Addiction is often thought of as a community disease, because it affects not just the person using, but the whole community from the damage the addict is doing to themselves and everyone around them. It makes sense then that the addict’s family is the first line of defence when it comes to support and recovery.
While seeing a loved one get help might give a feeling of relief, there is other support that you are able to provide. You can, and will, be a very important part of their recovery. In this blogpost we’ll talk how to support a spouse in recovery.
Now, it is important to read the above topic very clearly. It reads, “Getting Support.” That is not an error. You need support too while your partner is getting clean and sober. You have needs too, and they deserve the same attention. In order to best support a spouse in recovery, you must be healthy as well, and that means finding your own sources of support.
Getting support can take on many forms, but it is vital to have others in your life that can provide what you need so that you can become healthy as well. Likely your spouse’s drug or alcohol abuse has caused a great many changes in you and the whole family. This is normal. It can be difficult to adjust to this new, healthy normal, so you will need to look at what you are doing, thinking and feeling as well. Support means taking a good long look at yourself, maybe with the help of a trained therapist, to see what you are doing that is healthy and unhealthy, then do more of the former.
Support can also look like a support group or 12-step group focused on the friends and family of drug and alcohol users. This involves more work with a group and honesty in front of people you may or may not know. It provides a great opportunity, however, to hear other’s stories and feel validated in what you are going through, thinking and feeling. This also gives you insight into what other people, who have been in your situation, have done and what has worked for them. Problem solving can be a really useful aspect of recovery and living a healthy lifestyle, and support groups can provide that.
You probably have learned a lot about the world already, and you definitely know a lot about your spouse in the time you have been together. What you need to learn about is the disease of addiction and what the recovery process is like. This way you can be more helpful and fully support your spouse in recovery from drugs or alcohol.
Learning can take many forms, but it is vital to know about the disease of addiction, how it functions, recovery and relapse warning signs and triggers. This is basic information in the field of addiction and will likely be a part of your family therapy and informational sessions at a treatment center. Learn about the biology of addiction, what your spouse’s mind, body and spirit went through when using, what they are going through with the detox process, and what will happen to them in recovery.
Education also means looking at yourself honestly and objectively, and seeing the ways you contributed to the situation, or enabled certain unhealthy behavior. Your spouse’s drug or alcohol use is not your fault; that is completely their responsibility. However, you, either consciously or not, did things that may have made using easier or more likely. For example, by calling in to work sick for them when they were in truth too high to function. Education means learning about that and discovering new ways of handling the situations that may arise.
Rebuilding Takes Time
Rebuilding a relationship is what you will be doing when your spouse is in recovery. They have likely been using for some time before they enter rehab, and you have not had a partner for a while in a relationship. You are both going to need to relearn how to be a couple and repair or rebuild your relationship. This can and will happen but manage your expectations; it will not be an overnight occurrence. There may be some struggles that you and your partner can overcome, and this is normal. You both can rebuild your relationship together.
This will be addressed in treatment, RosGlas as a luxury addiction therapy retreat will work with you to help repair and rebuild your relationship. We will also work with you in family treatment too, so that the whole family can begin to heal after the damage done to it by addiction.
At RosGlas, we work to treat each person as an individual when they come in for addiction counselling. We also understand that we need to help support and treat the spouse and family of the addict as well. The effects of addiction are very real, and we will work with you and support you while you all go through the recovery process together.