Becoming sober is one of the hardest things an addict can achieve. Every step of every day is a new challenge as you analyze and determine how to react in every situation. Some days are easier than others, but I know having strong people there for support on the hard days was critical on my road to success.
Maintaining healthy relationships might be the biggest obstacle you conquer while staying on your path of continued sobriety. It can be done, and the rewards are endless. Being honest, eliminating negativity, avoiding enablers, and working hard are just some of my essential tips for fostering a healthy sober relationship.
Fostering a Healthy Sober Relationship
This is the first and most important step, and it starts with you. I have learned that to be honest with others, I have to be honest with myself first. It was painful admitting my wrongs and personal flaws, but it was also freeing. Being honest helped me recognize the negative and enabling people in my life. It was what helped lead to being sober, while dishonesty will make you relapse. Once you have embraced truth, it will make it easier to find good friends and strengthen relationships you already have. Truthfully explain to friends and family why you can’t go to certain places or participate in some activities. They will understand and appreciate your openness. Make amends for any wrongs or pain you caused, and always be accountable for your actions. Most importantly, always be honest in every relationship you make to keep them growing healthily.
Taking Out the Trash
After embracing honesty, you will see the people, things, and personal traits that have a negative impact on your life. The times in my life when I needed to change the most were the moments when I had to end friendships. It was hard, but it was something that had instant results. Once certain people were out of my life, it was so much easier to stay focused on my personal goals. Surround yourself with the type of people that you want to be like. It is amazing the good that comes from good people. Taking out the trash isn’t just getting rid of friends; it means ridding yourself of negative thoughts and feelings. Healthy relationships involve equal amounts of effort from both people. When you take the negative out of your life, you will only be left with the positive to give: This positivity will strengthen your healthy sober relationship with your friends and family.
Enablers are a difficult area. They often love and care about you dearly; they will give and do anything for you. I know it is hard, but your enablers need to go. When you feel yourself slipping and the pain is too much, they are the first to help and ease your burden with whatever you demand. While you cry out in sorrow and weep, “I just need one more drink,” the enabler will support you no matter your choice. These are the relationships that need to go. I know it is hard, but what you do need is someone to hold you and cry with you as you get through a weak moment. True friends will not support you in things that are harmful to yourself, and these are the relationships you want to focus on.
Addicts can never be depended on. It is the sad truth, and the only way to make amends and earn back people’s trust is to always follow through. If you say you are going to do something, you darn well better do it. I don’t care if your car breaks down; you take the bus, catch a ride with a neighbor, or run there. Don’t sign up for things if you don’t plan on doing them. A huge relationship-builder is knowing someone is going to be there for you no matter what.
Good things are always worth working for. There are days where I don’t want to get out of bed. These are the days that take extra strength. Instead of focusing on myself, it helps to worry about others. When I want to sleep the day away, I spend it listening to others instead. Yes, you will need support from friends and family, but you must give back, too. Listen and serve those around you. Constantly work towards strengthening the healthy relationships you need in your life, and they will continue to grow and impact your life.
By Michelle Conway
Photo by: iMorpheus (Flickr)