We cannot underestimate the strain your relationship will endure when your partner is addicted to drugs or alcohol. This relationship will endure tests of trust, comfort, and intimacy that you never thought you’d be able to overcome.
But in truth, it is possible to overcome addiction and rebuild trust during and after recovery. It’s a long journey to the end, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Understanding Your Partner’s Recovery
Once your partner makes the decision to enter rehab, it’s natural to feel some sense of relief. But brace yourself because, for many couples, this is the eye of the storm.
During the first few days, you’ll probably have limited contact with your partner as he or she endures the inevitable physical detox. But after that detox period, you’ll be able to contact your partner more freely.
Here are some tips to keep in touch so that you can encourage your partner during rehab.
- Participate in any visitation events
- Remain positive during all conversations
- Give your partner space to heal on their own (i.e., don’t try to control the process)
- Learn everything you can about addiction
- Participate in couple’s counseling
How to Encourage Your Partner After Treatment
When your partner returns home from their time in a rehab facility, it’s time to start the at-home recovery process. This is the part that many couples struggle with because we all find it easy to fall into old patterns in familiar territory.
This is why it’s crucial to lay some groundwork for your fresh start. Set clear objectives and boundaries, and be sure to check in with each other at the end of each day. You’re going to have days that are amazing and days where you both say and do things you regret. This process is very real, and it’s never perfect. Have patience with yourself and with each other.
Remember that the addiction and resulting relationship issues didn’t happen overnight, and they’re not going to be solved that quickly either.
Here are some tips to help you encourage your partner during the at-home stage of their recovery:
Continue going to couples therapy
This will make a huge difference for you both as you identify your strengths and weaknesses. And you’ll also discover things about each other you may not have known otherwise. Ultimately, in these sessions, you’ll learn to communicate in a safe and productive way. In the end, you may feel closer to your partner than ever before.
Help your partner identify and avoid triggers
Many recovering alcoholics are triggered by social events where alcohol is served in the months (and sometimes years) post-rehab. Talk to your partner about the things that trigger them and help them avoid the triggering situation. You want to prevent relapse at all costs.
Create a fun sober life together
Sit with your partner and talk about things you can do to have fun that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol. Maybe you can join a sports league or start going to the movies every week. Try to find things you both enjoy so they may help bring you closer together.
Start cooking together
When you focus on health and begin cooking together, not only will you get closer as a couple, but you’ll also get healthier. Addiction can deplete the body of essential nutrients, and that can have an impact on a person’s overall health. And research has shown that there’s a strong link between gut health and mood. Fortunately, eating right and taking probiotics are great for keeping our gut healthy.
Focus on getting the right vitamins
In addition to maintaining a healthy gut, you’ll want to make sure you’re maintaining proper vitamin intake. While in recovery, sometimes your body misses out on key C and B vitamins, as well as vitamin D and E. As a result of missing these vitamins, you could feel depressed, anxious or even irritable, which can cause strains on your relationship. You and your partner should make it a habit you’re both keeping up with your vitamin intake.
Take it one step at a time
Understand that this is more of a way of life than a temporary situation. You and your partner have to relearn how to communicate, have fun together, and love each other. If you want the greatest chance for success, try thinking of this as a new beginning or a fresh start instead of a hurdle.
One step at a time, you can build something beautiful.