See How to Speak Your Mind – Become Assertive and Set Limits and How to Be Assertive. Addicts, the Underdogs, usually have guilt and shame about their past behavior, while their mates harbor anger and resentment, often for things about which the addict has no recollection. Just when the recovering addict needs forgiveness, the partner may view sobriety as an opportune time to bring up long-held grievances. However, adding to the addict’s shame can undermine unstable abstinence. No, I don’t know all the specifics of your relationship. Still, I know from experience that most, if not all, relationships that exist when one or both people are in active addiction are unhealthy. For 15 years, you established a relationship system that worked on some level, but it’s no longer working for either of you.

  • We don’t believe in a cookie-cutter approach to recovery.
  • Fifteen years ago, we quit drugs, and then we both started drinking together.
  • But that’s true of life whether you try to drink it away or not.

Clients in recovery must take responsibility for and deal with the aftermath of events that occurred while they were still using drugs or alcohol. It was not their choice to use while they were in the cycle of addiction, but the harm caused to relationships with intimate partners, family members, and close friends still needs to be dealt with. While in a drug and alcohol treatment center, the staff and counselors can help clients using several different techniques. We understand the challenges and obstacles you face with an addicted spouse and we are here to support you and your loved one in whatever way we can. Please contact Nova Recovery Center today to learn more about helping a spouse in recovery, our family program, or to enroll a loved one in drug and alcohol rehab. Supporting your spouse in his or her recovery may also mean that you and the whole family also need to make a lifestyle change. Removing all addictive substances from your home will help create a living space where your spouse will feel supported, safe, and accountable. Although it will take time and effort, it is possible to establish and maintain a healthy marriage while a spouse is recovering from addiction.

How Can Marriage Survive Sobriety

After addiction, broken trust is likely to be the biggest obstacle to overcome in your marriage. For the recovering addict, this means absolute honesty is essential. If you continue to lie to or mislead your spouse, trust can never be regained. The recovering addict needs to focus on sobriety and may not always be able to prioritize the relationship, and his or her spouse must understand this. Of course, the addict’s ability to maintain sobriety will be essential to your ability to maintain the marriage as well. Even as an active drinker, I was mostly good about apologizing to my wife the morning after a painful argument or biting comments made while drinking. I wasn’t so blind and arrogant that I couldn’t admit fault. But I didn’t understand how meaningless those apologies were. Part of the process of forgiveness requires a belief by the offended that the offender won’t perpetrate the same offense again in the future. As long as I kept drinking, my wife knew I would get drunk and do it all again.

How do you love someone you don’t like to be around? That question without an answer was paralyzing for a long time. There are so many things wrong with that declaration and question I shouted at my wife on several sober occasions before I relapsed and returned to active alcoholism. Oftentimes, drug addicts are completely unaware of the devastation they are causing in the lives of those around them, especially within their own families. Family members themselves will yell, scream, withdraw, cajole, rant, criticize, understand, n … At 12 Keys, your spouse will find plenty of support. Many of the staff have recovered from addiction themselves, so they know what your spouse is going through. The ratio of clients to staff is kept low so clients can always find someone to talk to or help them over a rough patch. Even though recovery can be great, it can also be like a roller coaster with a lot of ups and downs.

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I’d have to chug half a bottle of hard cider and chain smoke 2 or 3 cigarettes before I could feel like a person again. Someone who’s stress levels weren’t spiked by chaos, culture clashes, and kamikaze drivers. In the first few months, the novelty of a new country and life was enough to keep my drinking a mostly social endeavor, albeit a reckless one. If you’re a woman, you can drink for free pretty much any night of the week if you want. Of course, we still had to pay for my husband’s drinks, but that’s the rub. I don’t want to think about the small mortgage we pissed away on alcohol and cigarettes. In this country, getting wasted is a staple of Western expat life and we were eager participants. But still, we didn’t really know each other the way you’re traditionally meant to before you go and marry a person. My husband and I had never spent more than a couple weeks physically together before he moved halfway across the world to be with, and marry, me.

Likewise, if you say you will cook your spouse a healthy meal three times a week, stick to this promise. It was early 2015 when I uttered the word abuse for the first time. It was early 2015 when I told him I loved him, I would always love him, but I was no marriage after sobriety longer in love with him. It was early 2015 when I told him I wanted a divorce. My depression intensified and I sought therapy. It took time but I began to speak out about our struggles, about the violence, and about the strained state of our relationship.

