Healthy Relationships in Early Recovery
One of the benefits of early recovery, which makes staying in the same place a lot easier, is the development of healthy relationships.
Those in early recovery will be told not to make any major changes during the first year of their sobriety. Why? Because for those who are new to recovery, staying sober should be the number one priority. Making major changes – like beginning a new career, moving to a new city, or entering a new romantic relationship – can take focus away from sobriety. Instead, it is suggested that men and women in the midst of “figuring it out” stay put and throw themselves into the program. One of the benefits of early recovery, which makes staying in the same place a lot easier, is the development of healthy relationships.
When you enter medical detox, you will slowly forge friendships with other like-minded people. Building healthy relationships is a skill you will need to relearn (or learn for the first time), so don’t expect to make best friends while going through withdrawal. The real magic starts happening once you enter inpatient treatment. You will learn how to communicate in group therapy sessions effectively, rebuild trust in others, and slowly but surely discover that you have a lot to offer.
At Absolute Awakening, we put a big emphasis on developing healthy bonds with others. Community is a major facet of our outpatient programs, and we have seen that long-term sobriety often stems from the ability to relate to others authentically.
Steps to Building Healthy Relationships
When it comes to building healthy relationships, several crucial steps must be taken. These steps include(but are not limited to):
- Learning to listen to others genuinely. It can be easy to spend the time that someone is talking, thinking of what you will say next. This happens all of the time in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. We want to share, but we don’t want to make a fool of ourselves, so we quietly contemplate what we will say while tuning the speaker or the other sharer out. Listen actively! Trust that whatever you say will make sense and resonate with someone else who needs to hear it.
- Communicating honestly and effectively. You won’t be able to develop a healthy relationship if you lie – about anything! Saying you’re having a good day when you have a bad one is a common practice, but to form meaningful bonds with others, you must be honest all the time.
- Never passing judgment. If you feel as if someone is in the wrong or as if they are making poor life choices, hear them out and offer them sincere advice. Talking behind someone’s back will not get you – or them – anywhere. Part of healthy relationships is non-judgmental interactions.
- Ask for help when you need it, and offer support when you can give it. Asking for help can be difficult or seem intimidating. However, doing so does not indicate weakness. On the contrary, it indicates quite the opposite. There is a major strength in knowing when you need assistance and knowing that you have the tools necessary to help someone else in the future.
- Set and maintain healthy boundaries. This can be difficult to do when you don’t have the proper tools. You will learn how to set and maintain boundaries in inpatient treatment, and you will need to utilize this skill with your friends and your daily members to stay sane.
Absolute Awakenings Treatment Center
At Absolute Awakenings, we help our clients learn how to build and maintain healthy and meaningful relationships in early recovery. We truly are a family, and we work towards ensuring that every one of our clients feels safe, supported, and appreciated.
- Boisvert RA, Martin LM, Grosek M, Clarie AJ. Effectiveness of a peer-support community in addiction recovery: participation as intervention. Occup Ther Int. 2008;15(4):205-220. doi:10.1002/oti.257
- Kelly JF, Humphreys K, Ferri M. Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs for alcohol use disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020;3(3):CD012880. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012880.pub2
- Wu K, Baker J. Patient Communication In Substance Abuse Disorders. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. Accessed January 18, 2023. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549858/
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