Deciding to enter rehab for treatment is a huge step towards recovery. But, one of the most significant challenges people face after completing a rehabilitation programme is rebuilding relationships that may have been strained or broken due to addiction.

Whether it’s broken trust or overcoming the distance that active addiction created, this blog will explore repairing relationships after addiction.


The Impact of Addiction on Relationships

Addiction can deeply affect relationships, causing many problems. Everyone’s situation and experiences are different, but when someone is engaging in substance abuse and in active addiction, it can break the trust between them and their loved ones. They might lie, be unreliable and not keep promises, which hurts their relationship with those who care about them. This makes it hard to talk openly and honestly with each other.

The emotional bonds in relationships also suffer, and it’s typical for family members and friends to feel abandoned, hurt, angry, let down and sad. They might want to help but also feel frustrated and tired because they don’t know how. Living with someone who has an addiction can be very stressful and unpredictable.

The process of rebuilding relationships is not without its challenges, and one of the biggest ones is a reluctance to forgive. Whether it’s within the family unit or a friendship circle, some people will feel hesitant to forgive as a way to protect themselves from hurt. This is purely a self-protection mechanism. Continue to show through your actions that you are committed to change and be patient as they come to terms with the past.


Steps to Rebuilding Relationships After Rehab

Rebuilding relationships after rehab isn’t always easy. But, with a bit of patience, understanding, and effort, it is achievable – even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

Taking Accountability

If you and your loved one are in a position where open communication is starting to happen, a good place to start would be taking accountability for the pain addiction may have caused between the two of you.

This isn’t about making yourself feel overwhelmed by guilt. All it should be about is understanding and acknowledging how your actions may hurt others during this point in your life. This can be a difficult step, but it is necessary for healing. It’s quite common for loved ones to feel like they need to know that you recognise the impact of your behaviour and that you are committed to making amends as part of your recovery journey. Showing empathy by acknowledging their feelings and validating their experiences can go a long way.

Sharing and Listening

If you’re comfortable doing so, share what you’ve been through in rehab and your progress. Be transparent about the steps you are taking to maintain your sobriety and the challenges you face. At the same time, listen to your loved ones, how they might be feeling and the concerns they have without getting defensive.

This means being open to their feedback and trying to understand their perspective at the same time. Honest conversations help rebuild trust and create a level of common ground, especially if you’ve grown distant from each other. Make sure to create a safe space for these discussions, where both parties can speak freely and without judgment.

Being Patient

Asking for forgiveness is important, but understand that it may take time.

Be patient and show through your actions that you are committed to change. This means consistently demonstrating your commitment to sobriety and positive change. Over time, your loved ones will see your sincerity and begin to trust you again. It’s important to remember that rebuilding trust is a process, and there may be setbacks along the way. Stay committed to your recovery and continue to show your loved ones that you are serious about working on the relationship. Actions always speak louder than words and help rebuild the lost trust.

Setting Healthy Rules

Establishing healthy boundaries is important for both you and your loved ones.

Respecting these boundaries creates a safe and supportive environment, which is essential for rebuilding relationships. Discuss and agree on what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. This can help prevent misunderstandings and conflicts. Family therapy can help address issues, improve communication, and strengthen family bonds.

A therapist can guide you through difficult conversations and provide tools to help you navigate the complexities of your relationships. It’s important to be consistent in respecting these boundaries and to be willing to adjust them as needed.

Keep Trying and Stay Consistent

Consistency is key.

Rebuilding trust takes time, and it’s important to show your commitment to sobriety and positive change through consistent actions. This means following through on your promises and being reliable. Trust can be regained by being dependable and sticking to your word. Make an effort to be present and engaged in your relationships. Show up for your loved ones and be there when they need you, and they’ll do the same. Consistency in your actions will help to rebuild trust and strengthen your relationships over time.

Make New Happy Memories

Focus on creating new, positive memories with your loved ones.

Try engaging in activities that bring you closer together, but don’t feel as though you have to put any pressure on it. This could be as simple as going for a walk and getting coffee together. The point is that these experiences can help heal old wounds and build stronger relationships. By focusing on creating new, positive memories, you can start moving on from the painful ones associated with your addiction and building a stronger relationship that’s bounced back from a traumatic time.

Being Patient with Yourself and Others

It’s about making progress, not being perfect. So, try to be patient not just with your loved ones but with yourself, too.

Leaving rehab and adjusting to life in recovery is bound to be difficult at times. Understand that setbacks are a natural part of the recovery process, and don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go as planned. Stay focused on your growth and the positive changes you are making. Encourage your loved ones to be patient as well and remind them that rebuilding relationships takes time.


Can Professional Support Help With Rebuilding Relationships After Addiction?

Sometimes, we need some guidance from someone who’s completely neutral. We need a safe place to be completely honest and openly talk about our own recovery. We need another listening ear to mediate. This is where a professional session would be incredibly useful.

If this sounds like something you would personally benefit from, we recommend considering the following types of support:

  • Engaging in individual therapy: Working on yourself will be a continuous journey. This form of mental health support can help you address personal issues that may affect your relationships.
  • Group therapy and family therapy: Involves working together with your loved ones to rebuild trust and improve communication.
  • Support groups: Joining a support group can provide a community of people who understand what you’re going through and offer advice on rebuilding relationships.


Looking Forwards, Not Backwards

It’s easy to dwell on the past when you’re in recovery. Your mind is clear, and you’re faced with the memories of active addiction. If this is something you’re feeling, it’s essential to separate yourself from the disease you’re recovering from. Addiction does not define you, and, like anything, in time, day-to-day life will feel easier. All you can ever do is your best, and your best is good enough.

If you or a loved one needs help in finding the right addiction treatment, programmes or support services, our team are always here to help. Contact us today on 0800 012 6088 or text HELP to 83222


  • [1] hesitant to forgive as a way to protect themselves from hurt -