spouse in recovery

6 Ways to Support Your Spouse in Recovery

Published on December 13, 2019 by First Responder Wellness

Loving and living with someone with an addiction can be emotionally exhausting, and at times it can feel like you have nothing left to give.  However, if your spouse has decided to seek out treatment for their addiction, it is important that you find ways to support them in their journey if you wish to rebuild your relationship.  It is also important that you take care of yourself in this time and utilize all resources available to you to make the experience of recovery for you and your family as smooth as possible. Here are six ways you can work towards supporting your spouse in recovery, while making things easier on yourself at the same time.

Get Educated

One of the first steps you will want to take after your spouse has committed to an addiction recovery program is to learn as much as possible about addiction, treatment techniques, and the specifics of the program itself.  Many people are still misinformed about the science of addiction, but understanding the way drug or alcohol dependency occurs in the brain can help you take a logical approach to your spouse’s condition, rather than always coming from a place of emotion and pain.  There is a great deal of literature available that can help you understand addiction and the process of recovery so you know what to expect from your spouse on this journey.

Use Your Resources

Many addiction treatment centers offer programs for family members that provide services to help you stay mentally well while remaining a part of the process.  You may be able to take advantage of couple’s therapy while your spouse is in treatment, or even begin going to therapy by yourself to begin healing and finding a way to let go of any lingering resentment.  Additionally, many family programs provide educational tools to teach you to support your spouse during this time by creating a home life conducive to sobriety.

Create a Sober Living Space

One of the most powerful changes you can make for your spouse while they are in recovery or away at a treatment center is to create an environment conducive to sobriety and mental wellness.  This means ridding your home of drugs and alcohol to prevent triggers during early sobriety, decluttering and cleaning your home to promote a peaceful atmosphere, providing healthy food to help your spouse stay strong and energized, and de-stressing your home life in any way possible.  You can take these changes a step further by creating space in your home for a workout area or a meditation nook. Our environments have a profound impact on our mental wellbeing, and making these small changes will set the entire family up for success in recovery.

Spend Quality Time

If you have been living with a spouse with an addiction for a significant period of time, it may feel like you no longer know the person you are married to.  Addiction has a way of taking away the people we love and replacing them someone we don’t recognize. In recovery, your spouse will begin to relearn who they are and what drives their personal passions.  You may be happy with who they are in early recovery, or their behavior and interests may feel foreign to you at first. However, if both parties wish to preserve the relationship, it is important to spend quality time reconnecting and reestablishing your dynamic as a couple.  Don’t put pressure on your spouse to be at the top of their game romantically in early recovery, but try to find time to rebuild intimacy and trust in your relationship whenever possible.

Be Patient

Recovery is a process, and it is important as the spouse of someone with an addiction to not expect monumental change to occur over night.  Addiction takes a physical and mental toll on the individual, and has the capacity to damage relationships, jobs, and financial security. This damage takes time to recover from, as well as a great deal of hard work.  Your spouse will have their ups and downs, and some days in recovery will be better than others. Additionally, you may have days when you find it difficult to move on from the pain of past, and it is important that you give your relationship and yourself time to heal.  One of the best ways you can support your spouse in recovery is to trust the process and allow for time and space to let your lives transform into their full potential.

The First Responders Treatment Program at Simple Recovery uses trauma-informed strategies to cater to the unique needs of law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental illnesses.  We recognize that first responders encounter job-specific barriers and obstacles that come with the culture of their careers, and that existing stigmas may make seeking help for addiction and mental health issues especially difficult. Addiction does not have to mean the end of your career or a lifetime of struggling with your health and relationships.  By taking a holistic approach to treatment and addressing the underlying causes of addiction, Simple Recovery makes it possible for first responders to regain control of every aspect of their wellbeing. First responders dedicate their lives to protecting their community, and at Simple Recovery’s First Responder Treatment Program, we believe in dedicating our time and expertise to helping these compassionate individuals find a path to lasting sobriety and mental wellness. 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, call us now at 888-743-0490.