Recovering from addiction is one of the most challenging things that a couple can go through. You, as the partner of the recovering addict, may be feeling an overwhelming mixture of relief, hope, and fear. But there’s really no need to worry. Many men and women today are living with a sober alcoholic. The best thing you can do for your loved one on their road to recovery is help them find their way.
Advice About Living with a Sober Alcoholic
Your involvement in your partner’s recovery is immeasurably important, but her entire family should also be involved. By participating in family education about alcohol addiction, you, your in-laws and your friends can learn the best possible ways to support the addict in her recovery.
Support Your Partner
One of the most critical aspects of alcohol dependence recovery is making sure your loved one isn’t exposed to anything detrimental to her sobriety. If your partner is an alcoholic in recovery, toss out the booze. This way, there isn’t any opportunity for your partner to develop any new addiction. Additionally, you should probably get others on board. For example, if your best friends keep alcohol on hand for party-planning or other special occasions, it may be necessary to convince them to make slight lifestyle adjustments for the sake of your mutual loved one’s recovery. This should not be a problem for the people who really care about your partner’s recovery.
Be Patient and Encouraging
Even when all traces of alcohol have been worked out of her system, your partner may not “snap back” to the person she once was. After all, recovery takes time. and she’s basically healing her whole body— mentally and physically— from the inside out. When you’re living with a sober alcoholic, it means you have to be patient and make sure to praise her for the progress she’s made and is making. It makes a world of difference.
It’s not uncommon for people in your position to develop feelings of anger and even resentment toward their addicted partner. Still, even though those feelings are valid, holding onto them is going to hurt your partner’s chances of recovering completely. Addicts in recovery usually try their best to make amends with people they’ve hurt during their addiction. Simply put, if you don’t meet her halfway, it may prevent you both from healing and moving forward.
Even after learning about addiction and the best ways to help your partner during the recovery process, it’s important not to assume that you know what she needs. When living with a sober alcoholic, it’s important to talk to her about her needs. Be sure to offer the kind of support she’s looking for without sacrificing your own mental, physical or emotional health. By sharing your hopes and expectations, you can work together to reach the same goals.
Be Prepared for Changes in Your Relationship
Recovery brings about a lot of fluctuating emotions. This can place a great deal of stress on your relationship, possibly to the point where you might think it’s over. This is hardly ever the case, though. When relationships end because of addiction, it’s usually when the addict refuses to get sober. The good news is that you’re already far past that point. If you and your partner are struggling during her recovery, counseling can help you reconnect and remember why and how much you love each other. Doing this and giving your partner the opportunity for greater self-exploration can reduce stress for both of you and bring a sense of peace to your home during the recovery.
Be Sure Not to Take Relapse Personally
Unfortunately, you should expect at least one relapse during the recovery process. If your partner does fall back into addictive patterns of behavior, the best thing you can do is continue to support her without placing blame or chastising her in any way. Remember, addiction is a disease. If your partner relapses or struggles in her recovery, it’s not because she isn’t trying hard enough or because she doesn’t care about you. Recovery is hard, and that’s why she needs you.
Support Yourself, Too
Doing things to support yourself as well as your partner is one of the most important aspects of the recovery process. After all, addiction affects more than the addict. It affects you, your partner’s family, your friends, coworkers, and anyone close to you. It’s just as important for them— and you— to also have support during your loved one’s recovery process. This is why family counseling programs are so strongly recommended for people in recovery. Seeking support shows your dedication to working toward a sober and healthy lifestyle with your partner. As an added bonus, your partner may be more open to receiving additional help when she sees that you are, too.
Remember You Are Not Alone
You are not the only person living with a sober alcoholic. Remember, staying sober can be difficult, and so can watching your loved one struggle. By offering support, you and your partner will both heal and move forward together. If someone you know is struggling with an addiction and needs help getting sober, please call Lilly Pad of St. Augustine at (561) 758-1011.