Can You Ever Trust Your Addict?
Do you trust the addict you love?
Could you ever trust them again?†Is it possible to love someone without trusting them?
If someone you love is addicted, chances are one of the first things that was damaged in your relationship with them is the trust you had. Long before you lose respect, patience and in some cases love, trust is usually the first to go. Youíve probably contended with the lies, the odd behaviors, the loss of property, theft and endless broken promises and been left with a constant sense of doubt about everything that the addict in your life says and does.
Youíve been taught by repeated abuse of your trust, to simply, not trust.
We expect to be able to trust the people we love and it goes without saying that in most relationships, when trust is absent it is difficult to keep moving the relationship forward. Those who have never shared their life with an addict would believe that loving someone without trusting them is the beginning of the end. Granted, it certainly changes the shape of the love you have for the person but if you have loved an addict and understand anything about the addiction they have, you will know that not only is losing trust, inevitable, it also becomes necessary for your protection and emotional stability, as part of surviving the journey of loving an addict.
Thatís not to suggest that it feels at all good, or right.
Unfortunately when you love an addict, many of lifeís usual expectations are reversed. Lies are expected, distrust becomes inherent, being let down is common and until a fundamental change is made and recovery is in hand, your expectations donít usually change. But when a commitment to recovery is made, there is the opportunity for trust to be restored.
Trust takes a lot longer to rebuild than it does to destroy.
Trust can be broken with one single action. Many honest and reliable actions must be followed through with before trust can begin to take seed and grow.
The time it takes to trust your loved one again will vary depending on each unique situation. You donít HAVE to trust again within any set timeline. You donít HAVE to trust when your addict tells you that you should. Unfortunately in the early days of recovery it may not even be possible to begin to trust as old behaviors can linger even when the addiction is being managed. Often when lies and deceit have been a constant way of life, the habits can be easily fallen back into for reasons we might not understand. When my husband first committed to his recovery, he would still lie about small, seemingly inconsequential things, because for him the truth had been blurred for so long, and the untruths were so thickly weaved into his life, the lies came a lot easier than reality. It took a number of months for him to learn to fully speak his truth, about everything, so that we could begin to rebuild the trust piece by piece.
Communication was our most important tool and this meant being able to ask questions and have them answered with honesty, respect and kindness. This was a condition we put in place from day one and for me, his willingness to agree to it signaled a strong commitment to recovery. By creating an open forum I could get the information I needed to feel more comfortable but likewise, when it was tempting to call my husband out on every single unfounded doubt I had, I also had to be willing to give him space to do his own work on proving I could trust him again.
Recovery for us was a two way street and a big part of trusting him came with trusting myself to know that I could deal with any future betrayal in a way that best honored me, and the new expectations I had set for myself in MY recovery.
In recovery, allow your loved one to begin to earn your trust but be aware that this is a skill they need to re-develop. You should continue to protect yourself but also observe their commitment to their recovery, look for changes to their lifestyle, friends and choices of entertainment, watch how they behave, listen to what they say, and decide if all of these are aligned with an honest recovery.
You might experience your loved one becoming frustrated that you donít immediately trust them the minute they set their intentions on recovery. This is common and can seem defensive, causing you to wonder if they Ďdoth protest too muchí. It is important to have an open conversation about your wish to also have the trust restored but make it clear that for this to happen, you must be allowed the time you need to witness a constant effort to maintain trustworthy actions and behavior and as long as this is evident, you believe that you can begin to trust again.
While the trust is being rebuilt it can be easy to fall into over vigilance and I will post on this topic soon but put simply, use your energy wisely. Donít waste energy trying to make sure your loved one doesnít slip up or looking for evidence of betrayals. I know this can be difficult but they must learn how to conduct themselves appropriately on their own and your constant intervention will only create a dynamic of control and resentment, which doesnít create a particularly good start for a relationship in recovery.
Listen to your instincts, and remain aware but also preserve your energy for YOUR recovery while your loved one learns how to restore your faith in them.
Photo credit:†© 2009†vagawi ?