Supporting a loved one through the process of addiction recovery can be difficult, but especially when your spouse is going through this painful and emotional time, it can be one of the hardest experiences of all. However, there are many ways you can support your wife in her recovery from addiction, from helping her choose an appropriate rehab facility to making sure that her experience upon returning home is positive and beneficial.
Your relationship as a significant other will make an important difference in her ability to go through addiction recovery while you provide her with love and support.
Step One: Remember to Be Patient and Caring.
In the beginning, it may be difficult to help your wife see that she has a problem and that she should seek help for her addiction. Whether she is abusing drugs, drinking too much, or consistently participating in a behavior that is dangerous to her and/or your relationship, it will be very hard for her to stop and maybe even harder for her to understand that she will need help in order to do so.
As the spouse of an addict, you may feel that you have suffered a considerable amount and possibly have frustrated feelings of your own. However, it is important to remember that the best way to help her at this point is to avoid being accusatory. Tell her that you love her and that you want to make sure she is able to get the help she needs to avoid further issues associated with her addiction. When you speak to her about her addiction, remember to be patient, caring, and above all supportive. This often makes individuals much more receptive to what their loved ones have to say.
Step Two: Stage an Intervention.
In many cases, it can be a beneficial choice to stage an intervention. An intervention is a carefully planned process that may be done by family and friends, in consultation with a doctor or professional such as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, or directed by an intervention professional (interventionist). It will normally involve a small number of your wife’s closest friends and family members who also want to see her receive treatment and begin to heal.
This will help take the burden off of you to a degree, as it is difficult to be the sole individual supporting a loved one through recovery. Make sure that the individuals you ask to participate are willing to be there for your wife through the entirety of her treatment and recovery and that they will continue to feel and act positively toward her decision to get clean. Once she does decide to attend rehab, help her follow up on finding a treatment option right away.
Step Three: Finding and Attending Treatment.
You can help your wife find the right treatment facility as well as a beneficial program that will give her the tools she needs to recover from her addiction. Many life circumstances predominate in women as a group, which may require a specialized treatment approach. Your wife may actually be better suited if she attends a type of treatment facility or program that is specifically geared toward women. Many of these programs exist and can be easily found through Internet directories, discussing the issue with your doctor, or talking to your insurance provider.
Once you and your wife decide on a facility that will be best for her, it is important to show your support for her journey through recovery as much as possible.
- Visit the facility often. If you have children, you may decide to have your children visit as well so she can see them and be reminded that she is fighting her addiction for the betterment of everyone in her family.
- Celebrate in her triumphs. If she has a breakthrough in therapy or hits a milestone in her sobriety, make sure to show her that you care and that those triumphs are just as important to you as they are to her.
- Be aware of when she will be leaving treatment and discuss with her and her doctors the best way for her to transition. If the possibility of aftercare is involved, consider it, as it can often be extremely helpful during the transition.
Step Four: Help Her Make the Transition after Treatment.
It will also be very difficult for your wife to transition from her treatment program back into her normal life without treatment. Recovery still continues during this time, and it is just as important that you are there to support her after treatment as it was during. You can:
- Make sure that there are no drugs, alcohol, or objects that may trigger addictive behavior in the household. Do so before she returns from treatment.
- Plan activities that do not revolve around substances or any other addictive behavior. This way, you are showing her that you can both still enjoy your time together and that she can continue to have fun without drugs, alcohol, etc.
- Help her choose an aftercare program, whether it is a support group, individualized drug counseling, etc., and support her through it as well. It helps many individuals who transition from treatment back to their everyday lives to still have an activity that allows them to focus solely on their recovery.
Step Five: Seek Treatment for You
Family therapy approaches a person’s drug problems in the context of family interactions and dynamics.” It also allows time for everyone involved to explain how they feel and to begin to heal. This, as well as couples’ therapy, can be very beneficial for you and your wife, but you may also want to seek treatment specifically for you.
- Support groups like Al-Anon and Nar-Anon exist specifically to help individuals with loved ones who are addicts cope with their own feelings.
- You may also choose to attend counseling by yourself in order to talk to a professional about your own personal feelings associated with your wife’s addiction.
It will help you support your wife if you seek treatment for yourself as well. This way, both of you can begin to heal from the ravages of addiction and you will not feel that your own issues are being marginalized.