Gaining back trust?

Old 03-30-2017, 04:09 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Semi-Professional Philosopher
Thread Starter
steve-in-kville's Avatar
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Rural PA
Posts: 1,021
Gaining back trust?

This subject comes up here every so often, but I need some input on this: We all know the drill... we drank. We tried keeping it hidden. We lied to ourselves and those around us. Maybe we stopped. Maybe we relapsed. And we quit again.

Its no mystery why our spouses and/or families don't trust us, even long after we're sober. But how long did it take? When I sobered up, I didn't say anything. I didn't make any great proclamations. I just stopped. I figured my wife and family will figure it out on their own. "Don't tell me, show me" has always been how I lived. Talk is cheap.

Anyways, about a week ago, my wife made an "off" comment about my drinking, almost like she still thinks I am, or perhaps she thinks I'll be back on the bottle again soon. I didn't argue. Just shook the comment off. Healing takes time. But how long?

I'm not really sweating it, I know I really shook the confidence people had in me. I know this will take some time. Guess I just need some encouragement in this area.
steve-in-kville is offline  
Old 03-30-2017, 04:23 PM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 1,462
Hey Steve,
I've been married for thirty years. I drank most of that time. My wife is supportive of me and I appreciate that.

She's heard me say a hundred times " I'll never drink again" and I would drink again.

Honestly, I hate to say it , I think there will always be a small doubt deep down in Herman . Best thing I can do is stick to my sobriety and show her day after day.

I'm like you. In our situation talking proves nothing. It's our actions that re-gains trust with our loved ones. Hang in there pal
Mattq2 is offline  
Old 03-30-2017, 04:32 PM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 2,950
This is a hard pill to swallow, but the truth is, no matter how long we are sober, no matter how much we rebuild, they don't want to be hurt again. They can't control what we do, so they do the next best thing. They mentally prepare for the next relapse, the next betrayal. If they never let their guard down and fully trust, it won't hurt as much, because they knew this was coming.

I can't be trusted because I am an alcoholic and always will be. Even if I get better, I can return to where I've been.

The only thing I can control is whether or not I drink.

I can't expect someone I've betrayed to trust me. I can ask for forgiveness and they can forgive me. But they won't trust me again, I took that from them.

New relationships? Blank slates? Those I can start out with a full tank of trust.. but I believe once it's gone, it's gone. Especially if someone is mature and intelligent. I won't work for their trust, I won't be getting it back.

Can you live with that, if that were the case with your wife?
BrendaChenowyth is offline  
Old 03-31-2017, 03:43 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
FBL's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 13,833
Building trust takes time. That's just the way it is.
FBL is online now  
Old 03-31-2017, 03:54 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Dee74's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 211,373
I had a friend on the Family and Friends side of the board who used to say 'you [the alcoholic] don't get to set the timetable for my forgiveness.'

I think the same applies for trust.

As hard as it is for us sometimes, it takes as long as it takes.

I drank for 20 years - any time shorter than that really is a good deal. I really doubt it will take you anywhere near 20 years

The one thing we can control tho is our behaviour - if we want to be trusted again? be trustworthy...always

Dee74 is offline  
Old 03-31-2017, 05:05 AM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Sober since 10th April 2012
FeelingGreat's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 6,047
Apart from the times we've broken the trust of loved ones, we're also carrying the potential for relapse around for the rest of our lives. Its not curable.

WE can never relax, so can't blame them if they don't either.
FeelingGreat is offline  
Old 03-31-2017, 05:09 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Mountainmanbob's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Lakeside, Ca
Posts: 10,208
Originally Posted by steve-in-kville View Post

Its no mystery why our spouses and/or families don't trust us, even long after we're sober. But how long did it take?
Even long after we're sober?

I have known ones sobering up (including myself) who think that
after a few months away from the drink
the family and world should give them a big teddy bear hug.

Truth is that by the time in which some drunks get sober
the family is well beyond the burned out point.

Ones thoughts regarding this question may change a little over time.

At 6 months sober -- the family may be encouraged.

At one year sober -- most families have relaxed into a sober lifestyle.

Five years sober -- some of the worse of the drunken past is forgotten.
For now the recovered drunk is putting family before themself.
This is something that doesn't come easy
for a self centered one who has always chosen booze over the family.

Mountainmanbob is offline  
Old 03-31-2017, 05:57 AM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 8,674
What Mbob said.

At 13 months and change, my family is at the one year point he describes. All I can do is keep giving them reasons to trust it and keep my side of the street sober and clean. Some relationships might never be what they "could have been" (I am thinking of mine with my brother) but they are mended enough to move to a better place than they were, and the responsibility is mine to do my part and let him do is, in this instance.

