Integrating Your Spouse Into Your Recovery From Addiction
If you're trying to overcome an addiction, involving your spouse or partner in the process can help you find the balance and support that is critical to your success.
It’s easy to feel alone when you’re struggling with addiction, even if you’re surrounded by loved ones. This sense of loneliness is a common influence on addiction, but either way, one thing is certain—support and accountability are two things that can make the road to recovery easier to travel.
If you’re trying to overcome an addiction, involving your spouse or partner in the process can help you find the balance and support that is critical to your success. The Cleveland Clinic says that “family involvement is a critical component of chemical dependency treatment to help families heal along with their loved one.”
Remember: Addiction Affects Your Family
Addiction is not only physically and mentally dangerous, but it can also tear apart the social aspects of your life. Many marriages are devastated by addiction, but it extends beyond that. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence states that “alcoholism and drug addiction affects the whole family…One family member addicted to alcohol and drugs means the whole family suffers.”
Unfortunately, this impact can directly affect your spouse. After all, you might share your finances and day-to-day responsibilities with them. As your addiction continues to negatively impact your relationship, your spouse will feel increased levels of stress and pressure as they’re forced to compensate for the imbalance. This can cause resentment and feelings of guilt as they struggle with harboring negative feelings towards you.
Your spouse will often feel powerless as they watch you descend deeper into your addiction. They might become increasingly frustrated and overwhelmed. They may even be afraid they will anger you and cause a fight by discussing your addiction.
Beginning a dialogue about your addiction and asking your spouse for help is the first step towards involving them in your treatment and care. It can also start the process of alleviating these concerns and healing as individuals and as a couple.
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Finding The Right Words To Talk About Your Addiction
If your spouse is aware of your addiction, they might be overwhelmed and struggling with the severity of the situation and how to approach it. They might be fearful of additional problems or the tension it might create within the relationship.
By talking to them about your addiction, you alleviate this worry and stop this miscommunication before it can cause your relationship to become more unhealthy. It helps prevent isolation, dishonesty, or mistrust. So talk to them in an open and honest way.
You have to realize that this will be very hard for them to hear. They may or may not react in the way that you’ve hoped. They may react in anger, fear, resentment, or disbelief. As much as you need room to recover from this situation, so do they, and it begins here.
A therapist can aid you in finding the best way to speak to your partner about addiction. They can help moderate and temper the onslaught of emotions that might flare up between you two by helping you find ways to communicate more openly. Most importantly they can assist you in the process of deciding where to go next, within your recovery and your marriage.
The Benefit Of Therapy
Integrating a counselor or a therapist into the recovery process is healthy and helpful. Therapy is one of the most important elements of recovery, as it allows you a healthy space to consider the ramifications of your addiction and provides you with a means by which to adapt to the changes necessary to overcome it.
Individual or group counseling should be a part of your individual recovery and couples therapy can help you balance the demands that your addiction and recovery make on your marriage. Therapy will teach you the skills that can aid you in coping with stressful situations within your life that might trigger your substance use. It can also help you to deal with unresolved issues that may be exacerbating your substance abuse.
It is important to remember overcoming your addiction may not be enough to solve all your problems. Although many of them may derive from the stress of your addiction, some are separate and more complex. It is for this reason that couples counseling might be especially useful. This therapeutic environment can help you learn to deal with these problems.
In fact, some of your potential triggers may stem from issues within your marriage. Often in marriages, there is some level of co-dependency and a therapist can help you break the dependency cycle. They will direct you to the best ways to bring about positive changes and healthier behaviors. If you learn to resolve issues within your marriage, it can make your recovery easier, help you to find forgiveness, remove certain triggers, and decrease your chances of relapse.
The Role Of A Spouse Within Treatment Programs
Consider entering a treatment program or facility and integrating your spouse into your recovery if you suffer from addiction. Depending on your needs and circumstances this may be either an inpatient or an outpatient rehabilitation program.
In either program format, your spouse can be involved. During outpatient treatment, you can return home during recovery. For this reason, it is important that you have established communication about your addiction and recovery goals. Your spouse can help you accountable during this process.
It is important to remember how well they know you and how their observations are a great asset. They might be able to witness your behavior and pick up on your potential triggers or even anticipate relapse and get you preemptive care.
If you will be entering into an inpatient treatment facility your spouse can still have an active role in your recovery. Many facilities encourage family involvement and allow your spouse to visit. Some even provide various educational programs or workshops for spouses or family members that educate them on your recovery.
This time away from your spouse can actually help both of you by strengthening your understanding of the situation and your relationship. Even well-meaning family members can enable you or put you in stressful situations that may trigger your substance abuse. This is a time for you to be away from this environment and learn how to contend with it.
Your spouse will also be provided with an opportunity to look at their life and their actions. This time can provide them with a perspective that can help them better assess their behaviors, motives, and emotions to break the cycle of enabling behaviors to assist you in succeeding in your recovery goals.
It is also important for your spouse to be in communication with your recovery team. The benefit of this communication goes two ways. First, it allows the team at the facility a different venue by which to learn about you, thus enabling them a chance to better adapt your care to your unique circumstances. Secondly, it allows the facility’s staff a chance to educate your spouse so that they will be better able to help you with your recovery goals.
What Happens After?
Recovery is an ongoing process that doesn’t stop when you leave treatment. Just as you need continued support through therapy or support programs such as AA, so might your partner. Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings can be a great resource for your partner. These sessions can provide them with the continued support and education that they need to get you through your recovery process.
During this time, it is important to continue communicating using the methods you were taught during your therapy and treatment. You should not walk this path alone. Allow them to help and support you and your recovery goals may be easier to obtain.
Let Us Help You Both
Addiction can be very hard to deal with alone and if you’d like support in learning how to help yourself find recovery and treatment options or how to best speak to a loved one about your addiction, please contact us today.