About the Author: Michelle Peterson contacted me to post an article for National Recovery Month and, of course, it is a worthy celebration to honor.
She declined to post her own photo and wanted to say very little about herself. Below is her only comment:
"Michelle Peterson believes the journey to sobriety should not be one of shame but of pride. Her mission is aligned with that of RecoveryPride, which is to celebrate sobriety and those who achieve it."
In reading her article you will see she is passionate about her cause.
Photo via Pixabay by BDCBethebest
Substance abuse causes many changes in relationships, and it can be difficult to repair things with a loved one after so much has happened. It may seem insurmountable, that you’ve both been through a terrible time and there’s no coming back from it. And while you may find yourself to be changed after heading down a sober path, it’s hard to convince the people who knew you before that things will be different.
Drugs and alcohol can lead us down dark paths, into infidelity, lies, manipulation, and even crime. It can put a heavy burden on family members and other loved ones who only want to help, and even when recovery begins, those loved ones may still suffer because there are so many hurtful moments from the past that they can’t get over. With a romantic relationship, there may be a lot to unpack, but it’s important to take responsibility for your own actions and face up to the consequences rather than laying blame somewhere else. This is the first step to reconciling, especially if there was infidelity involved; according to Swiftriver.com, infidelity is traumatizing. It causes the wronged party to question you, your relationship, and themselves.
Fortunately, there are some other ways you can rebuild your relationship and try to make it stronger than before. It begins with trust, which will take time.
Keep your expectations realistic
You may be tempted to try and start over right away, just weeks or even days into a recovery program. It’s imperative that you understand how much time it takes to rebuild trust and to resolve past issues, which must be done. You can’t gloss over everything that happened and expect everything to be okay; allow your loved one to talk about their feelings and to vent about the situation. Try to be patient and understanding, and look at things from their point of view if possible.
If you’re already in a recovery program and are seeing a therapist or counselor for that, you may be wary of seeking help from someone for your relationship. However, attending therapy together can help you and your partner learn better ways to communicate, which is key when you’re rebuilding things.
Make some changes
Don’t expect your partner to be the one who does all the hard work; you’ll need to make some changes if you want to see things move in the right direction with your loved one. This might mean getting healthier--eating a well-balanced diet, exercising daily, making better choices altogether--or it might mean removing certain people from your life. It can be hard to walk toward a new chapter and leave some things behind, but if you’re ready to put the work into your relationship, it’s important to have a fresh start with no temptations.
Make your connection stronger
Once you’ve started the rebuilding process, it’s important to make your connection stronger than ever. Communication is one part of that, but it also means spending quality time together, learning how to be the best “other half” you can be, and supporting your partner’s goals while they support yours. You can find some great insight into how to go about doing just that in this helpful article.
Keeping your expectations reasonable is half the battle. You may think you’re fully prepared to make a lot of positive changes in your life after recovery begins, but you need to be patient with yourself and give your body and mind time to heal and process what you’ve been through. Then, you can begin to pick up the pieces and make them whole again.
Info & Authors
This Guest Blog will feature contributions from experts & other advocates on topics that speak to integration of mind, body & spirit wellness.