How to Keep a Marriage Healthy
During Addiction Treatment
While there will certainly be hard work involved, the notion of having a truly healthy marital union while one spouse is recovering from an addiction problem is indeed realistic. If your life partner is in the midst of a rehabilitation program or recently finished one, the following paragraphs can help you clear some of the main hurdles of living successfully with someone in recovery from a serious addiction.
Family therapy sessions from Couples Rehabs can be extremely valuable. In this type of therapy, you will work as a couple with a counselor to examine key issues related to communication strategies, roles within the family unit, and other concerns so that you will provide the support each party to the relationship truly needs. This is also a great time to ask any questions you may have and seek professional input on specific scenarios that unfold within the household.
Individual therapy also has its place in this process. It may be beneficial for each of the partners to attend therapy sessions independently so that they have a place to vent about frustrations and disappointments they may experience along the way. Life with someone recovering from addiction can be difficult, and this can also be an ideal venue in which to tackle issues of codependency.
Gaining additional education is a great next step. By becoming more knowledgeable about the addicted spouse's issues, the stronger the union will ultimately be. Learning about the scientific foundations of addiction, its impact on cognitive processes, and how treatment works will lead to more realistic expectations throughout the recovery process.
Ensure that your environment is substance-free. In order to give your partner the support necessary to conquer addiction once and for all, it may be that your family will need to adjust your lifestyle in some key ways. Any addictive substances should be eliminated from the home so that there is a feeling of safety, support, and accountability at all times. If you are accustomed to spending time as a couple in places where drinking and drug use is common, you need to make a change and stay away from such locations going forward. It is far more productive to come up with suggestions for activities that are far removed from that way of life, such as things that engage the mind or the body, such as taking in some exercise or attending a cultural event.
Understand that relapses may happen. Recovering addicts are trained to have relapse prevention methods at the ready, but spouses really need to do the same. When a relapse occurs, it is critical that both partners be prepared to respond in a healthy and beneficial way. Therapists and support group members can help with the formulation of such a plan.
Self-care must be a priority. If you made sure to take care of yourself while your spouse pursued rehabilitation treatment, be sure to continue that habit once he or she has returned home. Focus on getting appropriate amounts of sleep, following a sound diet, exercising regularly, and taking part in hobbies you love. If you maintain a strong committment to wellness, your spouse will be encouraged to do the same.
Seek support when needed. Always remember that you are not alone on this journey, and there is support for you in the community. Groups specifically designed to serve spouses of those in recovery can be a tremendous resource for information, communication, and sharing of experiences with those in similar situations.
Remember, patience is a virtue. Recovery from addiction is a long-term process, and things will likely not happen overnight. Commit to the process and remain patient as you and the person you love do what is necessary to make a full-scale lifestyle change.