Whether you’re just entering recovery, or you have been in a healthy, active process for quite some time, developing healthy relationships is vital. Connecting with new friends, as well as restoring balanced relationships with old friends and family, can be challenging in recovery. This is especially true for those that are just learning how to socialize without the use of drugs or alcohol. Follow these tips for building healthy relationships throughout recovery.
Your Relationship with Yourself is Important
While you build healthy relationships with others, it’s important to work on your relationship with yourself. Prioritize self-care and take steps to get to know who you are without drugs or alcohol involved. Learn what’s important to you as you start building relationships with others.
Define Boundaries and Healthy Expectations
Often those with opioid and other addictions have poor boundaries and a lack of expectations when it comes to relationships. As you build new relationships, set your clear boundaries for yourself identifying what you are willing and unwilling to accept from others. Also, be clear on the expectations you have for each relationship you build. Don’t sell yourself short.
Take Things Slow
It’s common to feel a desire to jump into new relationships in recovery. You want friends and closeness with others, and this is important to your addiction recovery. However, it’s important to build new relationships slowly and with caution, especially with romantic relationships. All new relationships should leave you feeling happy and fulfilled. Unhealthy connections can quickly derail your recovery, so it is very important that you ease into new friendships and enter romantic relationships with care.
Recovery Always Comes First
As you build relationships with others, you must keep in mind that your recovery is most important. If you find yourself spending time with someone that you realize is raising red flags that could jeopardize your recovery, make sure you allow your recovery to take precedence. You worked hard to get to where you are, don’t let anything or anyone ruin that!
Ensure Partners and Friends are Healthy and Happy
When you enter new relationships, it is easy to believe that your substance addiction means you are unhealthy and unable to have positive connections. However, your addiction doesn’t mean that you are the only one coping with the problems. Others may come into the relationship with unhealthy patterns and high expectations. Be vigilant and don’t let others judge you and bring you down. Learn to recognize red flags such as dishonesty, controlling behavior, and violence and walk away to protect yourself!