How To Support A Spouse In Recovery

Addiction can take hold of anyone, regardless of genetics, personality or socio-economic status. If this disease happens to befall your spouse, it is important to understand how best to confront it, while maintaining support to both the addict and family at large. Once your spouse has committed to the rehabilitation process, you can work with them to ensure a safe and successful long-term recovery.

Steps To Take To Support A Spouse In Recovery

  • Educate yourself about the addiction at hand – Understand the effects and control it has on the individual. Compare your partner’s specific symptoms to the information you find to gain a foothold on the journey ahead. Discuss your partner’s addiction in an open and honest way, and ask him/her where they began using and what types of feelings they were experiencing at the time.
  • Speak to an addiction counselor regarding your partner’s condition and request information on the specific addiction at hand – Allow the counselor to consider the various treatment models to determine which one will suit your spouse’s needs. Ask for tips on how to help and support your partner during recovery alongside a list of symptoms to expect throughout the process. If your partner is unwilling to accept professional treatment, inform them that you require specialized assistance to better understand the addiction. Explain just how crucial outside help is to the recovery process.
  • Set boundaries based on your individual needs and comfort levels – Determine which behaviors you are willing to accept from your partner during recovery and state your boundaries accordingly. For example, you may decide to outlaw alcohol or drug use from the home.
  • Practice keeping your emotions detached during the recovery process – Outline a clear message pertaining to the addiction without allowing your emotions to get the best of you. Utilize this distance as a means of providing support and love to your partner. The more clear-headed you are, the clearer your message will come across.
  • Set your final boundary – the point where you leave home. Be sure to communicate this clearly to your partner, and be sure you believe it. Establish your limits and determine an escape plan if they happen to be crossed. Discuss the situation with family and close friends, while alerting them that you may require help if push comes to shove. For instance, you may decide to offer your support during recovery but not allow physical violence to come against any family member throughout the process. Then create a plan of action for removing you and any children from the home if the situation happens to degrade to that point.

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