3 ways to handle difficult relationships after rehab

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When you’ve completed rehab and seized your sobriety after a hard fight, one of the most difficult challenges still lays ahead: dealing with the people from your life as a user. Whether you’re contending with casual users with no problem who can’t understand your issues, friends for whom abuse was your only shared hobby, or individuals you’ve wronged in the past, navigating the waters of social interaction often proves the undoing of the unprepared. As you prepare to engage these relationships, keep these approaches in mind:

1) Honesty

Having an honest conversation with friends, family, or acquaintances can be the simplest way to move forward, but you must be ready for what might happen. People aren’t obligated to respond to your honesty in a positive way, unfortunately; your earnest apologies or entreaties might not work. If people don’t want to forgive past wrongs, if they don’t want to avoid substance abuse around you, or if they want you to use again because you were ‘more fun’, you can’t force them to react another way. For those, you’ll need to apply one of the other two tactics.

2) Distance

Sometimes a difficult relationship needs time and distance for you to maintain stability. That might mean giving you time to become surer in your sobriety and thus resistant to temptation, or it might mean time for others to understand what your new situation means for your relationship and decide whether they respect that. If the problem lies with housemates, you may be best served by spending time in a sober home during this period.

3) Cutting them off

It sounds horrible, the thought of cutting off friends or family members from your life, especially if the relationship is turbulent due to your own mistakes. But enduring constant emotional distress and/or temptation in the early days of your sobriety simply isn’t a winning proposition for your sober future. That’s not to say you might not one day reconcile and regain the relationship you’ve lost, but for that to happen and you to be happy and safe, you need to stay sober. Time in a sober home while you overcome the turbulence of such a cut off can be a great idea, especially if you’re in need of housing while you search for a new living situation.

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