Addiction ruins things. It can ruin your health, it can ruin your bank account, and it can ruin your reputation. One of the things many people see ruined by addiction is their relationships. While dealing with an addiction, you may do things that erode trust between you and your partner; things like infidelity. In fact, in a 2014 article published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, almost half of the alcohol addicts surveyed had also gone through with a divorce at some point in their lives.
The sad truth is you may not be able to repair the damage done to your relationship. Your partner may feel too hurt with too much trust lost to go back to the way things were. If they decide to walk away, there’s nothing you can do about it with the exception of acceptance.
On the other hand, some people feel such a sense of guilt for the things they did due to their addiction, they want to end their relationship as a way of atonement. It’s important not to make any major life changes during your first year of recovery. This includes ending a major relationship such as your marriage as well as starting a new one. Your road to recovery may be the thing that helps save your marriage.
Know Things Have Changed
When you recover from addiction, there’s no going back to the way things used to be. While you may feel the desire to work toward a simpler time in the past, there’s no possible way to get there so accepting your position is crucial. You may not even realize all the ways your behavior has impacted your relationship.
Your partner had to grow and change to deal with watching your self-destruction. They may seem cold and callous when they were once warm and loving. It’s unfair for you to expect them to be the same after all this time, so accept the place they are at now.
Work to Mend What Is Broken
Chances are, you and your addiction did more than your fair share of destruction in your relationship. Some people miss important events or disappear for weeks at a time when they’re on a bender. Others stick around and show up, only to act irrationally and violently towards the ones they love. And some relationships have to face the ultimate test after one of the parties cheats on the other.
Infidelity is traumatizing. It causes the wronged party to question you, your relationship, and themselves. If you committed adultery and have come clean to your partner, it will take time to rebuild the trust that is now lost. To build this trust, you must be completely honest with your partner. This is difficult for many people as addicts have a hard time being honest with themselves. However, the work is necessary if you want to save your relationship.
Accept Responsibility for Your Actions
You will not be able to move on if you do not accept responsibility for the things you’ve done. This means you cannot play the victim when you relate to your partner why you’ve done said things. Life is tough; we all have to deal with our own traumas every day. Trying to use your own traumas as a scapegoat for your behavior only shows that you are not ready to be honest and move on from your addiction.
Listen to Your Partner
While you are going through recovery, you will be talking a lot. You talk to your therapist, you talk to your group, and you talk to your higher power. When it comes to rebuilding your romantic relationship, it is time to listen. Take in everything they have to say and ask questions when you need clarification. It may be difficult to have to listen to all the ways you hurt him or her, but the pain is a fraction of what they felt when you were doing it.
The key to rebuilding your relationship during recovery is acceptance. You must accept the continuation of time and how it changes people. You need to accept that the process will be long and arduous. You need to accept responsibility for what you’ve done and the communication your partner offers you. But in the end, you must also accept forgiveness from yourself. Forgiving yourself is the only way to truly open yourself to being forgiven by your partner so you can rebuild your loving relationship.
Paige Johnson calls herself a fitness nerd. She prides in doing strength training, cycling, and yoga. She is a personal trainer and regular contributor to LearnFit.org.