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The Importance of Healthy Relationships in Recovery

Research from the Journal of American Medical Association showed that the relapse rates in recovering addicts are between 40 and 60 percent. The chronic, relapsing disease that addiction is can make it difficult to stay clean and sober after treatment. Healthy relationships in recovery are an important factor of helping a person to stay away from drugs and alcohol long after they have left rehab.

3 Minute Read | Published Sep 26 2023 | Updated Mar 08 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Dameisha Gibson
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Dameisha Gibson
Reviewed by

Why Healthy Relationships in Recovery is Important

During the period of substance abuse, many of the relationships that a person had was likely unhealthy and supported their drug abuse. In this article, we will explore what healthy relationships in recovery from addiction should look like and how they can help a person remain clean and sober.

How do Healthy Relationships Help Long-Term Recovery

The University of Amsterdam’s director for the Center for Drug Research, Professor Peter Cohan, believes that the opposite of an addiction is connection. He believes that addiction only happens because there is a lack of bonding present in the person’s life.

There are several benefits of healthy relationships in recovery from addiction. They are as follows:

  • Accountability – Knowing that a person is holding you as a recovering addict responsible for your actions can be a driving factor in remaining sober.
  • Physical connection – When people connect physically through a touch or hug, the mind releases oxytocin, a chemical that reduces stress and improves wellbeing. Physical contact can help a person going through stress, helping to prevent relapse.
  • Emotional support – Life is challenging and everyone needs support from time to time to deal with the stressors and challenges that they may have. Recovering addicts thrive on this support as it helps them to better deal with their emotional triggers that can cause relapse.
  • Motivation – The motivation that a friend or family member can provide through healthy relationships in recovery can be a key ingredient to remaining clean. The love and care they can give the recovering person can be enough to keep them motivated toward their long-term goals.

What a Healthy Relationship Should Be

For early sobriety and relationships, it can become clear to the recovering person that they may have had unhealthy relationships that supported their bad habits. In early sobriety and relationships, the person can learn what makes a relationship healthy and good for recovery.

Good communication is an important part of a healthy relationship. Communicating your thoughts and feelings can help you to reduce stress and deal with the relapse triggers that you may experience. An important rule to follow is to avoid raising your voice or attacking the person when there is a disagreement. Instead, focus on “I” statements that allow you to take responsibility as opposed to just placing blame on others.

Trust and honesty can help a person to stay clean and sober over the long term. When the relapse process begins, people often close themselves off to those around them and lie about what they are feeling. By being honest about what you are experiencing, you can find support and get to healthy solutions instead of relapsing as the issues become too much to handle.

Boundaries can be another aspect of a healthy relationship. Set your boundaries in your relationship and respect the boundaries of others. Parents of addicts can establish these boundaries as their recovery progresses, giving their children more and more freedom when they have earned it.

Sobriety can be difficult to maintain alone. Having healthy relationships that support recovery can be a determining factor in long-term success in treatment. If you need any help with addiction and recovery, call Better Addiction Care today at (800) 429-7690.


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