Addicts and alcoholics who seek to recover their credibility after going through alcoholism or drug rehab will find that even the cliches are stacked against them. Consider, for example, the common warning not to throw good money after bad, or “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” A recovering addict’s friends and family will be understandably reluctant to trust an individual who might have lied to them or stolen from them while he was still in the grasp of addiction. Because of this, a recovering addict will need to acknowledge and accept that his trustworthiness will not be automatically accepted after he has completed rehab, but he will instead need to work to reestablish that trust and credibility through positive actions that show real results.
Rebuilding Your Credibility After Addiction
A recovering addict should first take small steps with friends and family to rebuild his credibility. As with many aspects of rehab, goal setting can help on this front. A recovering addict can establish small, short-term goals in his relationships with friends and family and work toward achieving those goals to demonstrate his ability to follow through on a commitment. The goal may be as simple as offering to meet a friend for coffee and conversation, preparing a family meal or cleaning a residence. Not only will achieving these small goals establish a foundation for renewed credibility, but they will also give a recovering addict an inner sense of accomplishment to elevate his own self-esteem.
Dishonesty and denial are two common symptoms of drug addiction. A recovering addict will rarely do everything perfectly and he will likely make mistakes at some point in his recovery. When he does make a mistake, a recovering addict should reject any sense of self-preservation and instead admit the mistake while taking prompt steps to correct it. A friend or family member who has come to expect denials or deflections of responsibility will then see a newfound attitude in the recovering addict, who is now willing to admit and take responsibility for his imperfections. If the mistake caused some harm or injury, an apology will also go a long way toward rebuilding credibility.
Recovering addicts should guard against self-hatred and loathing if they do make a mistake. Friends and family will sense these emotions and will likely connect them with the addict’s prior tendencies to turn to drugs or alcohol to ease the pain associated with self-hatred. A recovering addict who can take responsibility for and move on from a mistake will be received more positively by his old friends and family.
Even with all of these efforts, a recovering addict will likely find that not everyone will be willing to grant him a second or third chance. The parable of the prodigal son features both a father who immediately accepts his wayward son back into the fold and an older brother who harbors residual anger with his younger brother. Most people will fall somewhere between these two extremes, and the best a recovering addict can hope for is to push a majority of those people closer to the father’s response. If a few people insist on staying in the older brother’s camp, the recovering addict should simply accept that he cannot change their mind
Please contact the Last Resort Recovery Center near Austin, Texas, at 512-360-3600 for more ideas and information on how you can rebuild your own credibility when you are recovering from a drug or alcohol problem. We will approach your situation from a non-judgmental perspective and offer suggestions that will work within the framework of your specific situation.