Taking Care Of Your Marriage During Addiction Recovery
Addiction takes a toll on marriages. The addicted partner and the other suffer the consequences. It’s a very challenging time for marriages and such couples are four times more likely to divorce. Also, sad but true, most of the divorce happens when the addicted partner is in recovery.
There are challenges throughout the addiction recovery process. First, there is the feeling of helplessness when a partner is actively abusing drugs. And second, there is a unique mixture of hope and anger when the partner enters a drug rehabilitation program.
It’s not easy for families to pull through, that is why a good rehabilitation program actively involves both the addicted partner and the spouse.
It’s not going to be easy. In some cases, the addiction may have caused problems too severe to fix.
Here Are A Few Things You Can Do To Help Both Of You Pull Through
Fighting the disease of addiction involves an ‘all-hands-on-deck ‘approach. That’s why the best rehab sessions include family therapy sessions, educational workshops, family visits, and both spouses are encouraged to learn new skills and practice the skills before the addicted partner returns home.
If there is a local resource in the area such as Al-Anon meetings or therapy, the drug rehab will recommend it as well.
The reason this is important is that addiction creates a dysfunction in most families. During the time, a partner may have alternated from trying to show love and getting the partner to heal to just wanting some peace.
Sometimes, the other partner may have developed some unhealthy role such as being an enabler or co-dependent of the addict without intending to or realizing it.
Family therapy will try to determine if that is the case and help you unlearn such roles.
Supporting A Spouse In Recovery
The first year of recovery is often very difficult because the addicted partner has to focus fully on him/herself in order to stay sober. It’s important that you realize that recovery from addiction takes great mental strength and effort.
The addicted partner is encouraged to ask the other partner for patience so he/she does not feel neglected because the recovering addict will be self-involved during the time.
Understanding this will help make their journey easier. The addicted partner will have to build his/her life back one piece at a time, and it will take a while to develop self-esteem.
A study at the University of Buffalo showed that men are more likely to relapse if they feel their partner is critical of them.
Recreate Your Marriage
Things will not be as it used to be. Depending on how much the effects of addiction has hit your family, it will take some time to rebuild trust, love, intimacy and respect. In a lot of cases, it’s impossible to forget the hurt and the hunger.
You have to realize that your marriage is unlikely to be as it used to be before the addiction. It may be difficult to take especially if the pre-addiction days were blissful. It’s normal to only remember the blissful times before the addiction with nostalgia, but like every other marriage, it’s likely you and your spouse had problems and challenges even before the addiction.
It’s important to let go of that time and start afresh. Both of you have to find a plan that works. It’s also a time to reflect on what didn’t work in your marriage previously and what you would like to fix going forward.
Both of you have to work it out and the family therapy session is a good time to find the right plan and start working on it.
Recovery from addiction takes a toll on both partners. Both couples have to take responsibility, the addicted spouse more so. But the other partner also has to help, support, and acknowledge the effort of the addicted partner.
The pain, hurt, and anger won’t go away easily. But there are a lot of couples who have been able to cross over to the other side successfully and are enjoying a happy and functional marriage.