One of the most painful symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a history of stormy relationships, or even the inability to maintain a relationship at all. As a result, many of those dealing with BPD report feeling alone, unsupported, and, perhaps most painfully, misunderstood.
A common co-occurring disorder of Borderline Personality Disorder is substance abuse. Substance abuse and addiction often serve as an easy “in” for creating bonds with others.
Addiction is like joining a club. When you are addicted to a substance, you are entering into a culture in which those who are addicted spend all their time either seeking out the substance of choice, using it, or looking for someone to use it with. The substance serves as a catalyst for the relationship.
As a result, it can be scary to begin a process of BPD recovery as those bonds, however they are maintained, may feel very important. Because of the break in those relationships, recovery can feel like a lonely place, and loneliness can be a relapse trigger.
You’re not alone. Many dealing with substance abuse feel overwhelmed by a sense of guilt, failure, or inability to interact as a “normal” person. But keep in mind that others have been in the same position. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that, each year, drug abuse results in around 40 million serious injuries or illnesses in the United States. So move forward with your decision to stop being part of that statistic and know that you are not alone in your challenge.
Find a support group. Surround yourself with people who understand the need for change. The group you currently spend your time with may not be ready to improve their quality of life. They may not be able to understand what you are going through. Addiction can feel like a cloud, a mindset that makes unhealthy choices seem okay because of the immediate gratification that results from them. Once you have made the decision to seek help at a BPD treatment facility, find one that offers substance abuse treatment as well. You’ll be surrounded by people who have made the same choice for wellness.
Be honest with yourself. We can find all kinds of reasons to avoid change. Ask yourself whether you are using your friendships as a justification to continue in the self-harming behavior? What if you went into recovery? Would these friends still be by your side? If the answer is no, don’t use that as an excuse to continue in your abusive behavior, but use that realization as a tool that shows you just how important it is that you recover so that you can begin to form real friendships.
How to form new relationships after recovery. Find a BPD treatment center that offers a recovery plan, one that includes help in job placement, and getting you re-acquainted with a world outside of your addiction. Recognize that these people are seeing you, not your substance abuse, and let that strengthen the tools you’ve been given in seeing yourself in a new healthy light.
Strengthen your relationship with yourself. Come to terms with your own emotions. What feelings are you carrying with you as a result of your history? Look for a holistic treatment center that offers classes in meditation or yoga, or something similar that will give you the tools to recognize the complicated emotions you are experiencing through your own eyes. Keep in mind that your recovery from Borderline and Personality Disorder and substance abuse is your goal, and your health comes first. Social support can play a big part in that, but should not be a crutch. This is your journey.