What to Expect When Dating a Recovering Addict

What to Expect When Dating a Recovering Addict

Dating a person who is recovering from drug or alcohol use requires some awareness. It doesn't have to be a
relationship deal breaker, but you may want to consider some additional things before starting or ending a
relationship with a former drug addict. There is a stigma attached to the disease of addiction, but many people
recover and find ways to live a sober life.

Benefits and Challenges of Dating a Recovering Drug Addict

A person who works hard toward sobriety may be healthier than individuals who have never experienced addiction.
Recovery requires an individual to become self-aware through therapy and treatment. They are often active in 12-step
programs and closely involved in continuing care.

A person in recovery may attend regular therapy sessions and should understand how to practice healthy coping
strategies to stay sober. A past addiction combined with healthy lifestyle changes can lead to incredible growth if a
person does the work to achieve and maintain sobriety.

Dating someone who attends therapy and works on their mental and physical health can lead to a very healthy
relationship. However, dating a person recovering from substance use can also present challenges for both people in
the relationship. Remember that relapse is always possible at any stage of recovery, and it is up to the person in
recovery to do the work necessary to prevent relapse.

A person recovering from substance use may experience the following:

  • Irritability
  • Isolating behaviors
  • Substance cravings
  • Mental health challenges
  • Health complications caused by past drug use
  • Disinterest in new experiences, hobbies or their partner
  • Vulnerability to other addictions such as sex or gambling addiction

How to Help Your Significant Other Through Addiction Recovery

You could someday find yourself wondering how to support a significant other through addiction recovery. You may begin
dating an addict, start a relationship with someone who relapses later or discover your spouse becoming addicted to
drugs years into a marriage.

In any of these situations, you must remember that your mental and physical health are critical. You cannot heal,
"fix" or force your partner through recovery. However, if it is safe to do so, you can offer support as they do the
recovery work they need to do. You can help your partner through addiction recovery in the following ways:

Learn About the Signs of Addiction and Avoid Enabling

Eliminating or reducing the consequences of another person's unwanted or unhealthy behaviors is enabling. Even if you
enable your partner's behavior with good intentions, it can significantly harm them, yourself and the relationship. Eliminating repercussions encourages a person to continue unhealthy behaviors.

If your significant other manipulates you or others, lies to you or asks you to lie for them because they are using a
substance, it's important to avoid enabling them. Let them experience the consequences of their actions, and let them
know that you do not accept their behavior. Learn the signs of addiction so you recognize when they occur, and encourage your partner to seek help when they exhibit these signs.

Set Boundaries in the Relationship

Boundaries matter in any relationship, but they are essential when you are in a relationship involving past drug
addiction. Let your significant other know what your boundaries and expectations are, and plan what you will do if
they cross your boundaries. You may need to say "no" at times, and you may need to walk away if their actions affect
your mental or physical health.

Remember That You Are Not Responsible for Their Actions

Only your significant other is responsible for their actions, and you cannot control their behaviors. Maintain a
healthy mindset by remembering that you are not responsible for your loved one. While you can show your support for
them, you must also realize that they are responsible for themselves.

Seek counseling or therapy if you feel stressed or overwhelmed trying to control or "fix" your partner. Remember that
it is not your fault if they relapse or struggle in their recovery.

Attend Couples Counseling

Attending couples counseling is an excellent way to maintain a healthy relationship. A therapist can help you and your
partner set healthy boundaries, develop healthy communication skills and recognize any issues you need to address.
Attending therapy separately and alone can help you care for your mental health, and it can help your partner care for
their mental health as well.

Seek Help if Needed

If your loved one relapses, it can affect your mental health. Seek help from a professional such as a therapist if
your significant other's addiction affects you in the following ways:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Poor concentration
  • Constantly worrying about your significant other
  • Weight changes due to overeating or not eating enough
  • Feelings of sadness, depression, hopelessness, anger or rage
  • Inconsistent or poor relationships with your friends and family

When to Consider Leaving a Partner

Past addiction doesn't have to be an absolute deal breaker. However, some situations can lead to an unhealthy
relationship. If your partner experiences a relapse and refuses treatment, or you find yourself enabling unhealthy
behavior from your partner, you may need to consider leaving the relationship.

