Making the decision to get treatment for substance abuse is a life-changing decision. Becoming substance-free will improve every aspect of your life. It will improve finances, relationships with family, the relationship with yourself, and your overall ability to enjoy the things around you. But what about your relationship with your partner? Can two addicts get clean together? Drug use does not begin in isolation. Typically, as an addict spirals further down into addiction, they associate with other people who are using, both socially and romantically. This can make change difficult, especially the idea of leaving behind someone that you are particularly close to. Couples can make this decision together. While it can be a rough road, it can be done!
HOW ADDICTION AFFECTS THE RELATIONSHIP
Several obstacles stand in the way of two addicts getting help together. Addiction affects relationships and plays a role in regular interactions. Over time, these behavior patterns become an integral part of the relationship and will require special attention to overcome. This can be an added difficulty while trying to maintain a clean lifestyle. Relationships in drug use have several typical behavior patterns:
- Poor Communication Styles
While much of this is addressed when the addict stops using, the habits can remain embedded in the relationship. To overcome this, couples may require counseling and to learn new ways to approach one another when difficulties arise. It can be easy to fall back into old patterns of behavior while in the moment.
How Recovery Affects the Relationship
Recovery is an especially individualized process. In order to remain substance-free, you will have to work hard on exploring your own values, triggers, behaviors, and coping skills to maintain recovery. These will be different for everyone. The trick to recovery is to remain focused on yourself and your best interests. The rest will come in time! Getting clean with a partner can be stressful and it is easy to switch the focus from yourself to your relationship. Common problems that arise when couples are both working on their recovery are:
- Interpersonal Communication
- Lack of Support
Codependency can get in the way of the recovery of you and your partner. By focusing on someone else rather than your own problems, you stop doing the work the helps you and even get in the way of the work that your partner is doing. You can only change your own thoughts, habits, and behaviors. New habits will need to be formed when relating with one another. As a couple, you can focus on activities that you can do together for enjoyment and practice expressing your needs, hopes, and desires. Learning how to express yourself through love and without anger can help break the cycle of fighting that addiction often causes. Another caution to keep in mind is that both individuals must really want to change. If only one person wants to stay clean, the other will likely not be as supportive. There may be substance use in the home and it is hard to remain abstinent when continually confronted with the opportunity to use. Both individuals must be committed to their recovery and to the work involved in improving the relationship.
There IS Hope
Remaining open to learning new methods of communication is important to recovering with someone else. How you relate to your partner will change as the two of you recover and it will require work to find new ways to relate to one another. Couples counseling may be necessary as the two of you are, in a sense, reinventing yourselves. This can be an exciting challenge in your relationship and can be approached with a sense of fun that the two of you can share! Two people that are motivated to get clean can be a special and excellent support system. Having another person that is continually motivated and taking action can be very encouraging. Many recovery models build on a sense of accountability for the addict and couples in the same household are uniquely poised to do this. The important thing to remember is that along as both individuals are motivated to change, it can happen! Recovery can make a relationship strong than ever! Ready to get started? Call us today at 614-705-0611.