Partners of Recovering Addicts
Addiction is a problem that can have devastating consequences on the person who is abusing substances. However, a person’s problem with addiction doesn’t just affect them alone but also everyone around them. People in the addict’s lives must learn how to deal with their addiction and eventually with their recovery, especially spouses and romantic partners.
As the partner of a recovering addict you may have experienced immense stress and pressure throughout the person’s struggle with addiction. There may have been many instances where they betrayed your trust, lied or engaged in other behavior that put a strain on your relationship. There may be some residual anger or bitterness about things that have happened in the past but it is important to do all you can to support their recovery and work through these issues together.
It is understandable to have certain frustrations about your partner’s behavior and feel sad about what they have put you through. There is no need to deny these feelings or hide them but instead acknowledge them and try to move forward for the sake of helping them through recovery. The fact that they chose to get help is a good indication that they want your relationship to work and they want to make positive changes.
The important thing to remember throughout your partner’s recovery is that you will need to support them and also get some type of support system for yourself. You can only be there for them if you are able to cope with the many challenges that face you as their partner.
Support and Help for Partners of Addicts
There are many ways to get the support you need to repair your relationship while also providing the assistance that your spouse need to complete their recovery. If your partner is attending an inpatient or outpatient treatment program they may offer family therapy or even couples therapy to help educate family members about addiction and facilitate positive communication. Taking part in these kinds of therapy sessions can help you work through some of the issues in your relationship and overall start to ease some of your stress about the situation.
If your partner does not have family therapy available or if you would simply prefer your own personal therapist, then individual sessions can also be a great type of support. It is important to practice self-care and cope with your own feelings about the situation so that you can be prepared for any challenges that come up. Learning your own coping strategies can help you avoid becoming overwhelmed by stress and worry.
In addition to therapy you can also benefit greatly from support groups that are specifically for partners or people who have loved ones with addictions. These types of group meetings can give you a chance to talk to other people that are struggling with many of the same issues that you are dealing with in your marriage. You can meet other people in the group who can provide you with meaningful advice and guidance whenever you are having problems in your relationships.
Being There for Your Spouse or Partner
When you have your own support system in place to help you cope with your partner’s addiction you will be better equipped to be there for them. There are times when you will need to be especially compassionate and forgiving for your spouse as they go through this difficult time. They might make mistakes or be dealing with some underlying problems that affect their mood and behavior.
The best way to provide support is to keep communication open and stay connected as often as possible. The addict will be learning how to improve their communication in their recovery program and talking with you can help them learn to work through their issues. Both of you can practice better communication skills and work on managing your feelings by talking openly with each other.
One thing to keep in mind throughout your partner’s journey in recovery is that they are going to make a lot of changes you will need to give them freedom to learn how to live sober. They might need more time to attend group meetings, explore new hobbies or find other ways to adjust to their new lifestyle. The dynamics of your relationship might change but ultimately they will become a more stable and well-adjusted person over time.
No matter what issues come up in your relationship, do your best to be forgiving and avoid blame. Try to understand that many of your partner’s problems are due to their addiction and not their own personal faults. Over time, adjusting to sobriety will become easier for both of you and your relationship will be better in the long run.
If your partner is going through recovery and you need support, contact a therapist in your area or a support group for partners of addicts.