During your treatment, trained rehabilitation professionals can address your individual detox and healing needs. Addiction to drugs or alcohol is often experienced by one partner in a marriage. But sometimes, both partners struggle with substance use. Living with an alcoholic spouse can be draining and frustrating. It’s important to understand that alcoholism is a disease, and your spouse may have underlying issues that trigger the cravings for alcohol.
The supportive partner may have learned to walk on eggshells in an attempt to retain peace in the relationship. While you can get help at the same time, recovery is an individual journey. The underlying cause of addiction is as unique as you are.
Sobriety Can’t Save an Alcoholic Marriage.
If your marriage was strained at all when you drank it will likely be strained in recovery. We did this tightrope walk through two extended stretches of sobriety and two big relapses. If he was disappointed in me, he didn’t show it.
After decades of drinking, I stopped, and I expected all the pain to—poof—just go away. Codependency can continue to affect marriages even after your partner has become sober. Being able to confront the hurt and anger does not mean your marriage is over. In fact, once these issues are addressed and worked through, you may be able to create a new marriage. Internal triggers – These are often caused by thoughts or emotions such as anxiety, excitement, sadness, and frustration, among others. Physical ailments like headaches can also be an internal triggers.
How to Handle an Alcoholic Spouse
I was still forced to keep it together while he took time to take care of himself. I was still forced to play second fiddle to my daughter and him, my feelings never good enough or worth enough. I was still forced to coddle him—or so I thought—and support him, knowing he hadn’t (and wouldn’t) do the same for me. I was still forced to pretend everything was okay when it wasn’t. When your partner comes home, you’ll need to make some changes.
Without honest communication, both people can end up feeling misunderstood and mistreated, she adds. Although the road to recovery can be long for everyone involved, it’s possible to make amends with those you might’ve hurt or lost in the past due to SUD. You can also write letters to one another as you learn to communicate openly, honestly, and lovingly again. Some tough subjects may be difficult for you to talk about or may result in constant interruption and arguments. As you express yourself through writing, it’ll gradually become easier to express yourself verbally as well.
Respect Their Sobriety
In addition, quitting drugs and alcohol also usually comes with mental health conditions, like anxiety or anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure). The partner in recovery may experience irritability and even have angry outbursts. Choosing to be sober requires courage and effort. A sobriety birthday is the date on which someone decides to stop using drugs or alcohol. You can celebrate it with your partner yearly to keep track of the length of their sobriety journey.
The remedy did not end with sobriety; that’s where it started. Next, he had to create a treatment plan consisting of therapy, medication, and fellowship to avoid relapse. At first, the idea that if left untreated, his substance use disorder could become a chronic condition was a lot to absorb.
Encouraging Your Spouse’s Recovery
Do not tempt them with alcohol or show them you are enjoying it yourself. It may feel like self-limiting, but if you share marriage changes after sobriety the same goals, this will be easier to follow. It was early 2015 when I uttered the word abuse for the first time.