Supporting a partner as they travel the tough road through addiction and recovery is a challenge requiring patience, trust, love, and dedication. Your loved one is in a fragile emotional place after rehab. Cravings persist. Anxious and resentful feelings can build quickly. Unresolved anger simmers just below the surface.
You know you have to learn to trust again — but how? After all, burying the resentment of the past sounds easier than it is. The good news is that recovery is a journey and not a destination. Just as you don’t expect your loved one to feel perfectly healthy right after rehab, no one expects you to feel perfectly happy now that your partner is home.
There are ways to support your recovering partner without driving yourself crazy. Your loved one has worked hard to get sober, and your support plays a key role in their aftercare plan. Therapy and addiction counseling are essentials, but so is the daily support you give your loved one. If you’re helping a loved one through recovery or are considering addiction recovery for couples, here’s what you need to know.
Practical Tips for Helping a Loved One in Recovery
Getting rid of any alcohol or drugs in your home was the first step towards success. To continue supporting your partner in addiction recovery, you can also:
- Listen without judging. Unless you have been addicted to alcohol or drugs, it’s impossible for you to understand what it’s like for someone in recovery. Imagine having persistent cravings along with feelings of unrelenting anxiety or depression, shame, guilt, and awkwardness. Listen to your loved one share experiences without blame and without judgment.
- Expect to get mad. Just because listening is important in recovery doesn’t mean you should suppress your own feelings. How you share those feelings, and how you plan to resolve them, will make a difference in recovery.
- Let go of resentment. Resentment is like jealousy — it works in the opposite way you want it to. When you resent the past, you let it control your well-being. Acknowledge the past and move on as best you can.
- Bring back trust slowly. It’s true that many addicted individuals relapse — individuals who abuse opiates, for example, are most likely to relapse. Your loved one is working hard to reestablish trust, so give him or her the opportunities to do so. The more you can trust, the farther along you will be on the road to healing.
- Have realistic expectations. Don’t expect your lives to be exactly as they were before. You and your loved one have experienced a life-altering shift. Take it slowly, and don’t expect perfection.
When You Need Help
Addiction damages the strongest relationships. If you’re trying your best to support your loved one but you feel you could benefit from additional support, help is available. Partner support group meetings provide an opportunity to share your feelings openly, and without judgment. Marital counseling and addiction counseling are other options. Not only can you learn how to communicate effectively, but you can also better define the role you’ll play in your partner’s recovery, and they can learn how to support you as well.
For more information on helping a partner recover from substance abuse, contact Clarity Way today.