Losing Trust with Addiction
Addiction changes lives, and it’s not just the lives of those who are addicted. Family members, friends, and acquaintances are often damaged in the wake of addiction. It is not uncommon for an addict to lie, cheat, steal, and much more in order to feed the addiction. One of the things lost on both sides of addiction is trust. An addict may lose trust in family and friends because they tried to force rehab or lied about discussing the addiction and loved ones may lose trust in the addict because of all the behaviors over time. However, rebuilding trust is possible.
It may seem odd that family members may need to rebuild trust with the addict during recovery, but the truth is addiction steals trust for many reasons and in many ways. Even after the addict gets help and is in recovery, the memories of how they were treated can leave relationships strained. This is usually because there was a difference in opinion over getting help and someone was too tough or too lenient and conflict ensues. It will take time to rebuild this trust.
On the other hand, it will also take time for others to trust the addict once again. Addiction brings about many behaviors that break trust. Addicts may steal, lie, cheat, disappear, and break promises in order to further the addiction and this ruins trust. The good news is it is possible to rebuild that trust.
Basic Steps to Rebuilding Trust
The basic steps to rebuilding trust are time, boundaries, consistency and honesty. This is not as easy as it sounds, but it is necessary to rebuild trust on both sides of addiction. For the addict and those that are hurt it will take time before trust is given. This may mean weeks, months, or even years before people can once again trust each other. During this time both parties must be consistent and honest with one another, even when it is difficult. This is what is hardest for most people as it is difficult to be honest when the truth is not great. However, if you are consistently honest, even when it does not benefit you in any way or is even embarrassing, then trust will grow as people understand it is hard to share.
Another area that is difficult but necessary is to set boundaries. Addiction ruins boundaries, so when in recovery boundaries are necessary. Make sure both sides know and keep these boundaries. If they are broken then there should be basic consequences. These boundaries will create healthy relationships.
Consistency is Key
Finally, consistency is key. Addiction tends to make someone inconsistent in everything but the addiction. Addicts likely missed big family events, made plans that they bailed on, or just broke numerous promises and this breaks trust. Once in recovery it is best to be consistent and do as you say you are going to do in life. Even small promises and agreements should be kept and this consistency will help build trust. The same is true of the loved ones of the addict. If they agree to something then the promise should be kept. Remember, it is ok to say no to activities, but if you say yes then do what you said. This simple act goes a long way to building trust.
If you or a loved one is in active addiction then seek help. DARA can help you not only overcome addiction, but help to start rebuilding trust and relationships through family counseling and individual counseling while at a DARA facility. Addiction steals so much, but much of it can be regained in time and with work. Call to book a room and get the help you need today.
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