John was hooked on alcohol and prescription painkillers sometime back. He successfully completed his addiction treatment and returned home. His wife Tracy loved him a lot and supported him all through his recovery. Although she had a difficult time managing home and children without John's support, she was determined to make her marriage work when he returned.
After all, John was a changed man and she knew she might have to restart her relationship all over again. Here are some strategies that Tracy adopted to ensure that her marriage was back on track:
- It is important to treat the marriage as a new relationship. That can happen only when one is willing to keep aside the past and take a chance. One should forget about any marital problems that existed before and work with the partner on rebuilding whatever was lost due to addiction.
- One must take it easy as far as the intimacy is concerned. Without strengthening the emotional bond, physical closeness will appear like a tedious task for the man / woman who has just recovered. It should be initiated gradually and only when the instincts are natural and nothing is being forced. It's important to restore the foundation of the relationship first.
- When the recovered spouse returns, he or she is bound to feel insecure and out of place. It is the duty of the partner to reassure the person in recovery that he / she is still loved and respected the same way as before combating addiction. The newly sober spouse must be reassured that no matter how tough it gets, taking the treatment was worth it.
- Another way of strengthening the diamond bond is by beginning to date each other again. Both the partners should put in efforts to dress up nicely and visit a place of mutual choice where they can spend some quality time. Walking hand in hand on a beach, gazing stars in a park or taking rides in an amusement park can sometimes be very therapeutic.
- It is important to forgive each other on an everyday basis. Addiction is a chronic disorder and one or both the partners can experience flashbacks about the past habits and the messed-up days. However, such thoughts should not be given importance and the focus should be realigned on the present. Sometimes, even relapse can occur since all the efforts. Overcoming this phase is possible if both the partners are patient and forgiving.
- It is important to understand that after a family has gone through the ugly phase of addiction, it takes time to rebuild and it might take even longer for the sober partner to place trust on the newly sober one. However, it is all right. If the recovering person makes any efforts to set things right, then it's up to the other partner to trust or not. It takes time and courage to restore faith, and gradually nurture a relationship.
- Like addiction, recovery is also at times draining. For the sober person, it is important to have some personal time on a weekly basis. Spending some time alone doing activities one loves like knitting, reading, listening to soothing music or joining a hobby class could be some of the ways to feel charged up.
- One must encourage and remind the recovering spouse to keep attending the aftercare plans. If possible, both the partners should attend couple therapy programs to understand each other better and work towards a better future.
Recovery from addiction is possible
Recovery is a lifelong process. One should wait patiently for the romance and trust to build up in a relationship, which has been through a rough patch for a long time. But if the self-help tips do not help, one must seek professional help to set things in order and be happy again.
A good addiction treatment center provides holistic recovery plans to address the undering issue and help a person live a sober life. Detox is the primary step in weaning off the drug effects by removing the harmful chemicals and preparing the body for further treatment. Once the body is cleaned, various behavioral therapies and counseling are provided over a period of time to overcome other issues.