened, ask forgiveness, and move on.
As part of building your new life you should also create a routine and stick to it. This builds trust because you can show that you will be where you say you are going to with regularity. Routine is equal to predictability and reliability.
Do the right thing without fail. While mistakes will occur, you do tend to know what needs to be done and what is right so choose wisely. Additionally, stay humble in all you do so your word can be impeccable and certain. This can be a valuable asset in all things in life. In all these steps your goal is to be consistent and earn trust back slowly.
Unfortunately, even with all these steps and hard work, there will be people that will never trust you again or limit their trust. This is not a bad thing, this is just life. Addiction hurts both you and others and those scars can run deep. Simply keep working on yourself and your life and if these individuals cannot trust you then move on with your own goals. You can learn to trust yourself, build new relationships, and create a life that is worth living. You are in recovery for yourself first and if others have been too hurt then you can move forward without them. You are worth the effort, but you must also put in the work.
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