5 Tips to Surviving Your Partner’s Recovery
Posted On August 30, 2021
When a partner is in recovery as part of their addiction, you might feel disconnected from them. In a lot of ways, they have a whole separate life. They have meetings with people you don’t know. And there are parts of the treatment that they can’t talk about.
You feel happy that they are getting better. Their treatment gives you hope that your relationship will survive. But this also feels unfair. After all, you were the one who held everything together when they were in the depths of their addiction. They didn’t invest in you and your relationship before, and now they still aren’t.
There are some things that you can do.
Tips for Surviving Your Partner’s Recovery:
1. Be clear about your own needs. You need support, too. Some support needs to come from your partner and some from others. In order for your relationship with your partner to thrive and each of you in it, you need to have your needs met. You won’t be able to do all that you need to do if you always put your needs on the back burner.
2. Have an outlet for your anger (and sadness, and frustration, and disappointment). You will feel overwhelmed by these emotions at times. Your partner will not be able to absorb the full force of them. Share with your partner that you have these feelings. But work them off through other outlets such as exercise, therapy, or journaling.
3. In a loving and kind way, be honest with your partner about the ways you need them to take care of you. Be patient while they figure out how to do this well. In the past, their addiction and mental health symptoms blocked their awareness of your needs. They may be trying to learn skills that they haven’t used in a long time, or never had.
4. Carve out some time to connect with your partner. Identify a few minutes every day and longer chunks of time every week when you can connect. Make sure that both of you share what is happening in your life when you spend time together. And keep those small pockets of time as positive as possible. There are plenty of other times to deal with issues and make repairs. So, treat that time as a sacred time to connect with one another.
5. Remember: this is a marathon, not a sprint. Commitment to the relationship means that some of your investment will pay off in years, not days. So, pace yourself, don’t exhaust yourself, and keep track of every small win.
Recovery will be hard on both of you. When done well, you both experience it as a time of great personal and relationship growth. As you go through it, the growth will feel painful and stretching. Usually, it is only after you get to the other side that you will finally see the rewards of growing.
Do the best you can. It won’t be perfect, but it will be worth it. Ask for help when you need it. Other people care about you and want good things for you. Stay focused on the prize at the end. You are worth it. Your partner is worth it. And the relationship is worth it.
Need some quick wins in the relationship? Download this handout which outlines three easy-to-implement relationship habits you can start using immediately.
I’d love to hear the tips you would add to this list. Send me a quick email with the tips you found to be most helpful as you support your partner going through recovery.