How do you rebuild trust in your relationships after years of drinking? In this episode, Chip and Veronica lay out the steps to take to start rebuilding trust with your loved ones when you get sober.
Listen to the episode now:
One of the most difficult issues for sober folks to deal with is rebuilding trust with the ones we love.
That’s because we’ve racked up a lot of friends, family, and partners who have lost trust in us because of our behavior when drinking – from the things we’ve said and done and the promises we’ve broken.
This can stop us in our tracks.
We’ve known people who have gone through our recovery programs and been shocked that the people close to them weren’t enthusiastic at all.
We’re the ones who have changed, our loved ones haven’t.
“The way to get people’s trust and love back is by behaving and doing things differently.” – Chip Somer
They haven’t forgotten the things we did, the promises we’ve broken, and how much we hurt them. They still remember the times we said we’d do better and didn’t, so our word holds zero weight for them right now.
Right now. Not forever, just right now. Until we rebuild trust with them, It’s your actions that matter most.
So speaking of actions, what can you do to rebuild trust?
The first step before building trust with others is rebuilding trust in yourself. That means completing the things you set out to do. Keep the promises you make to yourself.
“I think the biggest thing that other people really want from us is honest and open communication.” – Veronica Valli
In this episode, we also talk about how to handle overpromising, communication, and letting the people close to you understand the process you’re going through.
Finally, we couldn’t talk about rebuilding trust without talking about the people who may never trust you again. These people may use your past and the guilt and shame of that time as a weapon to manipulate and chastise you for the rest of your life.
Realize that they’re going through their own process, and it has nothing to do with you.
You know you’ve asked for forgiveness, set your intentions, and taken actions to make amends. So keep your side of the street clean and don’t allow them to continue to weaponize your past against you.
I hope you take these lessons with you and grab the rest by listening to this episode in full.
People will be at different stages from you
It’s going to take longer than you think for the people close to you to forgive you or be at the same stage of acceptance that you are. That’s because they’ve endured your old behavior and built up a tolerance to it. They won’t have any motivation to break those walls down when you’re newly sober, because you’ve been sober and let them down before. So just keep in mind that it’s going to take some time, and you’ll prove yourself to them over time.
You want to keep your word, but don’t overpromise. You’ll create unrealistic expectations that you’ll ultimately be able to meet and let yourself and everyone else down. You know your strengths and limitations better than anyone. Give yourself some grace, be honest with yourself, and set clear expectations with people. What people value more than perfection and a huge promise, is your honesty and communication, whether you’re feeling amazing or terrible.
It can take a long time for the people you’ve hurt to forgive you. Some might take months, others might take years. Some might never forgive you no matter what you do. But you need to forgive yourself. So you can move on with your life and continue to make amends and live as the better person you know you can be, you need to accept the wrong you’ve done, stop beating yourself up about it, forgive yourself and move forward.
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