How Do I Regain My Loved Ones’ Trust After Rehab?

Regaining trust from family and friends after battling an addiction is a healthy, necessary part of the recovery process. With patience and a consistent effort, reestablishing trust is possible.

Mending Relationships After Treatment

couple fightingOnce life begins to stabilize and you’re able to think clearly in recovery, the top priority is often regaining the trust of your loved ones.

It’s important to make amends with family and friends and have them feel you are trustworthy again. However, your loved ones may have been betrayed or hurt by things that happened during your addiction and need time to heal.

The good news is that your loved ones want to be able to trust you again, and it can happen. It just takes patience and a consistent effort.

Tips to Restore Trust With Loved Ones

Letting your loved ones know they can trust you again starts with being able to trust yourself. Take steps to actively change your life for the better and prove to yourself and those around you that things are different this time.

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Keep Your Word

This tip takes the top spot for good reason. Without honesty and follow through, anything else you do to try to prove yourself trustworthy will fail.

Because your loved ones’ emotions are so raw, they will be watching you anxiously. This is your opportunity to demonstrate to them each and every day that you are going to keep your word. Follow through on post-treatment plans to show them you are serious about sobriety. Keep your appointments, attend 12-step meetings, make it to work on time, and do everything in your power to be seen as a person of integrity.

Leave Lines of Communication Wide Open

Most people with an addiction tend to withdraw from friends and family, often in an attempt to hide their behaviors. Trying to reestablish honest and open communication with loved ones may be difficult in the early phase of recovery, but doing so is important for rebuilding a sense of trust with them.

By sharing your feelings, fears and hopes with them, you will alleviate much of the anxiety they experience as you continue with treatment and recovery. Also, family counseling can help identify dysfunctional family dynamics that can trigger a relapse or hinder a healthy recovery. This form of therapy will provide the whole family with new communication tools to encourage productive and healthy interactions and relationships.

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Create a New, Healthy Routine

Addiction of any kind wreaks havoc on both physical and mental health. Family and friends agonize as they watch their loved one spiral into damaging habits that may threaten their life.

Once in recovery, you can make a commitment to rebuilding your health and showing friends and family that you are serious about your sobriety by sticking to a routine.

Some healthy habits to add to your routine:

As family and friends witness your new, healthy lifestyle habits, they will feel encouraged that you are practicing a disciplined approach to rebuilding your life. By consistently following this new routine, you will be not only feel better physically and emotionally, but you will be regaining lost trust as well.

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Practice Patience

Restoring trust with loved ones is a process that takes time and an abundance of patience. During your addiction, feelings were hurt — often deeply. It takes time for those memories to subside and make way for new, happy ones as your loved ones begin to forgive and move forward. 

The reality is that it’s going to be a long process to earn [your loved ones’] trust back…you’re not going to be able to earn everybody’s trust in one day. You need to earn your own trust first and work from there.

- Niko McManus, MS, Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern

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