The Don’ts of Dealing with an Addicted Spouse

Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and anything worthwhile takes effort. Even in the healthiest marriages, things can go wrong. In addition to this list of do’s, there’s also a list of don’ts when dealing with an addicted spouse. Drugs and alcohol can cause people’s personalities to change drastically. While under the influence or while experiencing cravings, they may say or do things they wouldn’t normally do. It’s as if the person you married has disappeared, replaced by a monster named Addiction. Of course, studies have also shown that substance abuse and marital unhappiness can feed off one another, causing a cycle that will continue unless someone makes hard choices. The majority who have an alcohol abuse disorder are men, with 10.8 million men suffering from alcohol abuse disorder. 7 percent of adults ages 18 and older have an alcohol abuse disorder.
Eco Sober House
If a man marries a woman because he was attracted by her warm maternal quality, as many alcoholics do, he is likely to be the dependent one. And she, attracted to him because of her unconscious desire to mother someone, will be the practical member of the family. She may later bemoan the fact that he has failed in his role as head of the house, not aware that it was she who took the reins and did all the managing. And while she is managing him, the children, the household, and the finances, she’s awash with self‑pity because of the big load she has to carry. The quality of human relationships depends largely upon the way we communicate with each other. It depends not only on what we say, but how we say it; not only on what we do, but our motives for doing it. Our tone of voice and even our smallest actions are elements of communication; many of us are hardly aware of these. Due to the nature of the disease, addiction is something that families must deal with together, even if one spouse is using and the other is not. Writing out how you feel is cathartic and helps you find the words to talk to your spouse.

First, attending a family education program offered by a center while my husband was attending its residential program. Those three days informed my understanding of what was happening to Bill and us as a family unit. It reinforced the notion that sobriety was only the first step. At the time, I knew nothing of his substance use disorder. I lived with this conflicted view of the man I loved. I perceived him as an accomplished executive with a relational leadership style appreciated by his colleagues.

With each week I got stronger, and the stronger I got, the further I found myself from him. It wasn’t that my husband turned back to the bottle. (In fact, he is closing in on his one year anniversary.) It was that I underestimated the power of the storm, the one raging inside of me. It was a storm which had been brewing for 10 years, but was always kept offshore thanks to circumstance, specifically, thanks to the distraction of his drinking. But with his sobriety came acceptance, healing and forgiveness. With his sobriety came spirituality and empathy, and with his sobriety would come an apology.

Substance Use Treatment

Know that while things won’t go back to the way they were, they can get better. Sometimes, they even get much better than they were before addiction became a problem. It’s a new lease on life that can be an unexpected bonus of recovery. Other couples may be shocked to find out the extent of a partner’s problems with drugs or alcohol. Addicts can be especially skillful at concealing their problems from others, and that includes their spouse or potential spouse. It may be only after you’re married that you realize your partner has a substance abuse problem, and then all your attention goes to helping your addicted spouse. It may be difficult to get through a day without using, drinking, or fighting the urge to do so. In addition to worrying about a slip, a recovering addict has anxiety that substance abuse has masked. Possibly there were times when the person with the substance abuse disorder promised their spouses they are done with drugs only to relapse sometime later. If this was repeated severally, the spouse lost all trust and have difficulty trusting the now sober guy again.
marriage after sobriety
This mutual dependency makes couples highly reactive. They need to be more emotionally autonomous, which will lessen reactivity and facilitate better communication and intimacy. That may mean each spouse initially talking over things with their sponsor or therapist rather than confronting one other, except when it comes to abuse, which should be addressed. Top Dog has been the mainstay of the family and doing most of the parenting.
When we fought in sobriety, eventually, the resentments of our alcoholic past would bubble up to the surface and Sheri would be relitigating a dispute from years ago. I thought she was stubborn and broken, and she was to blame for her inability to move forward. We read all the articles and talked to therapists and thought all the thoughts in an effort to make things better. Like an optical illusion that you can’t see until you hold the picture at just the right angle, we had to let go to learn to hold on.

If you are unsure how a former acquaintance will receive a phone call, or you want some time to consider what you would like to say, send an e-mail or a letter. When you are ready, tell the person you are in or have completed your addiction treatment, as the case may be. Let them know you are in the process of getting your life back on track and that you would Sober Home like them to be part of it. Codependent people present another problemfor clients in recovery. Some family members can take on a role where they feel they need to look after the person with the addiction and want to shield them from the consequences of their actions. The co-dependent family member needs to seek counseling to learn new behavior patterns.

Those in recovery can be the healthiest, most well-adjusted people you’ll meet, but they can also relapse. I’ve spent the last six years researching and understanding alcoholism, addiction, and how people get sober. When I’m not writing about sobriety and mental health, I’m fully living in my role as wife, mama, and SEO badass. “In sickness and in health.” Those words are a familiar part of a marriage vow, when a couple commits to staying together no matter what. However, one of the hardest trials a couple can experience is addiction and its consequences—and that trial doesn’t end when sobriety begins.