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Supporting a Spouse through Substance Abuse Recovery

According to a recent study from John Hopkins Medicine, substance use disorder affects more than 20 million Americans ages 12 and over. Despite the prevalence of this condition, less than 10% of those with an addiction seek out treatment, often because it's hard to admit that they have a problem.

However, SAD does not only impact the individual with the disease, but their entire family, too. After all, it can cause drastic changes to their behavior, temperament, and health, putting strain on relationships. 

As such, if your spouse is currently going through substance abuse recovery, it's important that you’re able to take care of yourself while remaining a supportive partner.

How Can I Support a Spouse Through Substance Abuse Recovery? 

There are many ways in which you can support your spouse during a substance abuse recovery program, whether they’re enrolled in a rehab facility or joining a support group such as Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous. 

First and foremost, it's important that you let them know they are not alone, and that you are always there to listen. Remember that addiction is a disease that is hard to gain control over and that you must not judge them for their actions too harshly during this time. Instead, listen to what they have to say and simply be there for them when they need you to be. 

You should also let them know that you are proud of them and the efforts they are making to overcome their addiction. Remind them of this on both their good and bad days. Addiction recovery is a long journey, not something that happens overnight. But it is always worth the effort when you reach that end destination. You should also make sure that you hold them accountable, as this can also help them to stay on track. 

However, as mentioned above, it's crucial that you also take care of yourself during this time. After all, you cannot be a support system for others if you are not supporting yourself, and it's important that you’re able to recover from the impact substance abuse has had on your life, too. 

How to Care For Yourself During Your Spouse’s Substance Abuse Recovery

There are many different ways in which you can begin to take better care of yourself as your spouse or partner enters recovery for SAD. 

For example, you should:

Join a support group

Joining a support group is one of the most effective ways to deal with the emotional fallout of having a partner in active addiction or recovery. This is because you will be surrounded by people in a similar situation to your own, who can therefore offer the best advice and guidance. Sometimes, simply knowing you are not alone in how you are feeling can be incredibly healing. It also means you can begin to build up a support network for both yourself and your partner as you move forward. 

Seek out financial support

Those dealing with substance abuse often encounter financial struggles, which means that as their spouse, you may also be dealing with the aftermath of this—especially when you’re also covering the cost of rehab. To lower your stress at this time, it's important that you are aware of the different resources that are available to you and may be able to offer financial support. For example, you may want to reach out to an accountant who can help you to get your finances back in order. 

Practice self-care

When providing family resources to those who are in treatment for addiction, we often recommend that their partners, spouses, and other family members try to incorporate self-care into their routines during this time. This can be a great way to help you address your needs, especially if you are used to putting other people first. It can also ensure that your well-being is kept in check during an otherwise stressful and turbulent time. 

Remember, there are many different forms of self-care out there, meaning it's easy to find something that works for you, whether it’s going for a walk or reading a book. 

Consider therapy

Therapy can also be a valuable tool to rely upon during this time, as it provides you with a healthy outlet for your emotions. For example, while you do not blame your partner for their addiction, many spouses feel angry or frustrated that you’ve found yourselves in that situation. A therapist can help you to rationalize your feelings and behaviors throughout this process. 

Remember the end goal

As mentioned previously, recovery is not always straightforward - and you may encounter some bumps in the road. As such, it's vital that you’re able to remain focused on the end goal - both for your own sake and for your partner. Being able to remind them of what they are working toward will help both of you when things get tough. 

Final Thoughts

If your spouse or partner has decided to seek treatment for their substance abuse, this is already a good sign. After all, wanting to get better is often the most important contributing factor to addiction recovery. As such, you must show up for them by supporting their decision and helping them choose which avenue they’d like to explore next.

The best way to be there for them during this time is to be consistent and non-judgemental in your support. Let them know you are always there to listen, no matter what they may be dealing with. 

However, you should also ensure that you show up for yourself during this time. Work on advocating for yourself and your own needs so that you are also able to recover from the impact that substance abuse has had on your life. Again, you should surround yourself with supportive people who understand your situation and can provide solid advice and consistent support.

If you’d like to find out more about the services we offer, please do not hesitate to get in touch today. 

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