Addiction is difficult for both addicts and those who care for them. It can be confusing and frightening to be a partner in someone’s recovery. It is likely that your loved one has just been diagnosed with a serious illness and requires your support. Where do you start? What can you do to support your partner in recovery?
It is important to remember that your partner is still the same person as they were before. You don’t have to alter your relationship to support their sobriety. There are some simple things you can do that will help in making the recovery process easier for your partner and you.
STATEGIES TO SUPPORT YOUR SOBER PARTNER IN REECOVERY
1. DO NOT JUDGE
How can you support your sober partner in their journey to recovery? First, try to keep your mind open and be understanding. Most people who are confronting addiction feel a lot of shame or guilt. You don’t want to add to their guilt or shame as a partner. Research shows that addiction is more easily understood as a condition rather than a choice. Let them know that this is not their fault and that you are there to help them through it, as with any other health problem.
2. CREATE A PLAN
Every good relationship is built on open communication. Begin your partner’s journey to recovery together by talking openly about it and creating a plan. Addicts can greatly benefit from having clear goals and a set of routines. Identify what you expect from one another and set your boundaries. This will help you to avoid conflict and pain down the line.
3. EXPLORE TREATMENT
As a partner to an addict, it is crucial for you to recognize whether the recovery journey of your partner is going well or not and determine if you are capable enough to handle the responsibility on your own without any help. Some addicts find that the support of their loved ones and family is sufficient to help them through early recovery and transition into sobriety. You may need to consider treatment options if your partner is suffering from severe addiction or has had trouble getting sober in the past. Some addicts won’t be willing to go for treatment. They may need your support.
4. BE AWARE OF THEIR TRIGGERS.
Exposure to triggers is the leading cause of relapse in addicts. Some addicts may experience emotional distress or loneliness. Others may find it at a family party or other events. Talking to your partner about triggers is important, so you can be well aware of them. This will help you to identify their triggers and assist them in avoiding them.
5. SUGGEST SOBER ACTIVITIES
Addicts need to find new hobbies and activities to help them recover. Addicts often feel guilty about restricting the choices of their partner or spouse. It is a great way to help them recover. This will help them feel more like a friend and a partner in a supportive, loving relationship.
6. TRY COUPLES THERAPY
Couples are not perfect. Add addiction recovery to the mix, and your relationship can be put under significant strain. Couples therapy can prove to be extremely beneficial for even the most healthy relationships. It is possible to support your partner through addiction recovery by finding ways to strengthen your relationship. Therapy may be the right thing to help you get there.
It won’t be easy. It can sometimes be difficult to support someone in recovery, especially during the initial stages. An addict going through withdrawal is more likely to have mood swings than an addict who is in recovery. They may also be more likely to lash out at their loved ones. These outbursts may not reflect the true feelings of the addict. Focus on the positive. Be sure to express your feelings when someone crosses a line.
7. TRY TO KEEP A SOBER SHARED SPACE
It doesn’t matter if your partner is sober. Drinking or using other substances can make it difficult for your partner to resist temptation and leave them feeling unsupported. Keep your space sober-friendly, especially in the initial stages. Research shows that addicts in their early stages of recovery are more likely to succeed if they live in a sober-friendly environment.
8. DO NOT FORGET TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
It can be easy to lose sight of your own needs when you are so focused on your partner’s healing. If you don’t feel well, it will be difficult to support your partner in their recovery. It is OK to be angry with your partner and share your feelings. Talking to someone about your feelings can be very beneficial. You might consider talking to a therapist or joining a support group for sober partners.
9. EVALUATE THEIR PROGRESS
Recovery can be a difficult process and often comes with feelings of shame or depression. It is brave to make the decision to go through recovery. To stay committed takes a lot of effort. Recovery is only possible when you have strong self-esteem. Although it may seem simple, letting your partner know you are proud of them and how much they appreciate their efforts can make a big difference.
You can’t expect to be able to go back to normal life in an instant. It takes time to recover, and keeping your patience is the best thing you can do. Relapses are not an indication that your partner has failed. You will have ups and downs, but if you put in the effort and get through the early phases, you can have a normal, happy relationship with your sober partner.
HOW TO SUPPORT A SOBER PARTNER?
It’s a fact that can’t be ignored. It is not easy to support a loved one during recovery, especially in the beginning stages. It can be difficult to know how to support your sober partner in recovery, especially if they are the one who usually depends on them for emotional support. Every relationship goes through many ups and downs, but an addiction recovery rehab can make the ups insignificant and worsen the downs. Sometimes it is easy to feel that your needs are secondary to your partner in addiction recovery.
Alcohol addiction is not the sole focus of your relationship.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can maintain a healthy relationship by using strategies such as the ones mentioned above and communicating clearly about your expectations and feelings. Drug addiction does not have to be your only focus. Your best support for your partner’s recovery is to maintain a healthy relationship.
There are resources available for you and your loved ones who are struggling with addiction. Gratitude Lodge, located in Long Beach and Orange County, California, accepts people from all parts of the world. Our well-known treatment program helps not only addicts but also their families and partners. Call 800-994-2184 to learn more about our Rehab Addiction Treatment Programs.