Relapse is very common within the first couple of weeks after returning from treatment. When your loved one returns home after their experience, your support as their spouse is very important. 

Keep in mind; your loved one has just embarked on a new sober lifestyle. Their entire world as they previously knew it has been turned upside down. It’s almost like they are starting their life all over from scratch. While this can be a very exciting time, it also can be overwhelming.

Your spouse is now used to the stability and the support of addiction treatment. This due to a very structured life while in treatment. You might be thinking to yourself, “what can I do to help my significant other when they come home from rehab?” Or even, “what shouldn’t I do?” 

Well, here are a few things you can do to make your loved one more comfortable when they return from rehab, as well as some things you should avoid. If you or your loved one needs help with addiction, contact our Rehab in New Jersey.

Do Educate Yourself

Before your spouse even returns home from treatment, it’s important to educate yourself on drug and alcohol addiction. While you will never truly be able to understand exactly what your spouse is going through, you can learn a lot by simply educating yourself. This includes not only addiction education but learning about the treatment process as well. 

There are tons of resources out there that can tell you everything you need to know. You can learn about the entire treatment process. Learn about detoxing before beginning treatment to what they do in treatment, from the food they eat to the things they talk about in therapy. 

Learning as much as you can about their experience during their time in treatment will help in your ability to be there for them in recovery when they return home and be supportive of whatever they may need to successfully continue their recovery process. 

Don’t Put Pressure on Them

Being free from the shackles of drugs and alcohol can be a very exciting time. You took something that was controlling your life, and you rid yourself of it. It’s something to be very proud of. It can also be a little overwhelming and even scary at times. Something that you relied on daily is no longer there, and it might be tough to figure out how you are supposed to go about your life without drugs or alcohol being in it anymore. 

As the spouse of someone in recovery, it is very important to remember this, especially for the first few months after your loved one returns home from treatment. It’s important, during this time when they are most vulnerable, not to put too much pressure on them. 

It’s important to give them the time to get their footing again and re-acclimate themselves into society now that they are in recovery. The worst thing you can do is make them feel like they are taking too long to do this, or not doing it the way that you think they should be.

Do Encourage Open Communication

As we mentioned earlier, unless you are someone who has also suffered from addiction, you can never truly understand what it is like for someone to go through alcohol and drug addiction treatment.

 While taking the time to educate yourself can go a long way, there is no better way to learn about what your spouse is going through then directly from their own mouth. 

While in treatment, your spouse learned the importance of honesty and open communication. It’s important to continue that once they finish up treatment. Be honest with them in a supportive way, and make sure that they know that they can talk to you about anything that they might be feeling. Making them feel comfortable opening up to you can go a long way in helping them avoid relapse, especially in the very beginning.

Don’t Blame Yourself For What Happened

If you have done your research, you have probably come across the “3 Cs of Addiction”, which are: you didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it. It is imperative that you remember this when your spouse returns home and that you don’t blame yourself for what happens. Thinking it was your fault can cause a lot of animosity and hardship, which is the last thing either you or your spouse wants after returning home from treatment. 

It is important that your spouse comes home to a loving and supportive environment. As difficult as it might be, it is important not to point any fingers. At the end of the day, nobody can make you drink or use drugs and that your spouse is responsible for their own actions.

Do Show Your Support

Chances are, now that your spouse is clean, they aren’t going to have as many friends as they did when they were using. There will be people that they won’t want to be around anymore because the temptation will be too high to use again. 

There will also be people that they were only friends with because they drank and used drugs together. It can be scary coming home from treatment and realizing you don’t have much of a support system anymore. That’s why now, more than ever, you need to make sure you shower your spouse with love and support. 

Consider finding things that you can do together. Maybe take a cooking class or even having a weekly “date night” where you can do things together as a couple.

Don’t Bring Up the Past

In relationships, we tend to want to bring up the past a lot. Whether we bring up something that happened in the past during a fight or even want to just bring up something that happened in a good way, it’s a common thing to do. 

While bringing up the past isn’t completely off the table, it’s important to be selective in what you bring up. Bringing up things related to their addiction is a big no-no, no matter how badly you want to. 

No matter how badly your spouse might have hurt you when they are using, a big part of their treatment is taking steps to heal and move forward. It’s important that you do the same. That doesn’t mean that you can never talk about the past either; just let your spouse be the one to bring it up.

Do Be Patient

Just because your spouse completed their treatment doesn’t mean that everything has just been magically fixed, and there will be no issues going forward. There are going to be a lot of issues ahead as your loved one learns how to live this new life without drugs and alcohol

It is important to be patient with them as they learn how to be this new person that they were taught to be during treatment. They are already stressed out enough as it is, they don’t need you to be frustrated with them as they learn how to go about their new life. 

Keeping a positive attitude and letting them know that they have your full support can go a long way in helping them feel more comfortable as they transition into this new life they have. 

It’s also important to remember that while in treatment, they basically had their entire day planned out for them. Even something as simple as just getting their day started can be difficult in the beginning. 

Don’t Be Afraid of Triggering a Relapse

It is important to remember that you weren’t the reason your spouse drank and used drugs before and, if they were to relapse, it wouldn’t be because of you either. 

It’s important to remember that relapse can happen and that walking on eggshells to try and keep it from happening won’t do you or your spouse any favors. That also doesn’t mean you can’t talk about it either. As we talked about earlier, open communication is key during this entire process. 

It’s important to share how you feel. It’s also important that you know that you can do that and shouldn’t worry about whether it might cause a relapse. While this one might be last on this list, it might be the most important thing to keep in mind.

Are You Married to an Addict In Recovery?

If you are the spouse of someone who is going through treatment, we know that it can often be a confusing time. That’s why, at the Discovery Institute, we offer programs such as family counseling. 

We think it’s important to not only help the person suffering from addiction but also the family members of that person as well. Additionally, if you have a spouse or loved one who you feel could benefit from drug or alcohol rehab treatment, contact us today for information on rehabilitation programs and therapy that assists with living a sober life free from alcohol and drugs.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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