Relationships and marriage can have their own challenges. However, when you add addiction to the mix, marriages can experience a significant strain. Although your spouse might be sober now, a marriage can still feel burdened by recovery and the possibility of relapse. If you want to offer your spouse sober support in recovery, one of the best things you can do is to take good care of yourself. However, that’s not all. There are other steps you can take to encourage sobriety and promote a healthy lifestyle for both you and your spouse.
Above all other steps to take, first take good care of yourself. This might mean getting therapy, attending Al-Anon groups, going for long walks when you need to, taking breaks throughout the day, and enjoying time alone. Getting the support you need for yourself will be what sustains you as you give support to your spouse.
The ways that you support your spouse in sobriety can vary. Below is a list of supportive tips for encouraging your spouse’s sobriety:
Communicate with one another
One commonality among addicts is the belief that their needs and wants don’t matter. When you ask your wife or your husband about what they need, you acknowledge that their needs are important. By communicating your own needs, you validate your own experiences as well. Along with discussing each other’s needs, you might also share your hopes, dreams, expectations, and challenges.
Avoid blaming one another
It’s easy to point the finger at others and say they’re responsible for past experiences, including addiction. However, blaming promotes guilty feelings, shame, and irresponsibility. Addiction is not the result of personal failings; it is a disease. Rather than place any blame upon your spouse or yourself, take responsibility for your role in making things better.
Educate yourself on addiction and sober support
A powerful way to support your spouse is to learn about addiction, recovery, sober support and relapse. Do your best to understand the challenging journey your spouse has been on. Identify any experiences or challenges that might prevent your spouse from staying sober. Recognize the risks for relapse and how you can eliminating those risks.
Believe in your spouse
There’s a good chance that your spouse doesn’t believe in themselves. If you can find a way to belief that he or she can stay sober, that alone will encourage sobriety. On days when the risks for relapse are present, be patient and have faith in your spouse’s ability to ignore those cravings and triggers.
Praise your spouse’s progress
When you compliment your wife or husband on well they’re doing in their recovery, you send the message that you’re paying attention. You communicate that you care. Continue to provide your encouragement and praise.
Don’t take setbacks personally
Any setback that you and your wife experience can be opportunities for learning. Even if there is a relapse, it can be a time for investigating what went wrong and strengthening a commitment to sobriety.
These are suggestions for supporting your spouse in recovery and encouraging their sobriety.