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Healthy Relationships

Learning how to build and sustain healthy relationships is a critical part of clinical treatment because they help those in recovery find the motivation and support necessary to remain sober.

The Value of Healthy Relationships to Recovery

Healthy relationships are valuable in daily life and allow for connections to be made. Relationships can be familial, platonic, social, professional, or romantic and are all highly beneficial for personal growth and maintaining sobriety.

Both healthy and unhealthy relationships can impact people in and out of recovery in various ways. A supportive friend who genuinely cares for someone who is recovering from substance abuse will offer compassion and maintain respect for their journey. Someone who is a toxic person in an unhealthy relationship may instead criticize or mock the person for having had an addiction. A toxic person may also be someone who the individual used to get high and/or drunk with that continues to reach out to them to offer the ability to get high or drunk. Such responses can deeply affect the person attempting to transition into sobriety. It’s important to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy relationships to compare how they influence addiction.

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Defining Healthy Relationships

Healthy relationships provide people enduring or recovering from addiction an opportunity for peace and growth. These relationships encourage the safety and growth and development of each individual. Traits of healthy relationships include:

  • Healthy boundaries
  • Individual identities
  • Empathy
  • Support
  • Respect
  • Stability
  • Affection
  • Honesty
  • Comfort
  • Attention
  • Feeling valued
  • Loyalty
  • Compromise
  • Open communication
  • Commitment
  • Trust
  • Caring for each other’s well-being
  • Connection
  • Criticism
  • Gossip

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Healthy relationships benefit us by providing security, joy, and partnership in our lives. Healthy relationships bring out the best in people, remind people to be responsible for their own happiness, and emphasize self-care. People in healthy relationships may experience less stress and achieve a balance of self-care and caring for others. Healthy friendships can offer us support and a sense of belonging, which are basic essentials for happiness.

Unhealthy Relationships

Unhealthy relationships have highly toxic impacts which can unfold in various ways. Unhealthy relationships that include lying, cheating, or are highly unstable create a lack of peace and well-being in the lives of those involved. Traits of an unhealthy relationship include:

  • Passive-aggressive behavior
  • Physical, emotional, mental, or sexual abuse
  • Withholding of emotion or affection
  • Control
  • Power Struggles
  • Mistrust
  • Manipulation
  • Invalidation
  • Discouragement
  • Lying
  • Exploitation
  • Manipulation
  • Enabling/codependency
  • Sarcasm/put downs
  • Blaming
  • Intimidation
  • Isolation
  • Neglect
  • Cutting remarks
  • Fighting

Toxic relationships, relationships that leave someone feeling drained and hopeless, can lead to disturbances in peace and increases in depression and anxiety.

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Unhealthy Relationships and Addiction

Patterns of attachment and ideas about relationships begin in childhood. Most often, childhood relationships determine the types of relationships we form and maintain as we age. Depending on how our parents responded to our needs, we can form unhealthy relationships or become attached to people who mimic our caretakers. If we were traumatized as children, this trauma can reveal itself in the types of people who we love or choose to be loved by in adulthood.

Unhealthy relationships can lead to emotional distress, such as anxiety or depression, which can lead to substance abuse. For example, studies reveal that many people who binge drink have endured childhood trauma and use alcohol to self-medicate. Unhealthy relationships in worst case scenarios can create voids, dependencies, and destructive tendencies like self-harm and addiction in some people.

Becoming aware of personal influences and maintaining self-care and self-esteem are positive ways to identify the possible dangers of negative, toxic relationships. If you or someone you know is trapped in an unhealthy relationship and is abusing substances for relief, contact a treatment provider today.

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Healthy Relationships and Sobriety

Forming healthy relationships and connections is a highly effective way to maintain a life of health and wellness, especially when transitioning from a life of addiction. In rehab facilities, many patients have the chance to connect with other people in recovery. In this environment, patients create bonds that can last for years by connecting with like-minded people. Often times, these friendships encourage the person in recovery to overcome challenges influencing addiction. 12-step groups are a way to continue to form strong relationships and help reduce rates of relapse after patient returns home from treatment.

If someone is leaving a rehab facility, they will benefit from steering clear of enablers, negative critical people, or people who undermine their personal growth and sense of responsibility. Enablers, people who lie or make excuses for addiction, can encourage or tempt those in recovery to abuse substances. Codependent relationships can also be unhealthy for people struggling with substance abuse.

Getting Help Today

Healthy relationships create joy, but don’t have to be limited to people who don’t have co-occurring disorders or don’t struggle with substance abuse. Connect with treatment providers to gain access to treatment facilities suited for your needs. Find freedom. Contact a rehab provider today.

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