Supporting a Spouse Going Through Substance Use Treatment

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A drug or alcohol addiction can put immense strain on a relationship. If your spouse or significant other has recently started a treatment program, they have taken an important step towards recovery. While this is still a difficult time for both of you, there are steps you can take to support your loved one in recovery. Here are some ways to support a spouse going through substance use disorder treatment.

Identify and Eliminate Triggers at Home

One of the benefits and challenges of outpatient substance use disorder treatment is the fact that the patient comes home at the end of the day. While this keeps disruptions to normal daily routine at a minimum, it can also be challenging because your spouse is not in an entirely protected environment. Make sure you remove any and all substances from your home and identify potential triggers. For example, if you and your spouse are invited to a social gathering where alcohol will be served, it may be best to decline. Eliminating potential triggers will help your spouse stay on the road to recovery.

Communicate Honestly, but Avoid Judgmental Language

Communication is vital for relationships, and your feelings about the addiction are valid. However, it is important to avoid judgmental or harsh language that will only discourage your partner. Make it clear that you still love your spouse for who they are, and that you are proud of them for taking positive steps towards recovery.

Also encourage your spouse to express their own feelings about the recovery process. Let them know you are there for support. Actively listen as they express their struggles, worries, and thoughts about treatment.

Plan Substance-Free Activities

It is important to strengthen and maintain your relationship through fun activities you can do as a couple. It is equally important to avoid situations or locations that could trigger a potential relapse. Focus on activities that are fun and encourage bonding.

Watch for Relapse Signs

Outpatient treatment for substance use disorder is a long and difficult process. Relapse can happen no matter how strong the motivation to reach sobriety. Be sure to monitor your spouse for signs of relapse, including:

  • Changes in behavior, such as disrupted sleep schedule, failure to maintain routines, lapses in self-care or personal hygiene, impulsive or irrational behavior, and lying or manipulation.
  • Changes in attitude, especially towards the treatment program or the goal of recovery. Your spouse may start doubting he or she can achieve sobriety, or may complain about the rehab program and doctors.
  • Increased stress, depression, or anxiety.
  • Social isolation, withdrawal from friends and family, and loss of interest in hobbies.
  • Reflecting on his or her drug use in a positive light, or spending time with friends he or she has used with in the past.

If you see any of these warning signs, it is important to address them with your partner immediately. Express your concern to the doctors at the treatment facility as well; they are trained to spot and address relapse symptoms.

Get Help For Your Loved One

High Focus Centers is dedicated to providing outpatient substance use disorder treatment programs based on individual need. With multiple centers across New Jersey and Connecticut, High Focus Centers has the resources to guide you and your partner through the struggle of addiction, and reduce the strain on your relationship.