Being an addict not only hurts yourself, but it hurts everyone around you. As you forge your path to recovery, one step to take is letting loved ones know how thankful you are for them. Often times this can be an overwhelming and sometimes daunting experience, but the effort to show you care is always worth it in the end. Your family and friends are the ones that were there for you before your addiction and will likely be the ones to stick with you as you navigate and succeed in your recovery. Letting them know just how you feel may seem like a long, sometimes scary road, but with the suggestions below, you can be confident in your ability to strengthen these relationships as you move forward with your life.
Offering a sincere apology can demonstrate that you know you have caused them pain. They should recognize that sometimes this is not the easiest thing to do, so by you taking the initiative to offer an apology shows that you are being sincere. It will also help you grow as a person. Having to take the steps to offer an apology will stick with you forever, as you are acknowledging you yourself that your behavior was harmful.
2- Send an Email
Maybe you are not the best at speaking your emotions. That is normal. So instead, sit down and write an email to your loved ones expressing just how you feel about that. This may take the stress off of you of having to see them face-to-face, but still allows you to say what needs to be said. Receiving an email of ‘thanks’ will mean a lot to your loved ones. Again, it shows that you took the time to sit down and write it, and therefore, mean it.
3- Show Your Face
Depending on what you have gone through, perhaps you have not seen your family for a long time. Getting the courage to go and visit them can be a great way to re-establish your relationship with them. Spending time together will allow you both to re-start your relationship and begin creating new positive memories.
4- Lend a Hand
Helping your family or friends out around the house or with any task they may need assistance with is a great way to thank them. They have been there for you before, and it is a simple way to be there for them. It also shows that you are simply happy to be back in their lives, no matter what it is you have to do. Thanking them through action is a great approach if you do not feel comfortable thanking them face-to-face.
5- Let Them Say Theirs
In some instances, family and friends may hold resentment toward you if you hurt them while suffering from addiction. Allow them to say what is on their mind without getting defensive. Perhaps they will not want to immediately let you back into their lives, but are willing to start the process of rebuilding a relationship. And that is fair. Recovery can be difficult. What matters is that you are transparent with one another, start anew with a solid, honest foundation and build from there. These things can take time, but are worth it.
6 – Continue Recovery
If you really want to ensure your loved ones that you are serious about your sobriety and recovery, continue it. Make it a priority. Do not feel bad if you cannot make a family gathering because you have a meeting. Sticking to your process will show your friends and family that you are taking this seriously and nothing can get in your way. It shows your dedication and they will repay you by sticking by your side.
7- Give Space
In the unfortunate circumstance when someone does not want to continue a relationship, understand where they are coming from. Still offer them an apology (either via phone, in person or in an email), let them know you understand and then, back away. Perhaps they will come around later in life or perhaps they won’t. What matters is you offered an apology and gave them space.
It may be tough thanking loved ones for being with you after suffering from addiction, but it is an essential step in your recovery. You may wonder if it is worth it, but you may also be surprised by some people’s responses. Re-establishing your relationship with friends and family will only make your life in sobriety easier to handle. Having them as a safety net will always be something to be thankful for, so make sure to let them know.
Melissa Holmes Goodmon is the founder and CEO of Casa Capri Recovery, a leading California addiction treatment center created just for women—by women. Melissa is a licensed clinician and has stayed on the cutting edge of women’s treatment since 2006. Because of her own beautiful recovery story, she is proud to be among a small group of trailblazers since founding Casa Capri Recovery for Women in 2011, leading the way for other women to join them in this otherwise male-dominated industry. She is considered an advocate for the recovery community in the truest sense, standing up to discrimination and legally fighting for the rights of sober people in recovery to live in peace. To learn more about advocacy or if you’ve experienced discrimination, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out casacaprirecovery.com for more information on our program, or please give us a call at 844-207-4880.