If your romantic partner or significant other is a recovering addict, it is important to remember that addiction recovery is a lifelong journey. While a person’s treatment may start at a rehab facility, the process of recovery will last a person’s lifetime. Being in a relationship with someone in recovery can be emotionally straining. Like any relationship, it’s important to communicate the best way to support one another. You will want to discuss what types of support you are able to give and what types of support your partner is looking for.
Being involved with a recovering addict can demand a lot of your emotional energy. It is important to check in with yourself frequently and make sure you aren’t taking on more than you can handle. If your mental health becomes severely damaged by the relationship, it will be impossible for you to help your partner. You may have to find other support symptoms that they can lean on in their time of need. You don’t want to be your partner’s sole support system.
Understanding your partner’s addiction is important in order for you to provide the right support they need. You will want to research the specific substance abuse problem that your partner is suffering from and learn about how the substance might negatively affect their physical and emotional health. You will also want to know what signs may hint that the person might be using again. Researching support groups and available professional resources may be helpful to you and your loved one during tougher times. The more you understand about your loved one’s substance abuse disorder, the easier it will be for you to provide them with the appropriate support that they need.
Part of educating yourself will include discussing your partner’s relationship with alcohol and/or drugs and what their triggers are. Recovery is not one uniform solution for every person suffering from substance abuse. Everyone will take a slightly different path on a journey towards recovery. Educating yourself on your partner’s history with substance abuse as well as their triggers will allow you to provide the best support for them.
Being a part of your partner’s support system is vital. You’ll want to discuss with your partner how you can best be supportive of their needs. Showing your support for your loved one may include attending family or couples therapy, avoiding places or events that may tempt or trigger them, and encouraging them to continue with their current support groups and therapies.
Loving a recovering addict means being understanding of their past. People with substance abuse disorder may have a rough history. It is possible that your partner may have a criminal record or struggle to find work. Be careful to keep an open mind and understand that a person’s past is only a small part of who they are. While being supportive, encouraging, and understanding of your loved one’s substance use disorder is important, it is not your job to change or fix your partner. You can only help them as much as they want to be helped.
Don’t Overspend Your Emotional Energy
Being with someone who is suffering from substance use disorder can be overwhelming. Supporting your partner is important, but not at the expense of your own mental health. It’s important that you know your own limits. If your partner is asking for support that you are not mentally or physically able to provide, it’s important to communicate this to them. If you want to further offer your help you can suggest facilities or support groups that are dedicated to giving people struggling with substance abuse the proper support they need.
In Case of Relapse
Unfortunately, relapse is very common for people suffering from substance use disorder. However, if this happens, this doesn’t mean that your partner has lost their way in sobriety. Setbacks are bound to happen. The earlier a relapse is caught, the easier it will be for that person to return to treatment and recommit to sobriety and recovery.
Relapse is often caused by stressful situations or triggers. Relapse does not mean that treatment has failed, but may mean that your loved one hasn’t kept up with their treatment plan or that the treatment plan needs to be adjusted. If relapse occurs, you should make sure that your partner sees a doctor right away. It is possible that they may have to go back to rehab and establish a new treatment plan for their changing needs.
If your loved one is suffering from substance abuse disorder, it’s important that you educate yourself about their addiction, that you offer support and encouragement to continue treatment, and that you are emotionally prepared for worst-case scenarios, including possible relapse. While you may want to do everything you can to help your partner, you must consider your own mental health and what you are physically and mentally capable of offering your loved one in terms of support. It’s okay to take time for yourself if you are feeling overwhelmed. You don’t have to do it alone.
Shoreline Recovery Center can help you with all your questions and concerns about substance use disorder and treatment. We offer an aftercare program that can help prevent relapse by providing resources that may help your partner better cope with triggers and cravings. Shoreline Recovery offers a wide variety of both inpatient and outpatient programs that are tailored to each person’s specific needs. If you would like to learn more about the programs that we offer, please call (866) 278-8495.