My Spouse Is Sober – Now What?

family recovery for spouses and significant othersA recovery program is essential for family members, too

Addiction leaves behind a path of destruction unlike any other disease. From legal issues, to health problems, to financial strain and beyond, substance use disorder tears relationships and lives apart. Fortunately, there is hope—addicts can become productive members of society and restore much of the damage caused by their addiction once they get on the road to recovery. The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have transformed lives and restored relationships. At MARR, we not only believe in the 12 Steps—our addiction treatment program is built around them.

Oftentimes, an addict will enter into a program of recovery and begin to heal from his or her addiction, seemingly getting better and enjoying a new outlook on life. But what about the other person in the relationship? “When my husband first got sober, I was happy and scared at the same time. I mean, who was this ‘new’ man standing in my kitchen? Being around him just felt awkward,” says Melanie Sadler*. “He was getting healthy and I was left with resentment and pain from the past.”

Sadler is not alone. Although recovery for the addict is crucial if the relationship is to survive, it is not a one-way street. Both the addict and his or her significant other benefit from a program of recovery. MARR’s Family Recovery Center is committed to providing education, counseling and resources to those struggling with a loved one’s addiction. Through couples therapy, individual counseling and family support groups, we seek to introduce spouses and significant others to family recovery. Additionally, we encourage them to attend 12-Step meetings in their community (i.e., Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, Co-Dependents Anonymous, etc.).

When both individuals in a relationship practice the spiritual principles behind the 12 Steps, they learn to speak the same language. They understand the tools of recovery, rely on their support network for guidance, implement healthy coping skills and focus on today. Resentments are addressed and freedom ensues. Instead of the process appearing one-sided, wherein only the addict gets better, both partners experience the joy that comes from a life in recovery.

“Once I began to embrace my own recovery through Al-Anon, the dark cloud that seemed to follow me everywhere started to fade,” Sadler says. “I found hope through the 12 Steps and today, my husband and I have a healthy relationship. We got to know one another all over again, this time without drugs and alcohol.”

If you would like more information on MARR’s Family Recovery Center, call 678-805-5169.

*Name has been changed to protect individual’s identity

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