Family relationships can be a powerful support for someone working through addiction recovery. There is a concept known as The Social Connection Theory of Addiction, which suggests that strong relationships and human connection are key to helping someone overcome addictive behaviour. If your significant other is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, then it means that you are in a unique position to offer the connection needed to support the healing process.
The challenge is to overcome the low points that happen in your relationship with your loved one as a result of the addiction. Often, these behaviours can damage the relationship and leave a spouse feeling powerless to know how to handle the situation.
Supporting your partner in recovery means getting help yourself
If your partner is actively abusing drugs or alcohol, then it is time to find the right treatment program. Also, understand that you should be an active part of the recovery process to facilitate and encourage positive change.
Fixing the Messes vs. Being There for Support
Supporting someone in the addiction recovery process doesn’t mean that you need to fix all of the messes from their addictive behaviour. In fact, cleaning up these messes can cause problems if you are enabling the behaviour or building patterns of codependence.
Sometimes, being there for support means that you are willing to listen to the person’s concerns and withhold judgment and blame. At the same time, provide suggestions and advice to help the person tap into the professional counselling and resources that are needed for recovery. Offering a listening ear is often the best solution to support someone that you love. They are working to create a sober and clean life, and there are often aspects that need to be discussed and processed as the emotions come up along the way.
Encourage Healthy Habits While Supporting You Partner in Recovery
Addiction is often a family disease, which is why the entire family should be involved in the recovery process. Change the daily habits to support the healthy steps that will support your significant other, as well as the rest of the family members. Prepare healthy meals, have fun together, exercise regularly, and engage in uplifting hobbies and activities.
Be careful to manage a substance-free environment in your home. Remove anything that might trigger a relapse, such as the presence of alcohol or drug paraphernalia. You might consider living an alcohol-free lifestyle as well so that you don’t create temptation when your significant other sees you drinking or participating in behaviours that might trigger the addiction.
Your Relationship is Going to Change
Even though these changes are positive, it can feel uncomfortable to see your spouse meeting new friends or trying new hobbies and activities. Allow some freedom for the person to discover their unique preferences in their new sober life.
Also, remember that these changes can help with the shift of responsibilities to reduce stress at home. If the addiction was hindering the person’s ability to hold down a job, then it means that the roles can start to shift when your spouse steps back into a place of responsibility again. It might take some time for you to rebuild the trust so that you can put the responsibility back in their hands.
Be patient and remember that addiction recovery is a process. The addiction won’t go away overnight. Be prepared for setbacks and have a plan in place to know how to handle a relapse if it happens. You need to work on forgiveness and healing, knowing that good things are coming when you work together to improve your family.
Support for Yourself
While you are supporting your significant other, you also need to be proactive to support yourself. Giving support can be a challenge if you aren’t taking care of yourself. The best rehab programs include services and help for immediate family members, such as family visits, family therapy sessions, and educational workshops.
You can learn about the options and stay by the side of your loved one as they navigate the skills that are needed before returning home. Just because you’ve grown used to dysfunction as a result of the addiction, it doesn’t mean that those patterns need to continue. Finding the right rehab facilities is essential so that you have the support that is needed through every stage of recovery.