Developing Healthy Relationships in Recovery

Developing Healthy Relationships in Recovery

Developing Healthy Relationships in Recovery

A healthy start in recovery can make a world of difference in how long you remain on the sober path.

Health relationships are central to the healing process but they don’t always come off as healthy following months or years of addiction following behind.

Often times, we must work hard towards building strong, healthy relationships in recovery because those we had prior and during our addiction were so unhealthy in nature. 

Healthy relationships are the exact opposite of what you are ly used to from your addiction days. In fact, unhealthy relationships are often at the root of our addictions.

Addiction maintains a life of secrecy and fear. Such attitudes do not fare well with a relationship—hiding things and not being truthful with oneself or others are not conducive to healthy behaviors.

But, you can have healthy relations in recovery!

Apps Pocket Rehab allow you to connect with others that are also in recovery and share your goals, make new friends and generally embark on new, healthy relationships. But what does a healthy relationship look ? How can you be sure you are not going to fall back into old habits or ways? What steps can you take to avoid unhealthy relationships in your recovery?

Difference Between Healthy & Unhealthy Relationships

The contrasts between healthy and unhealthy relationships are generally easy to recognize but only if you are honest with yourself and with others. Below is a look at some of the differences between unhealthy relationships and healthy relationships:

  • Healthy relationships are reality, not fantasy. If you build your relationship on the reality that you are both unique and have your own strengths and weaknesses, you will be working toward a healthy common ground.
  • Healthy relationships complete one another. You feel job in completing the next person, and they feel equal job in their ability to complete you. You are not looking for someone to complete you—you don’t NEED someone to complete you—but they do.
  • Unhealthy relationships are not friendship but on victimization. You act the victim and the individual comes running—not healthy! Friendship is a true and welcomed feeling in a healthy relationship, there are no victims in a healthy bond.
  • Healthy relationships sacrifice for the good of all involved. Unhealthy relationships demand that you sacrifice for the good of one person. This is not the same!
  • Unhealthy relationships are characterized by resentment. Healthy relationships are backed by forgiveness. You forgive each other for the wrong-doings and move on. There are no grudges held and there is not deep resentment.
  • Unhealthy relationships are backed by fear which is not good. Healthy relationships are characterized by security. You feel whole, happy and content with your loved one. There is no fear of them leaving or mistreating you or otherwise making you feel unloved.
  • Healthy relationships are marked by vulnerability not defensiveness. If you feel defensive and as if you must protect yourself, you are not in a healthy relationship. You should feel vulnerable, but yet safe to allow your vulnerabilities be accepted by the other half.
  • As stated initially, healthy relationships are honest. If you are acting deceptive or you feel deceived in your relationship, it is not healthy!

How Can I Keep My Relationships Healthy in Recovery

In early recovery, you may worry about how you can remain healthy with new relationships as you are just embarking on something new.

Maybe you only recently learned what a healthy relationship looks .

Or perhaps you have known for some time what it means to have a healthy relationship but this is a first for you still as you are ready to practice the new skills that you learned in recovery.

Keeping your relationships safe and healthy in recovery is vital because unhealthy relationships can lead to unhealthy habits and behaviors. You don’t want to be dragged down by others and risk relapse. wise, you want to be involved and to have healthy interactions with your peers. But how?

Below are some tips to keep your relationships healthy in recovery:

  • Keep recovery at the forefront of your mind. If you find yourself in a relationship with someone that does not respect your boundaries and is using drugs or alcohol around you—walk away.
  • Take it slow. Relationships, both before, during and after recovery, should be taken slowly to assure you have time to adjust. If the ultimate goal is intimacy, the bond that you share early on and leading up to that goal will make a world of difference in the connection that the two of you have.
  • Keep expectations real, and healthy. New relationships can end abruptly. Don’t let unhealthy expectations, thinking you will spend the rest of your life with the girl you just met, ruin your recovery. Remain positive, and optimistic, while also REAL about your expectations. Remember the previous tip—take it slow!
  • Know your limits. If the stress of a relationship is too much for you to bare, or if you’re feeling there is more negative than there is positive coming the relationship, walk away. You must maintain your boundaries and recognize your limit as to how much stress you can, and cannot deal with…don’t let it go as far as risking your recovery.
  • Don’t become dependent on the new person. You worked so hard in recovery to no longer count on substances to guide your way. You learned WHO you are and WHAT You want in life. Don’t let a new person in your life take away your sense of YOU. Forming a dependency on someone you care for is just as dangerous as forming a new addiction—take it slow.


