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supporting a spouse in recovery

Tips for Supporting a Spouse in Recovery

Watching someone you love struggle with addiction can be equal parts heartbreaking and frustrating – especially when that person is your spouse. They may have promised you they’ll quit drinking or using, only to backslide in the weeks and months that follow, trapping you in the cycle of abuse alongside them. Medical detox and subsequent inpatient treatment can get your spouse’s life back on the right track, but addiction recovery is a lifelong process.

You want to do everything in your power to ensure your partner stays healthy and realizes their full potential in life, but some days, that may be easier than others. Here are some tips you can use to stay supportive and assist your loved one with their recovery.

Understand Their New Priorities

In the earliest phases of recovery, your partner must put their sobriety ahead of everything else in their life. Some spouses can feel disconnected from this part of their significant other’s life. If you start to feel jealous or left out, remind yourself that you want what’s right for your partner, and they are using the tools they acquired in treatment and therapy to the best of their ability.

Your spouse might want to keep the details of what happens in their recovery meetings to themselves, or they could initially be reluctant to introduce their sponsor or new friends to you. If this is the case, don’t take it personally. They’ll open up and include you in this part of their life when they’re ready. In the meantime, offer as much love, understanding and encouragement as you can.

Consider Therapy for Yourself

Substance abuse can take a tremendous toll on even the strongest marriages. As your partner prioritizes their recovery, you will also need to take care of yourself. In most households where an addiction has developed, some amount of dysfunction, enabling, codependency and unhealthy boundaries have allowed the addictive behavior to flourish.

By getting help for yourself, you can learn to rebuild your relationship with your spouse. Seeing a therapist – either individually, or as a couple – can help you learn to communicate and express yourself more constructively as you reset these aspects of your relationship.

Rebuild a Foundation of Trust

Be patient with your partner. Addiction is a chronic illness, and even after leaving a qualified treatment program, your spouse will not be cured. Indeed, the real work of recovery will only be beginning.

While your partner was in active addiction, the deceit, denial and recklessness they engaged in likely eroded the trust you once had. You won’t be able to heal those wounds overnight. Start slowly by spending time doing sober activities together. Consider attending family therapy. Educate yourself on the disease of addiction and how it changes brain chemistry. An understanding of what brought your spouse to this point can help you both move on to a happier future.

You Can Play an Integral Role in Your Spouse’s Recovery

Nobody ever said the process of healing from a drug or alcohol addiction was an easy one, but the rewards of having a healthy relationship with a sober spouse are worth all the ups and downs of recovery. Prepare yourself for any pitfalls your partner might encounter along the way, and offer your unconditional love and support. It will take some time, but it’s well worth it to see the person you love regain their well-being and happiness.

If you’re searching for a treatment center that will meet all your spouse’s recovery needs, reach out to us at Vista Taos. We offer comprehensive healing options for men and women in the spiritual healing center of Taos, New Mexico.

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