Breaking free from the chains of addiction is a liberating experience. People in recovery, after severing all ties with their substance of choice, feel empowered—like they can do anything. Loved ones, however, may not share the same levels of enthusiasm as you do. It's for you to forget the pain and suffering you may have inflicted during your addiction, but the wounds you have created may still be fresh for everyone else. Spoken apologies can help mend the fences, but actions help to show your loved ones that you are dedicated to recovery. Below are 6 proactive steps you might consider taking to mend broken relationships after rehab. 

  1. Invest in Yourself

    First and foremost, focus on yourself. Your loved ones want to see you succeed. If they aren't quick to forgive, don't let it get you down. Use your loved one's initial reticence as motivation to improve yourself. People who have been hurt by your actions are simply worried that your accomplishment may be short-lived. Getting their hopes up may lead to disappointment, which is why the best thing you can do is think positive thoughts and show them by your actions that you're serious about recovery.
  2. Have Realistic Expectations

    Forgiveness takes time. The more hurt your loved ones experienced, the longer it may take to earn back their trust. Understand that your loved ones are not obligated to exonerate you simply because you made the decision to get help. They want to see substantial progress before they will allow themselves to forgive. 
  3. Hear them out

    Start the healing process by giving those you betrayed your time. Allow them to explain the hurts you caused during your addiction and listen when they express their fears and concerns about the future. This may be difficult for you to hear and you may feel defensive, but remain calm and understanding. This shows your relative that you truly feel remorseful for your past actions, and will help them let go of the past and focus on the promise of the future. 
  4. Practice Patience

    As much as you'd like them to, things aren't going to go back to the way they were before you started using alcohol or drugs. Feeling anxious and uneasy about your social situation can lead to relapse. If your efforts to chat or see friends and family fall short, kindly express that you understand and advise them to take all the time they need before they feel comfortable seeing you. Losing your temper or continuing to blame yourself will only do more harm than good.
  5. Forgive Yourself

    Letting go of the past is a vital part of addiction recovery. While it is important to make amends and admit your wrongdoing, there comes a point when there’s nothing more you can do repair the damage you have caused. Dwelling on your past mistakes will trap you in a vortex of negativity and may lead to relapse. It’s important to accept the past for what it is and vow to make positive choices from here on out. 
  6. Accepting Unsalvageable Relationships

    Some of your past relationships have been broken and may never be repaired. Although this can be a difficult pill to swallow, the only thing you can do is respect the other person's decision to part ways with you and give them space. While you may want to attempt a reconciliation, it’s best just to let the person be. One day this individual might be ready to talk, but in order for that to happen, you must respect his or her wishes.


Once you have attempted to make amends with your loved ones and accepted the past for what it is, it’s time to move on with your newfound life. Enjoy sobriety guilt-free with new friends and the benefits that come along with it. If you are in need of further recovery services, including aftercare, dial (877) 257-7997 or visit