Couples who have one spouse addicted to substance or alcohol are living in a stressful, dysfunctional situation; but, when the addicted spouse enters inpatient rehab, the level of stress rises even higher. It can take a toll on the already fractured relationship.
This type of relationship where one partner is sober, and the other addicted can turn into a nightmare for the sober one. They often will become an enabler without even realizing it, and they tend to forget about taking care of themselves as they concentrate all the attention on the addicted partner.
My partner is heading to rehab, now what?
It is not uncommon to hear this question, especially after years of the relationship being in turmoil. The sober spouse, all of a sudden, has no idea what to do. This is the time to concentrate on you. Here are some tips to help you focus on you:
- Seek counseling to work through your feelings about the relationship, your spouse, and you
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise to help you become physically stronger and get rid of stress
- Pursue hobbies that allow you to relax
- Clean house, get rid of the alcohol or substance use items
- If you can open windows and air the house out, allow new air to exchange the old; it may sound cliché, but you also have to do the same mentally for your mental health, it is a change of how you view life and situations.
Concentrating on you may sound selfish, but you need to. So you can support your partner in rehab. This is especially true of letting go of feelings of resentment and mistrust. No, it does not happen overnight; it will take work from you, not just your partner. Your partner needs to see that you are trying to work on your own feelings and issues while he or she is working on their and their addiction.
Many rehab centers offer dual addiction therapy and therapy sessions for the family. That will help the addicted partner and you; however, you should still seek support and therapy for just you. Support can be in the form of Al-Anon for family members of alcoholics. If you are not sure where there are meetings in your area, ask the rehab center, your physician, or even your clergy, one or more of them should know where there are meetings.
What about when my spouse comes home?
It is almost time for your spouse to graduate from rehab, so you should go through your home again to make sure all the triggers are gone. Triggers can be obvious such as alcohol bottles, substance paraphernalia, prescriptions, and over the counter medications; others are not so obvious. The things like electronic games they used to play when they were drinking or getting high are not so obvious, the music they listened to should be removed