09 Feb Supporting Romantic Partners Through Addiction Recovery
Watching a spouse struggle with substance misuse is a situation no one wants to be put in, but this is the unpleasant reality for many married adults. Fortunately, help is available for those who seek it, but it’s difficult to know how spouses and families can support a partner through the addiction recovery process.
Supporting Without Enabling
The most important thing for the spouse to remember is that there’s a fine line between supporting their spouse and enabling them. Enabling behaviors include neglecting one’s self to make sure the patient doesn’t get into trouble, making excuses for them when they are engaging in dangerous behavior, paying their bills when they don’t have money due to alcohol or drug use, and covering up for them when they’ve taken a bad turn. In these cases, it’s important to remember that the patient has to make their own decisions and covering for them will not ultimately help them recover.
The Importance of Self-Care
The supporting partner must first take care of himself, and this includes eating healthy, getting plenty of exercise, and setting boundaries to avoid letting the other person’s behavior consume him. Mental health should be prioritized here, so setting aside time for stress management activities, like journaling, meditation, or yoga, is vitally important. If needed, seeking help from outside professionals, which could include anything from a housekeeper to a therapist, can make life easier during this difficult time.
Offering Support to the Patient
After prioritizing self-care, the supporting spouse can directly ask the spouse in the addiction recovery program how he can best be there for support. The patient can communicate his or her needs directly, and the supporting spouse should also communicate hopes and expectations for the recovery process. Spouses should also expect changes, especially during the first year of recovery, as their partner will need to focus on him or herself to make positive lifestyle changes. Supporting partners should seek education on their spouse’s recovery process and risk factors for relapse, and both spouses should work together to come up with a relapse prevention plan. There should always be praise given for progress, but it’s just as important to prepare mentally for setbacks, as addiction is a disease that frequently still rears its ugly head long after the patient has completed the formal addiction recovery program.
If your spouse is suffering from substance misuse issues, contact AdCare at 800-252-6465 to learn if our flexible addiction recovery programs will be the right solution for your family. Learn more about our admissions process.