The hard truth is relationships suffer greatly when a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol. There’s a probability for a breakup or divorce even after a partner goes through rehab. It is typical for the partner or spouse in recovery to change first. This can leave the other at odds with what to do with themselves and how to approach the newly recovered person who walks through the door.
The good news is that the one in recovery isn’t stumbling around the house any more. The difficult aspect to deal with is they have changed. It’s important to recognize with this change comes a distinction—you and he, or she, may still be a couple, but you are now two separate individuals with different goals.
Essentially, one of you has been fired from your job as caretaker. Your sober partner is totally focussed on his or her recovery. You might feel left out and left behind. Make some time to sit down together and discuss the feelings which accompany the changes in both of you. Sobriety can bring about important behavioral changes and with this can come a willingness to listen. Just as an suffering from substance abuse have changed through the help of a rehab, the other person in the relationship, must be willing to look at their behaviors and make changes, too. Doing so will give the relationship a much better chance to survive.
Much time for both of you may be spent in therapy, fellowship meetings like AA, Al Anon, and Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA). Though these are crucial to your own individual recovery, make a concerted effort to plan an activity together sometime during the week or weekend. Staying connected can add buoyancy to your relationship. It is important to give each other adequate space to breathe and work out growing pains.
You’ve both lost valuable time—the one who got caught in the claws of addiction and the one who you put their life on hold trying to take care of the other. It’s time to regain both of your footings and start enjoying life again. Each of you will benefit from finding an avocation or a hobby that you separately enjoy. This can help refresh the relationship with new interests and topics of conversation to share. Both of you are individually responsible for finding enjoyment in life again. Focus also on finding peace and joy in each new day together.
“We can improve our relationships with others by leaps and bounds if we become encouragers instead of critics.”—Joyce Meyer
You are not alone in your recovery. Infinity Malibu’s has licensed therapists work with all the family members during our family program to assess both individual needs and disruptions in the family dynamics that need to be addressed. Find out more by calling today 888-266-9048