Rebuilding Relationships in Recovery

What is a healthy relationship?

A relationship is often considered to be a close friendship between two people. This can either be between friends, colleagues or a romantic relationship where two people are intimately involved.  A healthy relationship should bring out the best in you and make you feel good about yourself. Relationships can have their ups and downs; however, they are generally long lasting if the issues between each other can be resolved.

Signs of a healthy relationship

How does one know if they are in a healthy relationship? Signs of a healthy relationship include : trust, honesty, independence, respect, equality, compassion, taking responsibility, loyalty and good communication.

In some instances, the above-mentioned signs can also be unhealthy if they are not balanced. This can lead to other issues such as co-dependency and toxic relationships. For example, in active addiction, there may be some instances where the relationship is enabling or rescuing the addict. This is not good for the addict who is trying to get clean. Mental Health America states that co-dependency “is known as ‘relationship addiction’ because people with co-dependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive.”

So, how do healthy relationships fit into recovery?

Relationships and recovery

Often, people will seek out treatment for their addiction in order to save a broken relationship or their significant others have threatened to leave them. Parents may have employed tough love in order to save their children which often leaves the addict full of resentment. The most common reason for women entering treatment is to keep their children. But why do addicts come into treatment with different forms of broken relationships?

Addicts and relationships

People that suffer with the disease of addiction are often selfish and self-centred, dishonest and manipulative. They will do anything to get their next fix. The consequences of active addiction are often severe. Family members, colleagues and loved ones have lost trust and faith in the addict. Sometimes, the addict is involved in a toxic relationship where the other person is also using drugs and alcohol, or they are enabling the addict which keeps the addict sick.

Sometimes addicts are dumped in facilities when family and loved ones don’t know what to do with them.

How does the addict rebuild relationships in recovery ?

It is important for recovering addicts to rebuild broken relationships by becoming more selfless, considerate, honest and caring. Healthy relationships in recovery should consist of positive, healthy support from those involved. If trust, is to be regained, the addict should continue working a program of recovery in order to stay stay clean and sober. Their recovery must be their priority. They should take their relationships slowly and know when to walk away from relationships that are not working for them.

There are support groups such as Al-anon and Nar-anon for families who need help coping with the stress of having a loved one who suffers from the disease of addiction.

  • Dominique Le Claire Rossouw


+27 012 345 1186 Pretoria

+27 010 597 7784 Johannesburg

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