What about when you encounter someone you knew from the past that maybe was hurt by your addiction? How can you build a healthy bond with members of your past? 

Begin by being honest. Both with the individual and with yourself. Let them know that you are sorry for the things you did in active addiction, but that you are in active recovery now—and that you are working hard toward building healthy relationships. If they can’t accept this, move on!

Establish healthy boundaries for those that you let into your life.

If friends or family members pressure you to engage in activities that may tempt you to relapse, let them know that this is NOT okay and that you will have to avoid spending time with them if such activities continue to be brought up. You should be able to say no without feeling selfish or upset about it—your family and friends should support you!

If a relationship from the past is just not healthy, and you have done what you can to have healthy interactions with the friend or family member to no avail. You must know your limit and know when to walk away. Some relationships are simply not worth the risk that they have on your sobriety.

Building Healthy Relationships Online

Apps Pocket Rehab allow you to build relationships with others in recovery which is a great opportunity for many.

You can reach out for support from -minded individuals here and also receive support from others that are working toward the same common goal.

However, much face-to-face relationships, online relationships must be built in a safe and healthy manner. Below are some tips for building healthy relationships online:

  • Remain honest with yourself and with others. Keep your expectations clear and don’t be unrealistic. You’re meeting someone online, so you must remain aware of the fact that anything could happen.
  • Be supportive and you will get support. When you’re working with people in a group, one thing to remember is that you can expect what you give. So if you are kind and courteous to others, you can generally expect a similar response—remember to be realistic too—not everyone will be kind. It’s an unfortunate side effect of our society. 
  • Establish clear boundaries and respect the boundaries of others. You may feel you can say or do anything because you are operating behind a pseudonym, but don’t forget your boundaries. Be respectful both to yourself and to those on the app.
  • Avoid putting all your effort into a single friendship. Much in person it is not conducive to spend all your time on a single relationship, the same holds true online. It is important that you don’t create a new dependency that could place you at risk for additional problems. 

Interact, share and get involved. But do so safely. Respect your newfound recovery and build healthy, positive relationships along the way!

Category: Rehab
relationships, boundaries, recovery, addiction recovery, support, rehab app, sobriety app


Leaving a Relationship While in Recovery: Tips to Avoid Relapse

Developing Healthy Relationships in Recovery

Relationships are wonderful ways to find happiness, connection, and closeness with another person. When a relationship is going well, it can add enormous amounts of comfort and security to a person’s well-being, but when the relationship is going poorly, it can become a source of stress and frustration.

Being in recovery adds another layer of complexity into the situation. Sometimes leaving the relationship can improve recovery while other times, it can make sobriety more challenging to maintain. Because of the complicated nature of leaving relationships in recovery, it is necessary to assess the relationship and determine if it’s helpful or harmful to recover.

Recognizing Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships in Recovery

People usually have no issue pointing out the problems and issues in the relationships of others. It’s easier to pinpoint red flags and signs of trouble in other people’s relationships, but it can be more difficult to recognize them in your own.

In the moment, it is difficult to display the objectivity needed to assess a relationship because there are too many strong emotions involved. To separate a healthy relationship from an unhealthy one, the person should look for the signs of a strong relationship, :

  • Obvious respect for each other’s opinions and beliefs
  • Trust and honesty to know the person is dependable
  • A willingness to compromise and be flexible
  • Open communication to clearly state thoughts and feelings as well as good listening skills
  • Appropriate anger management and communication styles to prevent emotional situations from getting worse
  • Robust self-esteem and sense of individuality so the relationship does not define the person or who they feel

Relationships could be unhealthy from the start, or they may begin in healthy ways before sliding into dysfunction over time. In either case, unhealthy relationships in recovery should be avoided to maintain sobriety and well-being.

