Healthy relationships are essential in life, especially in recovery. The bonds you share with friends, family, and peers from support groups impact your mental and physical wellbeing. You should never underestimate the power of a strong bond, nor should you ever subscribe to the “go-it-alone” ideology. Studies even show that having a variety of relationships helps to reduce stress and heart-related risks. Strong social ties lead to a longer life. Alternatively, loneliness and isolation lead to poorer health, depression, and shortened life. Although you learn social skills early on in life, you are never too old to improve relationships.
All relationships range from healthy to unhealthy -- even abusive. Signs of a healthy relationship include bonds between you and others that make you feel good about yourself when you are in this person's company. Such relationships offer you an environment where you feel comfortable expressing yourself and feel like you are being listened to and valued.
These environments bring about a great sense of trust. It is essential to be aware of how you feel when you are with certain people. If certain social situations leave you feeling less of who you are, then you might need to assess this social setting to determine why you feel this way. While it is customary to disagree with friends and family, they should never turn into personal attacks. When a dispute happens in a healthy relationship, you should work together to find common ground. Healthy relationships consist of each party involved to respect and support one another. Therefore, if a friend or family member has said something that hurt you, they should express remorse and work to avoid repeating the behavior.
Relationships are essential to the quality of life at any age. It all begins with first getting to know and understand yourself until to learn to see what it is about yourself that you like. The process helps you understand what makes you happy and how you want others to treat you, and in turn, how you begin to treat others. When you are in an unhealthy relationship, it can hurt because you start to make excuses for the person who hurts you, compromising your integrity. It is much more challenging when you love the person who has hurt you; you might begin to feel that you do not deserve to be in a healthy relationship.
Social Bonds Protect
Studies show that certain factors seem to protect people from forming unhealthy relationships over their lifetime. Such protection begins early in life. Secure emotional bonds help develop trust, teach you how to listen, and resolve conflicts. These bonds protect you from becoming emotionally distressed or engaging in antisocial behaviors. However, when overcoming addiction, numb emotions might prevent you from wholly experiencing the feelings and impact the effect a healthy relationship can have on you. Therefore, you need to re-learn and experience these emotions.
One caring person can make a difference. Such a person can be a supportive friend, family member, counselor, therapist, or mentor. Such influences can help you realize that you matter and have a place to go when you need extra support. These relationships help form bonds in participating in activities outside of the home, further developing trust and security. Likewise, being a pillar of support for another, whether it's just listening, helps you strengthen your bond with yourself and another. These social bonds continue to develop into a support network to ensure you are getting the time and care you need to sustain accountability and forward progress in recovery.
How to Become a Better Friend
Becoming a better friend first begins with taking the time to know yourself and what you want. When you understand this, you can communicate yourself better with your friend. Kindly voicing your perspective and feelings helps to establish honesty, trust, and boundaries within the relationship. For example, suppose a friend understands that specific social settings make you feel uncomfortable. In that case, they can work with you to find an alternative activity instead of pressuring you to do something you don't want to do.
Becoming a good friend also takes the willingness to be present and listen without feeling the need to interject. People grow through learning, and if you are not willing to listen, you can't learn more than you already know. Don't assume your way is the right way; try to look at things from multiple perspectives. It will not only help you understand others, but it will make you more open-minded to trying different approaches to help with your challenges.
Meaningful relationships help form bonds that offer trust, comfort, security, and understanding, helping you feel better about yourself. These bonds not only help you feel rewarded after an interaction, but they continue to strengthen the entire recovery community. At START UP RECOVERY, our best success comes when those that seek us can make positive connections within and with others to advance and grow the recovery community. We also work to help you realize that everyone deserves the opportunity to form meaningful bonds in their lives because such bonds are often the most sacred things we can attain in life. The best success does not happen until you take the first step toward it. With 24/7 admissions, there is never a wrong time to take that first step. Begin creating the meaningful bonds you deserve by reaching out to us at START UP RECOVERY today. Call us at (310) 778-3809.