Watching someone that you love struggle with substance misuse can be very challenging, especially when this person is your partner. If your partner is in the process of recovery, they have already decided to take the first step towards getting treatment and overcoming their addiction. However, this does not mean that they won’t still need your support as they navigate recovery in the following months and even years down the road. In fact, your support will likely be crucial in protecting their sobriety. If the recovery journey is not something that you’ve ever experienced yourself, you may be wondering how you can help.
Changing your Perspective
Addiction can cause great strain within a relationship, even leading to broken trust and misplaced guilt. If your partner’s addiction has caused you pain, any feelings you have towards them are valid, whether anger, sadness, or resentment. This doesn’t mean that you can’t overcome these emotions and begin the healing process as time goes on. Investing in couple’s therapy can be very useful during this time because it can help both you and your partner to better express how you’re feeling towards one another and help you understand what steps each of you can take to begin rebuilding the relationship.
If you’ve never experienced addiction, it can be hard to put yourself into your partner’s shoes and consider what they’re going through. It is important to try to change your perspective and treat them with a sense of compassion rather than judgment. Remember that addiction is a disease and it is possible that your partner will stumble along the path to recovery. They may also have frequent mood swings, lash out or say things that they don’t mean. Instead of becoming angry or trying to guilt-trip them when these things happen, make it clear to them that you are there to support them no matter what they need. Make it clear to them that you recognize how hard they’ve been working to make this positive change in their lives and that you’re proud of how far they’ve come. You may also consider reminding them of the positive things that have occurred in their life thus far as a result of their decision to get sober.
Maintain a Sober Living Space
Especially in the case that you and your partner live together, it is imperative to maintain a stable, shared, sober living environment. This means making an effort to ensure that there is nothing within the home that could in any way trigger your partner or threaten their recovery. While it may seem like a given, it is very important, especially in the early stages of recovery, that you don’t engage in substance use in front of your partner. You’ll also want to ensure that there are no drugs or alcohol anywhere in your home that your partner could stumble across and feel tempted to use. It can help to have an honest conversation with your partner in which you ask them what you can do to make this living space more comfortable for them.
Suggest Sober Activities That You Can Do Together
There are countless amazing sober activities that you and your partner can do together that can actually help you bond and strengthen your relationship. Some ideas include:
- Take a road trip and explore someplace new
- Go hiking together and enjoy the mental and physical benefits of being immersed in the great outdoors
- Cook a meal together using a new recipe
- Sign up to take an exercise class together to prioritize your physical health
- Learn a new skill together such as how to play an instrument or practice a fine art
- Train for a marathon together
- Have a movie night at home with snacks
- Go ice skating together
- Visit a local museum
- Go see your favorite sports team play
- Take dancing lessons
- Have a picnic at the park
Remember to Take Care of Yourself
Having a partner who is in the beginning stages of recovery can be stressful and can certainly take a toll on your mental health. Thus, it is important that you are making sure to take care of yourself too during this time and not focus all of your energy on your partner. This can involve practicing self-care, speaking with a therapist or trusted friend, and letting out your feelings by journaling. Remember that if your partner stumbles along their recovery journey, it is not your fault, and you should not blame yourself. At the end of the day, it is up to them to choose to maintain their sobriety.
It can be very difficult to know how to help a partner who is going through recovery if this is not something that you’ve ever experienced yourself. However, your support for them is very crucial during this time. It is important to try to put yourself into your partner’s shoes and consider what they’re going through. Despite what mistakes they may have made in the past, they have now made the tough decision to begin their recovery journey. Expect there to be setbacks along the way, and make it clear to your loved ones that you are there to support them however you can. Having a partner who is in the beginning stages of their recovery journey can be very stressful. If you are struggling with your mental health, our team at Achieve Concierge can help. Call (619) 393-5871 today.