Staying Healthy When Dating Someone Recovering From Addiction

It can be easy to focus on your partner's health and well-being when they are recovering from drug or alcohol
addiction. However, you must take care of yourself and focus on your well-being. Self-care is necessary to help you
stay healthy, cope with stress and prevent negative reactions to future stress.

While you can support your partner in healthy ways, it's also important to practice self-care in the following ways:

  • Eat healthily
  • Take time to exercise
  • Set healthy boundaries
  • Rest and get enough sleep each night
  • Care for your mental health through therapy, meditation or support groups
  • Maintain healthy relationships with friends and family outside your romantic relationship

Relapses: When to Talk About Additional Treatment Options

For you and your significant other to have a healthy relationship, your partner must have a strong relapse prevention
plan. They should be taking healthy steps to abstain from drugs and alcohol. These steps can include a 12-step program, therapy, healthy coping strategies and healthy lifestyle habits. You and your partner can pursue and maintain a healthy relationship if they do the work necessary to recover and maintain sobriety.

Relapse is always possible in recovery, and 40% to 60% of individuals in recovery will experience a relapse. Your partner should have a plan in place in case relapse occurs. To be prepared, they can list potential rehabilitation and treatment programs to contact if they relapse. If your partner uses any amount of a substance during recovery, they must seek treatment as soon as possible.

Seek Treatment With Transformations By The Gulf

If you or a loved one needs treatment and rehabilitation for substance use, Transformations By The Gulf can help.
Transformations By The Gulf offers individualistic and holistic recovery services. We designed our inpatient and outpatient programs to treat individuals based on biological, psychological, familial and social needs.

Our residential homes and treatment facilities are near the beach and offer a comfortable setting for rehabilitation. If you or a loved one needs help, contact Transformations By The Gulf to learn more about our recovery services.

 


Supporting Your Loved One During Relapse

A relapse is when someone with a substance use disorder stops maintaining their sobriety after recovery. Some people believe that relapse is a sign that someone will fall back into drug abuse, but you can prevent further damage by catching a relapse early.

If your loved one is going through a relapse, you can do things to support them during this time. Below, we'll guide you through some of the common causes of relapse, how to support your loved one and when you should consider seeking professional help.

Why Did My Loved One Relapse?

Relapse is a common occurrence in someone struggling with and recovering from addiction. About 40%-60% of people who have substance use disorders experience relapse as part of their recovery process. A relapse does not mean that addiction treatment has failed. If your family member has experienced a relapse, there are many reasons this can happen.

People who have struggled with addiction have triggers, which are situations or instances that spur a craving, inducing an urge to use a substance. While addiction treatment and professional help can provide your loved ones with healthy coping skills to overcome these urges, a relapse indicates that a change needs to be made to their treatment plan.

Some common triggers include:

  • Withdrawal symptoms: Physical and psychological withdrawal from a substance can be uncomfortable, and your loved one might relapse to prevent these feelings.
  • Mental health: Some people who have a mental health disorder also have a co-occurring substance use disorder. Your loved one might be trying to cope with their mental health symptoms by using substances, and if their mental health condition is left untreated, it can cause a relapse.
  • Peer pressure: Many people use substances in groups with their peers. If someone has just gone through treatment for their addiction and continues to hang around others who continue to use substances, they feel pressured or compelled by their cravings to relapse.
  • Environments: Certain environments encourage substance use, such as bars, clubs or parties. Simply being in these environments can be enough to trigger a relapse.
  • Uncomfortable feelings: Some people might experience boredom, isolation or loneliness after they go through treatment, especially if they don't have a robust support network. Your loved one might relapse to avoid these feelings.

