06 Oct Healthy Ways to Help a Spouse Through Recovery
Take Care of Yourself
You can’t be strong for your spouse if you let your needs go unmet. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually throughout this experience. Take a break from the situation when you need to and ask for help as much as you can.
Blame and Forgiveness
You’ve been hurt by your spouse’s behavior throughout the course of their addiction, and you’re going to need some resolution to these issues, but you can’t force it. Laying blame and constantly bringing up the past will only strain the relationship. Repairing damage will be part of your spouse’s recovery process, and you can help them with this by forgiving them openly, reserving judgment, and refraining from laying blame.
Working on the Relationship
There will be opportunities to work on your relationship during addiction recovery and it’s best to do so under the guidance of a professional therapist. They can give you the tools you need to repair your relationship. Even with help, it’s going to be hard, either you, your spouse or both of you will probably want to give up sometimes. Be patient, cut yourself and your spouse some slack, and be willing to try again. Soon you’ll find that you’re moving closer together instead of further apart.
How you speak to each other during recovery will be just as important as what you’re talking about. Fighting and making drastic decisions will only add stress to your spouse’s recovery and will stunt their progress. Only discuss issues when you’re both feeling open and calm. If specific topics are guaranteed hot buttons for you, don’t discuss them until you can do so with your counselor present.
There are going to be setbacks during recovery, and there may even be relapses. Try not to take setbacks personally, since they don’t have anything to do with how supportive you are of your spouse. Setbacks are just part of the process, and can be valuable learning experiences if you approach them with the right attitude.
Along with setbacks and hard work, recovery is going to be full of successes, big and small. Take the time to celebrate success every chance you get. This will give you energy to keep going and will bring you closer together.