Some indicators of an unhealthy relationship include:

  • One person needs to control the other through threats, intimidation or manipulation
  • One person feeling they cannot live or be happy without the other
  • Patterns of hostility, dishonesty and disrespect
  • Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • Infidelity through physical or emotional intimacy

Most relationships have periods of dysfunction, but if the unhealthy episodes are becoming too numerous or too intense, it could be a sign that the relationship needs to end. Codependency in relationships involving recovery is common, so it’s important to be aware of early signs of dysfunction before they get worse.

Is Codependency Keeping You Around?

Codependency and enabling are major barriers to healthy relationships, especially those involving people in recovery. Codependent relationships emerge when the partners feel the need to continue the relationship despite unhealthy patterns.

In codependency, people share the responsibility for the other person’s feelings and actions. If their partner becomes angry and breaks items around the house, the person will believe it is their fault for triggering that reaction.

A concept closely tied into codependency in recovery is enabling. With enabling, the person also takes responsibility for the other person’s actions, which inadvertently rewards the person’s unwanted behaviors.

In the case of an addicted man and his codependent or enabling partner, the partner may call his work to report him sick when he is too hungover to go in.

This enabling behavior leads to short-term comfort but long-term problems.

A person may be codependent if they:

  • Make extreme sacrifices to meet their partner’s needs or expectations
  • Struggle to say “no”
  • Make excuses for their partner’s problematic, dangerous or illegal behavior
  • Feel trapped and hopeless within the relationship
  • Stay silent to avoid or minimize arguments
  • Worry about feeling judged

When Repairing the Relationship is Simply Not Enough

Making the decision to walk away from a relationship can be difficult. In many situations, it can feel all outcomes will be negative, no matter the choice.

When one or both people in the relationship have a history of substance abuse, the stakes seem higher. The person may worry:

  • What if leaving the relationship leads to relapse?
  • What if staying in the relationship leads to relapse?
  • What if I can’t find another partner?
  • What will I do without my partner?

These worries will influence a person’s judgment and encourage them not to take action. Rather than seeing the unhealthy aspects of the relationship, they may focus on repairing the relationship in recovery.

To help repair the relationship, the person may:

  • Attend counseling or relationship seminars
  • Encourage their partner to attend couples counseling
  • Read self-help and relationship books and online articles
  • Seek out helpful advice from others in challenging relationships

Of course, all of these tasks may help improve satisfaction in the relationship, but they could also result in additional codependency and enabling. Too often, people want their romantic relationships to endure at all costs, so they will suppress their own needs and feelings to maintain calm and limit conflict.

At times, though, no matter how much effort the couple puts into the relationship, there is no way to continue in a healthy manner. These relationships should end for the well-being of both parties.

Ending an unhealthy relationship is not a failure. It is a success. The only failure is choosing to stay in a relationship that damages your physical or emotional health.

Tips for Developing Healthy Relationships in Recovery

Building healthy relationships in recovery from addiction is not a simple process, but in reality, building any successful relationship is difficult.

Building any relationship takes a strong balance of thinking and feeling.

One has to feel a powerful emotional connection to the person while being able to identify the relationship as healthy logically for a relationship to be successful in the long-term.

Some of the most significant ways to build a healthy relationship are:

  • Be honest from the beginning. Some people fear the judgment of others, so they hide certain details of their life. This pattern usually leads to problems later on.
  • Be a good listener. Feeling valued is important in all relationships, and listening carefully to the other person will establish this.
  • Be trustworthy and respectful. Reliability and consistency may seem boring concepts, but they show trust and respect towards the partner.
  • Be flexible, not rigid or flimsy. Being too rigid or too flimsy in relationships shows a lack of self-esteem and uncertain boundaries. Feel free to compromise and negotiate.

Perhaps the most important relationship tip is to be kind. People always appreciate kindness, and as long as the person is kind, they will probably also be respectful, honest, caring and trustworthy.

If you find that addiction or recovery are standing in the way of achieving the healthy relationship you desire, you should consider professional addiction treatment at The Recovery Village. Professional addiction treatment can help reduce use and maintain abstinence, but it can also improve relationships. Reach out to a representative today for more information. 

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