What NOT to Do When Someone You Love Relapses

If your loved one goes through a relapse, you'll want to give them all the support you can offer. However, there are certain things you shouldn't do:

  • Don't get upset or lose hope: Relapse is often a standard part of the addiction recovery process. It's more than possible to recover from a relapse and reach sobriety again. If you show negative emotions, it can make your loved one feel unsupported and prevent them from seeking the treatment they need.
  • Don't assign blame or get angry: Blaming your loved one for their relapse and getting mad at them for it will only make the situation worse, and they may feel discouraged from seeking treatment. Instead, you should try to react calmly and offer support.
  • Don't make excuses: On the other side, you shouldn't make excuses for your loved one's relapse. Recognizing that there is an issue can help you encourage your loved one to seek help.
  • Don't push: You should encourage your loved one to seek treatment, but don't push them too hard. It can make them resistant to treatment, and ultimately, it should be their decision to seek treatment and make plans for their recovery.
  • Don't dismiss the problem: Relapse can sometimes seem like a one-time thing from people standing on the outside. However, it's essential not to ignore your loved one's behaviors. Avoid enabling them to relapse again or allowing them to become codependent.

By stopping yourself from taking part in these behaviors, you can instead offer support and care to your loved one during their recovery process.

9 Things You Should Do for Someone Who's Relapsing

Your loved one will need plenty of encouragement and support during their recovery process. If a loved one in your life is going through a relapse, you can take steps to help make their recovery process smoother. Here's what to do when your loved one relapses:

1. Remain Positive

Keeping a positive mindset will help your loved one feel supported during this challenging time. Know that relapse is a normal part of the recovery process, and achieving sobriety again is possible.

2. Offer Your Support

A support network is vital for the recovery process. If your loved one can rely on you for support during this time, they'll feel more motivated to seek treatment after a relapse.

3. Educate Yourself

You can support your loved one by educating yourself on the signs of relapse so you can spot the symptoms sooner, offer your support and help them seek therapy before the relapse becomes severe.

 

 

4. Find Professional Treatment

If your loved one is going through a relapse, finding a professional treatment center for them can help take some of the burdens off their shoulders. Having a treatment plan set up can help streamline the process once they decide to pursue treatment.

5. Encourage Support Groups

Support or therapy groups can be an excellent way for your loved one to connect with other individuals with the same experiences. They're also a perfect tool for holding someone accountable and preventing relapse.

6. Identify Triggers

If you can identify your loved one's triggers, you can prevent them from being exposed or help them through the situation. If bars trigger their drinking, you help them find another location to spend time at, such as a coffee shop.

7. Enjoy Sober Activities Together

Someone who went through addiction might need to find new activities for occupying their newfound free time. You can enjoy enriching activities, such as hiking, yoga and meditation. These hobbies are great for physical and mental health and can create a healthy outlet for loved ones recovering from addiction.

8. Set a Healthy Example

One of the best ways you can help a loved one going through relapse is to establish a healthy standard for them. Take care of yourself during this time and participate in healthy activities so your loved one can look at your behavior as an example.

9. Open a Line of Communication

You should discuss your feelings with your loved one to show that you care and that you're empathic about their situation. Be careful not to blame them, but let them know how this affects you and that you're here for them if they need support. Knowing how you feel can encourage your loved one to seek treatment for their relapse.

When to Get Professional Help

You can look out for certain signs that might indicate that professional help and treatment are necessary. These signs include:

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Disinterest in hobbies or passions
  • Hostility when asked about substance use
  • Denial when confronted by friends and family
  • Absences or poor performance at work or school
  • Lack of self-care, such as bad hygiene
  • The appearance of mental health symptoms after treatment
  • Staying out at bars or parties

While not all of these signs can indicate a relapse, it's essential to be aware of these signs and talk with your loved one and a professional to determine if further treatment is necessary.

Treat Relapse at Transformations By The Gulf

If someone you love has struggled with addiction in the past, there's a chance they might relapse, but there's no need to worry. Relapse is a normal part of recovery for many people, and it's possible to overcome relapse, even if it happened after rehab.

At Transformations By The Gulf, we help our patients free themselves from addiction with the structure and skills they need to transform their life. If a loved one is struggling with an addiction or you're worried about a relapse, contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs in Florida.