Relationships Give Our Life Substance and Meaning
Relationships are interwoven into the very fabric of the tapestry of our lives. Without them, life as we know it would be quite empty and unfulfilling.
Relationships with others give our lives meaning. They define who we are. They bring us great joy – and sometimes great sorrow. We have important relationships with people we love. We have friends who offer their companionship, support, and encouragement. And, we have professional relationships with colleagues and co-workers.
We also have a relationship with ourselves. We get to wake up with ourselves every morning and go to bed with ourselves every night. We live in our own head all day long – which is why we should make it a pleasant place to be!. We are the only person we can never lose or leave. Having a healthy relationship with ourselves is just as (if not more) important than having heathy relationships with others.
And, in recovery, many of us have a relationship with a Higher Power. If we do not have a relationship with a Higher Power, we are encouraged to develop one by working a 12-Step program at programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
Indeed, relationships are vital to our survival and our happiness.
The Importance of Establishing Healthy Relationships
The key to a happy life is not just to have relationships, but to have HEALTHY relationships. In recovery, we must work to establish health and wellness in all areas of our lives. This includes how we interact with the world around us, how we approach the very sacred relationship we have with ourselves, and how we communicate with our Higher Power.
Healthy relationships with others help us to evolve in our recovery process and help foster personal growth. They should be supportive, stable, and reliable. They enrich our lives and help us to navigate the darkness when we lose our way.
Having a healthy relationship with yourself will largely determine how much you enjoy your life. If you are your own best friend, you will generally be a content and well-adjusted person.
And, a healthy relationship with the God of your own understanding will help you achieve the best and highest version of yourself. Experiencing inner peace, feeling connected to a higher consciousness, faith, hope, and trust – these are just a few of the many benefits of having a healthy relationship with a Higher Power.
Having Healthy Relationships With Others
Many people in early recovery have a difficult time with relationships with other people. Because of their addiction to drugs or alcohol, their lives often revolved around toxic relationships (which we will talk about in just a moment).
Knowing the qualities of a healthy relationship is the first step to pursuing and developing them in your life. If you don’t know what to look for, you won’t know it when you see it. Let’s list a few of the many attributes of a healthy relationship.
A healthy relationship:
- supports recovery, NOT addiction
- is built upon mutual respect
- centers on the health and wellness of each individual
- feels good in your soul
- involves healthy communication
- encourages you to achieve your highest good
- respects personal boundaries
- is trustworthy and reliable
- is kind and caring
- makes you feel good about yourself
- builds you up
- makes you feel safe
- makes you feel supported
- enriches your life
- brings you a sense of peace and contentment
A healthy relationship adds value to your life. It encourages you to be your best self. Developing a healthy relationship takes time and commitment. It is built upon a foundation of trust, respect, caring, and kindness.
Toxic Relationships With Others Can Poison Your Life and Lead to a Reoccurrence
You have probably heard the old adage, “You are who you hang with.” The people you chose to have relationships with will greatly affect your sense of wellbeing, your recovery, and your peace of mind. Choosing wisely when it comes to the company you keep is essential to enjoying a sober lifestyle.
We have talked about what a healthy relationship looks like. Now, let’s identify a few of the characteristics of a toxic relationship.
A toxic relationship:
- encourages drug and alcohol use
- drains you of your energy
- leaves you feeling bad about yourself
- is verbally, emotionally, or physically abusive
- does not respect personal boundaries
- is not based on trust and mutual respect
- creates a general feeling of insanity
- is unreliable and unstable
- consumes more time than you want to give
- is controlling and manipulative
- does not support other healthy relationships in your life
- centers on never-ending drama
- is codependent
- tears you down
- diminishes your self-worth
- lowers your standards
- perpetuates negativity
These are just a few of the many traits that define a toxic relationship.
As you continue to work on yourself and your recovery, you will be less likely to engage in these kind of relationships. You will find them unappealing because they take away from your life rather than add to it. They create drama and chaos.
It is especially important to be mindful of the people you are in relationships with. If you continually expose yourself to toxicity, you may have a reoccurrence as a result. We know you want to stay sober. Guard your recovery like your life depends on it – because it does.
Having a Healthy Relationship With Yourself
When you have a healthy relationship with yourself, you are more likely to have healthy relationships with other people. If you are abusive, unkind, disrespectful, or destructive towards yourself, you are more likely to accept this kind of toxic behavior from others.
Let’s be honest. An addiction to alcohol or drugs like heroin, crystal meth, or prescription painkillers leads to a dysfunctional relationship with yourself. In active addiction, you are unkind to yourself, you abuse your body, and you do things you are not proud of.
Recovery is all about healing and learning to love yourself. Like developing a healthy relationship with others, becoming your own best friend is a process that takes time and dedication. As you work the 12 Steps of recovery, you will undergo a transformational process that will teach you how to accept yourself – flaws and all.
Here are six tips for developing a healthy relationship with yourself:
- Stop the negative self-talk.
- Stay sober NO MATTER WHAT.
- Do things that make you feel good about yourself, like exercising.
- Set goals that will boost self-esteem.
- Hang around with positive people who support and encourage you.
- Forgive yourself for your past mistakes and move on.
Cultivating a healthy relationship with yourself is an ongoing, lifelong process – but is the greatest investment you can make.
Having a Healthy Relationship With Your Higher Power
Having a relationship with a God of your own understanding is a very personal matter. Therefore, we believe it would be intrusive of us to tell you how to develop a healthy relationship with your Higher Power.
However; we do suggest prayer, meditation, and 12-Step work as great places to start. Remember, spirituality is vital to your recovery.
Trust the Process and Go At Your Own Pace
Remember, recovery is an exciting journey of self-discovery and personal growth. It is not a race. Developing healthy relationships with others, yourself, and the God of your understanding is a process. Just take it one day at a time.