“A true friend is one who overlooks your failures and tolerates your success!” – Doug Larson
When we’re abusing substances before recovery, we are not ourselves. The awful things that many of us do when we’re using are not who we really are, they are the outcome of our substance use and the need to feed our habits. Unfortunately, some of the people who bear the brunt of our misbehavior aren’t going to see the difference between “who we are” and “what we did”.
Even after we enter recovery, we have to expect some social fallout from our addiction. It would be as unfair to expect everyone around us to be completely understanding as it would be unrealistic for us to think that no one should take any of our misdeeds personally. This isn’t a judgment on people who decide that they need to keep their distance from us; it’s just a fact of life that we have to face. Not everyone is going to be strong enough, or interested enough, to get over the things we’ve put them through.
We’re going to have to show some courage and willingness to make amends with the people we hurt, and we’re going to have to make room for the possibility that not everyone will want to hear our apology. Sometimes we do so much damage to friendships, even unintentionally, that they may be beyond repair.
The good news is that recovery provides us with the tools we need to repair the relationships we’re lucky enough to keep, and to take a healthy amount of responsibility for the ones that we aren’t. Then we can focus on strengthening the relationships that remain, making new ones, and moving forward. Rather than dwelling on the people who aren’t capable of forgiving us, recovery lets us embrace those who are.