How to Support Your Partner During Treatment in Recovery

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How to Support Your Partner During Treatment in Recovery

If your partner has made the difficult decision to seek treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD), you likely want to be there for them in any way that you possibly can. If addiction is not something you have experienced first-hand, it can be difficult to know what they need and how to show support. 

This is a critical time to show understanding and open-mindedness. Remember that your partner has proven they want to do the right thing and live a healthier life by seeking treatment. There will be challenging moments along the way, but through your encouragement and hard work on their part, your partner has the same ability to live a happy, substance-free life. 

Why Your Support Is So Important During This Time 

Recovery can feel like an intimidating and isolating process at times. An individual going through recovery may not be comfortable opening up to those around them about their recovery journey due to fear of judgment or ridicule. This is why support group meetings—such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA)—are essential resources for those in recovery. In this setting, individuals can share experiences with peers who can relate to the same struggles. 

As the individual’s partner, your support is equally meaningful during this time. Even if you have not experienced what they are going through and cannot offer any advice, you can still support them in other ways. For example, you can provide them with a listening ear and shoulder to lean on when they need it most. 

Sober Activities During Recovery

If your partner previously spent the majority of their spare time engaging in substance misuse, they might find that they now have a lot of extra time on their hands. While this can be a good thing, having too much free time can lead to boredom and urges to engage in substance use. 

Therefore, it is vital for your partner to try out new sober activities to keep them preoccupied and not tempted to relapse. You can support them by suggesting new sober activities that you can enjoy together. The options are endless, but some examples include: 

  • Hiking 
  • Taking an exercise class 
  • Learning to play an instrument
  • Volunteering for the community
  • Taking an art class 
  • Fostering an animal
  • Running local marathons
  • Cooking and sharing a meal together 
  • Rock climbing
  • Hosting a trivia night 
  • Watching a live sports or musical performance

These activities not only help take your partner’s mind off thoughts of substance use, but can also strengthen your overall relationship. 

Keeping a Sober Shared Space 

If you share a living space with your partner, do your best to make this space sober-friendly. You can do this by ensuring that no alcohol or substances are lying around where your partner might see them and be tempted to relapse. Perhaps of utmost importance is not engaging in substance use in front of your partner, especially during the early stages of recovery. Using substances can come off as disrespectful to your partner and as if you are not taking their recovery journey seriously. 

Finally, try to avoid watching television shows or movies that display or glorify substance use in front of your partner. 

Investing in Couples Therapy

Recovery can be a challenging process and can cause strains within a relationship at times. If you feel that your relationship with your partner is struggling, you may want to consider investing in couple’s therapy. Therapy can help you both learn to communicate more effectively and develop a deeper understanding of what the other is going through—for both parties—during this time. 

Try to Maintain a Judgment-Free Attitude 

While it can be challenging, try to be understanding and not judgmental towards your partner for their substance use. In the event that they misstep or experience a relapse, do not chastise or shame them as this could be detrimental to their recovery and even your relationship. 

Everyone makes mistakes. Reacting negatively can instill fear of confiding in you and lead to secretive and destructive behavior. Instead, reiterate how much you care about them and encourage them to take the necessary steps to get back on the path to recovery. 

Celebrate Your Partner’s Progress

As your partner progresses along their recovery journey, take the time to tell them how proud you are of the strides they have made. Additionally, celebrate their victories when they achieve sober milestones. This can help show them that you recognize the hard work they have been doing and appreciate the time and effort they put into it. 

It can be challenging to know how to support a partner who is going through recovery if this is not something that you have personally experienced. Your support for them during this time is critical. While you might not be able to share any advice, you can support them in other ways by providing a listening ear when they need to vent and showing unwavering support. You can also suggest sober activities to engage in together. Always remember to try to keep an open mind and a judgment-free attitude. As your partner goes through this process, do not be afraid to celebrate their victories, even the small ones. If you or your loved one is currently struggling with a substance use disorder, the time to seek help is now. Our team at The Kimberly Center has the tools and resources to reclaim control from addiction. Call (855) 452-3683 today to learn more about the types of services we provide. 

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