Earning Back Trust
Addiction is a pernicious enemy when it comes to dealing with the damage caused throughout your life. It’s not always clear until long after the fact that you hurt people close to you and damaged relationships. When you’re struggling with an addiction to any substance or activity, it can overwhelm your mind to the extent that you aren’t thinking clearly and aren’t really yourself. This puts you in a position to lie to those close to you as much as you lie to yourself, and to say things that can damage feelings and relationships for years to come, even without meaning to.
Once you come out of the fog through a stable addiction recovery process, it suddenly becomes evident just how much damage you caused. Sometimes you’ll find that you’ve used up and discarded some of the best friends and lovers in your life. Part of coming back to your life with sobriety is learning to rebuild your life. If your life looks like a stampede of elephants went trampling through and left piles of debris in their wake, then you have some idea of the work involved in rebuilding and repairing the things that addiction can destroy.
Friends and family who have been lied to repeatedly will always have a mistrust of a recovering addict.
This has become an unfortunate stereotype that an addict is not trustworthy but much of it is based in fact. Addiction gets us so concerned with seeking the next fix and, often, covering up the problem entirely. It’s on you to rebuild what you and your addiction have knocked down.
If you’ve damaged personal relationships with dishonesty and selfishness, the first step to rebuilding trust with loved ones is humility. You must admit that you dropped your end of the bargain and must humbly pick it up and offer the olive branch of peace. Not everyone will be ready to forgive you but if you stay vigilant and humble in your offering of peace and friendship, they’ll come around eventually.
Addiction recovery is about changing your whole attitude and lifestyle in order to avoid relapse and rebuild a more positive and fulfilling life. Starting from a place of humility and having forgiveness for yourself and others will get you on the right track.
You must realize that once someone has reason to mistrust you, it can take a very long time to earn that trust back. It’s earned back by only demonstrating trustworthy, dependable behavior and coherent communication. Don’t ask for ways to “prove yourself” because that would be a superficial test of your loyalty and trust. You want to just hunker down for the long haul and do your best to prove that your loved ones can rely and depend on you as much as you have leaned on them for support.
Trust can be earned back and restored but it takes sincere, sustained effort on your part to do so.
And above all, patience.