One thing the BB does say is that we (alcoholics) are not meant to be servile or scraping. IMO and IME this means that as we gain trust and live good sober lives, we do gain the right to have boundaries around expectations (ex- answers about where we've been, or what we've been doing) others' may hang on to about us. An example I'd use of this is being accountable to my mom via text when I got home from a late shift at the restaurant - theoretically so she'd know I was ok and sober, but really just part of the dance of her knowing (if she believed me) that I was alive. Now, I don't owe her nightly answers for any reason.

Ultimately, time takes time for .... everything.
August252015 is offline  
Old 03-31-2017, 07:28 AM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 5,229
I was lucky my wife never really got like that with me. I'm really surprised too. But it was something i had pondered and I just figured it was her problem if she felt this way or that way. Oh yes sure my track record this or that but that was behind me and I did not expect this to be an issue any further so why concern myself with it at all? Like i said I felt if the issue arose it was the other persons issue. Why? becuase no amt of words nothing i say is going ot be able to reassure them and make them feel better. that is something only the can resolve in themselves for themselves. All ic an do is keep my side of the street clean and stay sober and do what i gotta do etc..

I guess sometimes you gotta pick your problems wisely. I dunno about you but for me each day has enough friggen nonsense i gotta contend too. Something like resassureing someone for the 89321321321 time that i'm not gonna drink again well whats the sense. I mean say you relapse again what did the reassureance effort cost ya? a lot of headache and then you fail what was the point in trying to reassure the person with words? Say you dont relapse and you stay sober what did the reassurance effort cost ya? a lot of headache and they may or may not buy your story anyhow so now your left walking away still frustrated etc.. You then go into another obstacle of life alreadying feeling knocked down a knotch over this issue of how someone else feels when you cant MAKE them feel this way or that way. They are gonna efel however they are gonna feel.

The only thing you can do is the same thing you've been doing just stay the course and dont drink in time the rest of all this other "stuff" works its way out. this is easier too becuase your not sitting her worried over every little detail driving yourself bonkers over it when theres more important fish to fry.

Not to discount your wifes feelings tho there justfified. My point tho is theres nothing you can really do just wait for time and longer sober time to heal it all etc..
zjw is offline  
Old 03-31-2017, 07:44 AM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 2,950
I also think it's dangerous for alcoholics to feel like they're surrounded by people who trust them unconditionally. That would mean that no matter what I did, I'd know I could get away with it. Trusting me is enabling me. I need to be around people who know what I'm like. Just thought I'd add an extra two cents.. not exactly bright and shiny, am I?
BrendaChenowyth is offline  
Old 03-31-2017, 07:55 AM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 5,229
also on one hand with me tho my wife really eased up on her nagging about me drinking too much in the final years. this was absolutly fantastic for my AV. and while it was bad beucase i got pretty unhinged i guess the upside is i was on the fast track for my eventual crash and burn and trip on the sober wagon.
zjw is offline  
Old 03-31-2017, 09:24 AM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Forum Leader
ScottFromWI's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 16,945
Time ( sober ) can be a great healer. I think most of us still have that "I want it all and I want it NOW" addictive voice in our heads that makes it seem like it will never come, but it can happen.

My personal experience was that it probably took at least a year or more for me to start regaining some trust from my wife. But I literally drank for decades and lied about it the whole time so I think it's pretty amazing what I accomplished in a year.
ScottFromWI is offline  
Old 03-31-2017, 10:00 AM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Chicago
Posts: 605
I don't think you can put a definitive time on forgiveness or the regaining of trust. I think it is tough for the people that love us because they have no control over us. If we drink again it is back to square one and there is nothing they can do, aside from leaving us.
ljc267 is offline  
Old 03-31-2017, 11:01 AM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Mountainmanbob's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Lakeside, Ca
Posts: 10,208
Getting back Trust, it's best we don't wait for it because, it's better when unexpected.
Mountainmanbob is offline  
Old 03-31-2017, 11:52 AM
  # 15 (permalink)  
puddlejumper70's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 80
Of course we want to be trusted and not interrogated, or viewed with suspicion when we are making genuine, positive changes in our lives, but I suppose if we truly "accept the things we cannot change," then we mustn't burden ourselves with the thoughts and attitudes of others, and just let trust re-build organically as we actively work on our recovery.
puddlejumper70 is offline  
Old 03-31-2017, 12:38 PM
  # 16 (permalink)  
tomsteve's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: northern michigan. not the U.P.
Posts: 15,281
knowing your own history and the lies and deception you given to your wife, how long would you take to trust you if youre in your wifes shoes?
then triple that because ya prolly werent honest about that answer.
tomsteve is offline  

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:36 AM.