For Spouses and Partners...
Manage your expectations. Just as it was a challenge to live with someone in the throes of opioid addiction, there will be challenges on the road to recovery.
Recovery works better with teamwork. Work together to create a blueprint for recovery. If you choose, you can work with the rehab facility or a counselor to include drug testing as part of that blueprint.
Your participation is vital for you and your partner. You can’t do their recovery for your spouse or partner -- but you can work on your own. Support their need to go to meetings, and understand that it will be a critical part of recovery -- for both of you. In addition to participating in meetings, many Family Support Groups hold open meetings so that couples can attend together.
- Be mindful of friends and family triggering relationships. There may be family members or friends who are triggers for your partner – someone who encouraged substance abuse or exhibits toxic behavior. Respect your partner’s need to remove those triggers, especially when it may involve a family member who modeled substance abuse in their family of origin.
Understand that recovery takes time. Give time “time”. You will not repair your relationship overnight. Your relationship may have been primarily focused on your partner’s addiction – so you’ll both learn how to get your relationship back in balance.
Be actively involved in their transition. It's completely normal to fear relapse. As a spouse or partner, be actively involved in their transition plan. Learn about their relapse triggers, and support them as they adopt new changes in their life to take the place of drugs.
Relapse can happen at any time. Be aware that, even after many months of treatment, someone in recovery is extremely vulnerable to relapse. It can be kicked off by the slightest combination of stress and exposure to an opportunity to use again.
Be understanding. Recognize that even after recovery, your loved one is still dealing with a substance use disorder and with the stigma of addiction -- and can experience shame.
- Remove situational triggers. Maintain a substance-free living environment. Don’t drink or use drugs around someone who is transitioning out of treatment.
Be extremely sensitive to signs of relapse and withdrawal. Don't let hope mask reality.
Stay honest. – You owe it to yourself and your partner to always be transparent and open.