Supporting Your Spouse Through Addiction Recovery
Did you know that around 23.5 million American adults are battling a substance abuse disorder? That amounts to approximately one in every 10 Americans over the age of 12. Addiction can put great strain on relationships, but with commitment and a strong network of love, it can be overcome. If your spouse has been brave enough to take the first step towards recovery, make sure to show your support but never neglect your own health and wellbeing.
Relapse Rates can be high
If your spouse has had one or two relapses along their road to recovery, take note: statistics show that between 40 and 60% of persons in recovery will eventually relapse. If this occurs, don’t give up; it is not tantamount to failure. Be open to other therapies or consider a different form of therapy.
Your spouse may be on medication and may be receiving cognitive behavioral therapy, but try to be open to complementary therapies such as yoga, meditation, and even art therapy, which can reduce stress and help your spouse approach rehabilitation more realistically, by encouraging them to acknowledge the negative or ambiguous feelings that can surround their decision to quit.
Don’t take it personally
As your spouse progresses, you may notice changes in their personality or needs. For instance, they might need some more ‘alone time’ or may wish to take up a hobby alone. Remember that it isn’t about you; it’s about them. If you chase your spouse when they are trying to seek distance, they will only distance more.
It is fascinating how quickly the body recovers from toxic substances. For instance, those who have abused alcohol experience the most salient effects of quitting within the first year, enjoying partial correction of important structural changes in the brain.
Health is always first and foremost but there are additional reasons behind a decision to enter rehab or quit a harmful habit. Quitting smoking can boost one’s finances, for instance, since average pack-a-day smoker spends around $2000 a year on cigarettes – money that could go towards saving for a business, family holiday, or charitable cause.
Speaking about the information you discover (both on health and financial issues) in a non-judgmental way allows you to detach the information from emotions; it is important for those in recovery to comprehend the many areas which can improve by embracing the sober life.
Focus on you
Ultimately, you cannot change your partner or guarantee their success at rehab. You can only change your behavior, thoughts, or emotions and indeed, in order to support your partner, it is vital to do things that make you feel fulfilled. Don’t neglect your hobbies or gym workout if your partner has come home from rehab. By showing that everything is back to normal, they are likely to feel more confident and self-reliant, which is key in addiction recovery.
When a spouse is in recovery, you may find that you are getting to know them again; that both of you have changed since the time before your spouse became addicted to substances. Patiently navigate the tough times, working on forgiveness, patience, and humor. When things get tough, do something for yourself; ensure you have a solid network to support you during the process of your spouse’s recovery.
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