The day you have hoped and prayed for, for so long, has finally arrived. Your partner is finally in recovery and is no longer drinking or drugging. You may be thinking that the hard days and nights that you went through are over and everything is going to be fine now. The reality is that your role as a partner in the relationship is still very important. After the initial “honeymoon” period of having the person you fell in love with back again, you may have a lot of questions or concerns about your loved one’s recovery. In fact, you both may have hopes and fears about the changes in your relationship. It will be more important than ever to have effective communication skills when it comes to these matters.
First, let’s discuss some of the more helpful ideas to enhance your partner’s recovery. Communicating and asking questions from a supportive rather than accusatory stance is much healthier. Many times, people in relationships are afraid to bring up topics because they might “rock the boat”. If you sense that your loved one has had a dreadful day and you are wondering if they are thinking about drinking or drugging, try to start a conversation about it. It might be a relief for the person in recovery to be able to talk to you about challenging times. This can strengthen a relationship and show that you are interested and care about your partner. Remember it is normal for everyone to have a rough day and have fleeting thoughts about wanting to escape. This also goes for you, as you undoubtedly will need support too.
Another great idea for you is to have your own support system. This could be church, family, friends or even a 12-step group such as Al-Anon. This type of emotional support can have a significant impact on your quality of life and will allow you to express what is on your mind, without hurting your partner. You may also get suggestions and great feedback on how to handle different situations from people who have been through the same situation. The main point is that you want to create a loving, caring and open environment. Additionally, it’s important for both people to take time for self-care. Mutual respect and more open communication will only enrich your relationship as you become more practiced in these new, healthier behaviors. It’s also a neat thing to be able to lean on each other again in times of need.