Interacting with others is part of life. While you can limit your interactions this is not always the healthiest option, especially when in recovery. Though this does not mean your social and support circle does not need to change to include healthy non users, it does mean that totally isolating yourself is unhealthy and can quickly lead to relapse. As you start to rebuild relationships in recovery there are some basic aspects you need to look for to know whether a relationship is healthy or unhealthy. Remember this is not just true in recovery but in life in general.
Relationships are a part of everyday life. A healthy heart can enter into a healthy relationship and healthy relationships are central to recovery. Recovery without healthy relationships perpetuates the self-obsession that led the addiction in the first place. In recovery focus must be shifted so we can share and relate to others. A healthy heart involved in healthy relationships is the total opposite of addiction. Addiction maintains a secret life marked by fear and control. There are numerous differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships, which will be shared in the remainder of this article.
Reality versus fantasy is something that must be addressed in relationships. Healthy relationships are based in reality in which you share in the other person’s personal growth. These relationships cannot be based on changing the other person into what we think they should or could be. You should not place the other person on a pedestal as they are human and will make mistakes, you should expect that they feel the same about you. Completing versus finding completion in a relationship means that you complete the other person, not yourself as this is codependency. If you need another person to complete yourself then you have become dependent on this person and trouble will follow.
Friendship versus victimization in a relationship means that the relationship must be based in friendship. The other person or you should not demand that the other person sacrifice in order to make you happy. While sacrifice to help the other person may occur, it should never be demanded.
Forgiveness versus resentment in relationships means that you can forgive one another and leave the past in the past within reason. There is a point in the relationship where forgiveness cannot occur as the relationship has become unhealthy. Vulnerability versus defensiveness in a healthy relationship means that you feel comfortable letting your guard down without fear. You no longer feel the need to defend your actions constantly as you trust the other person. Finally, honesty versus deception means that you can be open and honest with the other person even when it is difficult. All healthy relationships are built on honesty.
Now that you understand the difference in healthy and unhealthy relationships, examine your own. Are they healthy? Can changes be made to make them healthy? If the answer is no to both of these questions then you may need to remove that person from your life. Your recovery can hang in the balance.
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