Substance abuse takes a serious toll on personal relationships. Some people may flat out ignore the people who are trying to help them or blame others for the reason they drink or use. This behavior prevents you from taking an honest look at your own behavior, and it can lead you down a path of unhealthy, drama-filled relationships that are of no use to your sanity or recovery.

Healthy, secure relationships are so crucial to recovery because they lay the foundation for the support network you need to stay engaged. If that foundation is fraught with uncertainty, you’re putting your recovery at risk.

Just as it’s essential to engage in a self-care practice that requires you to take responsibility for your well-being, self-care within the realm of relationships can help ensure that they’re beneficial to your recovery. Implementing these skills can help you welcome more relationship sanity into your life.

1. Establish healthy communication.

Other people can’t read your mind, so don’t get frustrated if they don’t know when you’ve had a bad day or something is bothering you. Self-care is more than meditating or writing in a journal. It also means being able to express yourself in a respectful, accurate way, whether you’re feeling happy, frustrated or sad. Honest, open, respectful communication is the key to a healthy relationship. Not knowing how to communicate respectfully is a recipe for a drama-filled, unhealthy relationship.

2. Don’t tally up mistakes.

In relationships, there are good times, and there are not-as-good times. When the going gets tough, sometimes it’s best to let things go. Rehashing the mistakes your loved one made in the past breeds resentment and frustration, which does nothing positive for your relationship, your well-being or your self-care. Plus, it’s a mistake in and of itself. Instead of dwelling on mistakes, try to address infractions in the moment by openly and honestly expressing how you feel.

3. Identify and correct enabling behaviors.

While the intentions behind enabling are good, it usually ends up creating problems instead of fixing them. It’s a hallmark sign of how addiction plays out, especially in family dynamics, as it allows the person with the addiction to continue on a path of self-destruction while their loved one tries to shield them from the consequences.

Healthy boundaries can help correct enabling behaviors because they set a limit for what you’re willing you tolerate, and what your loved one is expecting you to live up to. The individual therapy, family therapy and group sessions offered in treatment programs can help you learn how to set and sustain healthy boundaries.

4. Engage in therapy.

Physical recovery from addiction is important for obvious reasons, but for real healing to occur, treatment has to address the underlying issues that contributed to addiction in the first place. By engaging in evidence-based therapies that require you to look within and learn more about yourself and your addiction, you’ll gain new perspective on recovery and your relationships.

Relationships take work. Guardian IOP’s treatment programs can help you and the people you care about to establish and maintain relationship sanity, so your recovery isn’t put at risk. Contact us at (888) 693-1894 for more information.


Reviewed for accuracy by:

Anna earned her Masters of Social Work at Barry University in Miami, FL in 2017 and completed her internship in co-occurring disorders. Anna has a Bachelors of Art in Religious Studies from Naropa University and is a certified yoga and meditation instructor. Anna has received specialized training in somatic counseling with an emphasis on body-centered psychotherapy.