Regaining the Trust of Others and Trust in Oneself
Regaining the trust of others and trust in oneself is one of the things in recovery that takes time, and how much can never be said for sure. It’s also not a guarantee, though if the 12 Steps are practiced on a daily basis, it’s definitely likely. As you probably already know, trust is something that can be destroyed in a second but take months, even years, to rebuild.
I lost the trust of my father almost immediately after I started drinking and using at fourteen. Not surprisingly, since I had to start lying about almost everything to continue my lifestyle, which consisted of booze, drugs, skipping school and sneaking out at every opportunity.
This was an extremely difficult time for my dad and I. When two people have to live together but don’t trust each other at all, it can make for some very strained moments. It felt like we were constantly at war with each other. He felt disrespected and scared, while I felt misunderstood and resentful. At the time I thought my dad and I would never get along again. I thought he was a closed minded tyrant.
But now, seven years and one long road later, my dad is my best friend! I tell him almost everything, and I love spending time with him and asking his advice. But to get to this point it’s taken a little over three years of me being sober and several rounds of the 12 Steps. To trust me again, my dad had to see over an extended period of time that I was truly changing my life for the better. He had to spend time with me and experience my changed perspective for himself. But most importantly, in my opinion, we had to begin to actually communicate.
Even when it was scary, I opened up to him and began to share my life with him. I started sharing my feelings and my thoughts and dreams and fears. I talked to him about my relationship problems and my successes. I told him where I was going and with who and when I would be back. In turn, he opened up to me, and started sharing who he is. In that way, we have rebuilt our relationship into something stronger and better than I could have ever imagined.
Being rigorously honest one day at a time is the surefire way to rebuild trust in ANY relationship.
I believe this also applies to my relationship with myself. This is something I am still struggling with and working on daily. I betrayed and hurt myself even worse than I did anyone else. I spent a lot of time lying and fooling myself about what was really going on and what I was actually feeling.
But my relationship with myself is getting better. The best way I’ve discovered so far to start repairing my self-trust is to follow my heart, my intuition, no matter what anyone else is saying or doing. This is something I do imperfectly and inconsistently because I still struggle with trying to please other people. But I hold it in my consciousness as something to always shoot for, and I know that the more I take care of myself and the more honest I am about what I want and need, the faster I’m going to have a strong foundation or self trust, which seems to be the same thing as self confidence. It feels the same anyway!
For me, trust in my Higher Power is tied right in with trusting myself. It took me nearly a year in recovery before I could bring myself to start praying and talking to my God. But once I did, my relationship with my Higher Power has grown steadily but surely. I’ve found that the more I consciously pray and literally talk to God, the more connected I feel to that Source. It’s just like any other relationship – it takes time, honesty and effort – and just a little bit of faith that everything is really going to be okay.