Being involved romantically with or married to someone who has become addicted to alcohol or drugs can leave you feeling confused about how best to help and support them. This guide will provide more information about handling a partner’s addiction and how to care for yourself as they begin their recovery journey.
You Know Your Partner
During your relationship or marriage, you’ve come to know your partner in terms of their behavior, habits, and tendencies. That being said, you will know when their behavior changes. However, it can still be difficult to confirm they have an addiction. Approaching them from a place of concern, where you express your confusion about their behavioral changes and ask how you can help, is the best way to open the doors of communication.
Once you know that your partner has a problem, it can be tempting to demand that they enter drug and alcohol rehab and/or make them admit they have a problem. Unfortunately, the reality of doing either of these things is that it can make it much more difficult for your partner to get the help they need.
They themselves need to be ready to recover from their addiction; forcing them to admit there’s a problem will only cause doubt about communicating with you in the future. As well, your loved one needs to enter recovery for the right reasons, which are because they want to and they’re ready to. A person who goes to rehab because you want them to will be far less likely to maintain their sobriety.
Putting Your Needs First
You love your partner very much and, because of this, you may feel like it’s up to you to fix everything for them. However, this is the last thing you should do. Choosing to allow your life to be all about your partner will only place enormous stress on you and delay your partner’s recovery.
Instead, this is the time to do the opposite and focus on your own life. The bottom line in a healthy relationship is that partners don’t depend on one another for their own happiness. Nor does a partner sacrifice their own well-being in order to take care of their spouse. Regardless of what your partner is going through, you still have a life to live and obligations and responsibilities to attend to.
If you are considering abandoning your responsibilities in favor of trying to help your spouse or feel as though they simply can’t make it without your involvement, this is a sign that it’s time to seek help for yourself.
Being with a partner who is addicted can bring many emotions to the surface. Getting help via a support group or individual therapy can help you refocus, express and process your emotions, and help you to be the strong and healthy partner your spouse needs.
Taking care of yourself can be as simple as taking a walk while you listen to your favorite music. Keeping yourself physically and mentally healthy by meditating, doing yoga, or engaging in other similar activities will help you reduce stress and its damaging effects on your health.
Ensure that you get plenty of rest, and remember to spend quality time with your friends and family. Having this kind of support system in place can help you to keep focusing on you and give you someone to lean on when times are difficult.
If You Have Children
Experiencing a spouse’s addiction and trying to keep a family together can seem an impossible task. However, it’s a necessary one. Your life and your children’s lives need to continue as normally as possible. This means anything from continuing to attend church with them to being present at their sports and other events.
Your spouse also needs to continue being present in the children’s lives. However, because they may be experiencing a range of emotions about their addiction, they may be reluctant to do so. It’s important to encourage them to attend church and school events with you and to participate in other activities, even if that means simply having dinner together as a family.
Finally, it’s never okay to put your spouse in a negative light in your children’s presence, regardless of their age. They need to feel positive about their parents, not stressed about them. You will also want to ensure that you and your spouse never fight in front of your children.
If your young child has questions about their parent’s addiction, simply state that they are sick and that they’re doing their best to get better. Children in their teenage years can benefit from getting support in a youth group for children of addicted parents.
Educate and Prepare Yourself
You can’t realistically stop your life to care for your spouse or force them into addiction recovery centers, but you can educate yourself about their addiction. In doing so, you will realize that your partner’s addiction is a medical illness, and you will have the knowledge you need to ensure your own and your family’s health.
Although your spouse may not yet have agreed to enter rehab, it’s never too early to start preparing yourself for this. Conduct some research into available treatment options and get answers about other details such as:
- Whether your spouse can receive treatment for co-occurring disorders as well as their addiction
- Whether a facility offers detoxification as well as rehabilitation
- What insurance plans a facility will accept
- Where to go for family and individual support programs
It’s also a good idea to meet treatment center staff and take a facility tour.
Supporting Your Spouse in Treatment
If your spouse has agreed to enter rehab, it’s important to know what to expect. First, your spouse may not be permitted to communicate with you initially. This is how many treatment facilities do things; the goal is to get your partner adjusted to this new situation. The best way to support them at this stage is to respect their space.
When the time comes that you are able to contact them, do so. A call, a visit, or even writing them a letter can make a world of difference to them. Whenever and however contact occurs, ensure that it’s always positive.
Supporting your spouse includes listening to those who are involved with their treatment. They will have many recommendations, all made with the goal of benefiting you and your partner. Attending family therapy and making adjustments at home are two common examples.
Rebuilding the Relationship
Resentment over your partner’s addiction may exist but, in order to rebuild trust in your relationship, you will need to let this go. A support group can help you to navigate this. Re-establishing trust will require time and consistency. During treatment, your partner will learn that being willing, open-minded, and honest are keys to their recovery. That being said, these principles will also need to be practiced at home.
Specialized Treatment for Addiction
Being in a relationship where a partner or spouse is addicted presents many challenges. When the time comes to enter recovery, you and your family may benefit from the services offered by BriteLife substance abuse treatment centers. We not only offer treatment at our residential recovery facility but also in your home. In addition, we accept patients on an inpatient and outpatient basis and also offer detox and partial hospitalization.
We know that sobriety requires a lifelong commitment; recovery doesn’t stop once a person leaves our treatment center. That’s why we offer extensive aftercare services. If your loved one is struggling with addiction and needs help, you can contact us for completely confidential assistance by calling today.