How Are Relationships in Substance Abuse Recovery Different?

Written by Jackie Calkins

Recovery from substance abuse and addiction can be a long and difficult journey. Along with the physical aspects of recovery, there are also mental, social, and emotional aspects that must be addressed as well. 

One of the most important aspects of this is rebuilding relationships, both with yourself and those around you. This blog post will take a look at how relationships in substance abuse recovery are different than in non-recovery situations. We will discuss why these differences exist, how to best navigate them, and tips for building healthier relationships for those in recovery.

How Are Relationships In Substance Abuse Recovery Different

It is estimated that over 23 million people in the United States suffer from addiction, and many of these individuals are in relationships. In addition, it is estimated that each year, over two million marriages end in divorce due to substance abuse. Substance abuse not only takes a toll on the individual suffering from addiction, but also on their relationships.

Substance abuse recovery is a process that requires time, effort, and dedication. During this process, individuals in recovery must learn to cope with their addiction and the changes that come with sobriety. One of the biggest changes that those in recovery must face is how to maintain healthy relationships.

In active addiction, often relationships are built around the use of drugs or alcohol. These relationships are often codependent, which means that both parties rely on each other to maintain their addiction. These types of relationships are usually unhealthy and can be very destructive.

In sobriety, individuals must learn how to build healthy relationships that are based on trust, respect, and communication. This can be a challenge for those in recovery because they may have never learned how to do this before. However, there are many resources available to help those in recovery learn how to build healthy relationships.

The Different Types Of Relationships In Substance Abuse Recovery You Might Encounter

Couple having argument -

In substance abuse recovery, you might encounter different types of relationships than you did when you were using drugs or alcohol. These relationships can be with friends, family, co-workers, and others in recovery. They can be positive and supportive, or they can be negative and stressful.

Some people in recovery find that their relationships with friends and family improve after they get sober. They may be able to repair damaged relationships or build new ones that are based on trust and respect. Others find that their relationships with friends and family members stay the same or get worse after they stop using drugs or alcohol. And some people in recovery find that they don’t have many close relationships at all.

Some people in recovery develop close friendships with other people in recovery. These friendships can provide support, understanding, and companionship. Other people in recovery may not want to become close friends with anyone because they’re afraid of being judged or rejected or returning to using. And some people find that they don’t really need close friends in recovery because they have a strong relationship with a Higher Power.

Some people in recovery end up in romantic relationships with other people in recovery. These relationships can be healthy and supportive— or they can be unhealthy and destructive. If you’re considering entering into a romantic relationship with someone in recovery, it’s important to make sure that both of you are on the same page about your sobriety goals and expectations. 

However, new romantic relationships are generally discouraged while in active recovery.

The Benefits Of Relationships In Substance Abuse Recovery

It’s no secret that relationships are important in our lives. They can provide us with love, support, and a sense of belonging. Relationships can play an important role in substance abuse recovery. 

We want to be clear, we are talking about relationships in a general sense, not just romantic relationships. If one wishes to enter into a romantic relationship while in active recovery, you should proceed with extreme caution. 

Here are some of the benefits of having healthy relationships in recovery:

  1. Relationships can provide support and encouragement. When we’re struggling with addiction, it’s easy to feel alone and like no one understands us. But when we’re in recovery, we often find that our relationships change for the better. We develop stronger bonds with the people who care about us, and they can offer us the support and encouragement we need to stay on track.
  2. Relationships can help us stay accountable. One of the most difficult things about recovery is staying accountable to ourselves. It’s all too easy to relapse when we’re not surrounded by people who believe in us and who will hold us accountable for our actions. But when we have strong, supportive relationships, we’re more likely to stay on track because we don’t want to let down the people who care about us.
  3. Relationships can give us a sense of purpose. When we’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, our lives often revolve around our next fix. But in recovery, we start to see life from a different perspective. We begin to see the beauty of things, and learn new strategies for how to relate to one another. Healthy relationships built on trust and communication can give us a sense of purpose that may feel missing without drugs.

The Challenges Of Relationships In Substance Abuse Recovery

The development and maintenance of healthy personal relationships is a challenge for everyone, but it can be especially difficult for those in substance abuse recovery. There are a number of reasons for this. 

First, addiction takes a toll on all areas of life, including relationships. The addict may have neglected or mistreated their loved ones during active addiction, and may need to rebuild trust and repair damage. 

Additionally, the addict may be dealing with residual effects of their addiction, such as anxiety, depression, or trauma. These can make it difficult to connect with others or maintain healthy boundaries. 

Finally, the recovering addict may have to deal with triggers and cravings associated with their former partners or friends who still use drugs.

All of these challenges can make it difficult to develop and maintain healthy personal relationships. However, there are some things that can help. 

First, it is important to be honest about your history of addiction and your recovery journey with your relations. This will help set expectations and establish trust from the beginning. Try to find a partner who is supportive of your recovery and who you can rely on for emotional stability. Finally, stay connected with your sober support network; they can provide invaluable guidance and encouragement as you navigate any new or continuing relationship.

Help For Addiction Is A Call Away

Substance abuse recovery is a difficult and sometimes lonely journey, but it can be made easier with the right support system in place. Relationships in substance abuse recovery are often different from those formed before addiction due to the many changes that occur during this process. 

It is important to recognize these differences and make sure you are setting yourself up for successful relationships by being honest about your needs, boundaries, and expectations. Taking care of yourself first is key when rebuilding healthy relationships after overcoming an addiction.

And if you need some more help in this part of the process, give us a call at (615) 410-9260