Loving someone with a drug or alcohol addiction can be a challenge, especially if that person is your life partner. A relationship that started as mutually supportive and caring has devolved into a source of stress, tension, hostility and emotional upheaval. It will lift a tremendous burden off your shoulders when your spouse agrees to enter rehab. However, that decision may leave you with a new set of challenges and unfamiliar ground to navigate. What role can you play during and after your spouse is in treatment? Here’s some advice.
1. You Aren’t in This Alone
While you may be your spouse’s biggest advocate, you cannot help them heal their addiction on your own. Substance abuse disorder is a complex and multifaceted illness, and your best course of action – especially in the earliest stages of recovery – is to listen to the advice of your spouse’s treatment team. As mental health professionals, they understand how to create a tailored plan for an addict’s diagnosis, and they’ll do everything they can to help your partner achieve recovery.
2. Participate in Family Therapy
If you and your spouse have chosen a treatment center that offers family programming, taking advantage of that can be tremendously beneficial for you. Remember, your partner is not the only one who has suffered because of addiction. Their disease has affected you mentally and physically, too. Being aware of this and actively working on your well-being can help equip you to be the best caregiver for your spouse and other family members who rely on you, such as children, older parents and pets.
3. Don’t Overlook Your Need for Self-Care
Depending on how long your spouse abused substances, it might have taken you many years to convince them to enter an inpatient addiction facility. The constant stress of that situation has likely taken its toll on your health in the form of symptoms such as high blood pressure, trouble sleeping and lack of appetite.
Once your spouse is in treatment, focus on your health. Take time for exercise and nutritious meal prep. Perhaps you’d benefit from a massage to soothe tense muscles. Whatever you feel you need, there is nothing selfish about pursuing it.
4. Change Your Lifestyle
Though you won’t see your partner daily while they are pursuing treatment, time apart may strengthen the bond you share. You can’t go through rehab with them, but you can do the next best thing by committing to helping support their recovery when you welcome them home.
Make sure to remove all intoxicating substances from your house to help them avoid temptation. If you or someone else in your household takes prescriptions such as Xanax or Adderall under a doctor’s supervision, be sure to keep those addictive medications locked away somewhere safe, where your spouse won’t be able to access them upon their return home.
You’ll also need to prepare yourself mentally for the idea that addiction is a chronic disease that requires lifelong management. Be patient; recovery does not happen overnight.
Press the Reset Button on Your Relationship
When you are looking for help for someone you love, contact us at New Found Life. We accept many major insurance plans, and our admissions counselors are here to accept your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.