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How Do I Earn Back My Family’s Trust?

Addiction can lead to some pretty unruly behavior–lying, borrowing money, negligence, stealing, and jail. None of this happens in a vacuum and some people you care about will get hurt. After you decide to get help, detox, go through treatment, and have some time in recovery, your family still might be mad at you despite all your hard work. What can you do to win back their trust?

The short answer is “nothing.” You can’t force your family to trust you, even if you live the rest of your life as a perfect saint. If you were in active addiction for a long time, they may have had a lot of practice not trusting you. It probably took them a long time to learn not to trust you, and the bitterness of that experience will probably make them wary of being fooled again. They may eventually come around if you keep doing the right things, but you have to accept that your family’s opinion of you is not under your control.

If you insist that they should trust you because you have worked so hard to get sober, you may be creating a new resentment. That is, if you are under the impression that you would get sober and they would have to forgive you, you may resent they are not holding up their end of a bargain they never actually agreed to. Holding onto that resentment will only impede your recovery.

Try looking at the situation from their perspective. If your roles were reversed, how quickly would you forgive? They need to protect themselves, and possibly others. For example, imagine a situation in which your in-laws had custody of your daughter because your addiction caused you to neglect her. You are now sober, but they are still reluctant to let you spend time with her. Will you resent them for fiercely protecting your daughter?

It can be hard to be on the outside. Even if your family is supporting you, you might still feel they don’t trust you, which can make you feel alienated. You absolutely need support and connection to stay sober, but they are not obligated to give it to you. Fortunately, you can find support at meetings. You may have to shop around a bit to find a good fit, but people at meetings will be best able to understand what you’re going through.

Your family wants you to succeed and they want to trust you, but they also don’t want to be hurt and disappointed. Focus on doing what you need to stay sober and try not to worry about what they think. You can control your own behavior but not theirs.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-828-1050 or email us at to learn more.