How to Live with a Recovering Alcoholic

Rehabilitation is merely the first step in a long process, and success rates aren’t guaranteed. Relapse is tragically common for recovering substance abusers, even those committed to quitting and staying sober. Once your loved one gets sober, it can be tempting to believe that the problem has been solved.

living with a recovering alcoholic

Involving partners in treatment—at some point in the process—can be essential in helping treatment succeed. When someone is irritable or experiencing mood swings, they may lash out or become defensive, making communication difficult. This can lead to misunderstandings and disagreements, making it hard to resolve conflicts. With secrecy comes increased lying and deception, so it’s only a matter of time until a loved one begins to notice the differences between fact and fiction. Drugs and alcohol can rewire the brain, disrupting function and leading to dependency. It results in a distorted value system that shifts toward supporting ongoing substance use.

Here Are Some Strategies for Learning to Heal from Trauma Caused by Addiction in Relationships

It’s not uncommon for the friends and family members of recovering addicts to still enjoy recreational substance use, like drinking alcohol when out with friends. This can be fine when out of the house, but to facilitate recovery, stay sober at home. Don’t bring addictive substances into the home, don’t use them in the home and, if you utilize substances while outside the home and away from your partner, do not return home until you are sober. This is true even if your substance of choice is not the same as the source of your friend or loved one’s addiction.

  • This ability to be vulnerable toward each other is the essence of intimacy.
  • In addition, quitting drugs and alcohol also usually comes with mental health conditions, like anxiety or anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure).
  • Another research proved that heavy and frequent drinking increases the risk of domestic abuse.
  • If you’re wondering how to help a recovering alcoholic in your life, help is available.

Our Ohio rehab’s addiction treatment programs will help your loved one lead up to a sober lifestyle. It is very common for addictions to put a strain on the closest relationships in the life of individuals with a substance use disorder. This goes for people who abuse and are addicted to illicit drugs, prescription drugs, and even alcohol. If you live with a recovering alcoholic, you may be concerned about your role in their lives and how it affects their recovery. Social connection, whether it’s through friends, other sober living residents, or your family members, provides assurance that you’re not alone in recovery. Getting sober can be extremely isolating, especially if you come from a home or social circle where drug and alcohol abuse is the norm.

The Realities of Living With a Recovering Addict

For those who aren’t prepared for this, meeting an effectively new person after rehab can be confusing or even concerning. While this transformation is ostensibly a good thing and is inspired by healthy lifestyle choices Top 5 Tips to Consider When Choosing a Sober House for Living versus abuse, a drastic change can lead to frustrations in the household. This can be uncomfortable for everyone — and even stand in the way of ongoing sobriety when reactions don’t align with a healthy way of life.

living with a recovering alcoholic

For example, someone with a gambling problem might learn how to manage urges to gamble by practicing techniques that allow him or her to resist impulses. As a group, they are able to speak about painful emotions and underlying issues in s safe, guided environment. Everyone can work toward a successful recovery and help their loved one live a sober life. The journey of recovery is one for all involved, and chances of success drastically increase if everyone in the family is on the same page. Group therapy allows people to talk openly about these issues and learn how to develop healthy coping skills. In group therapy, everyone shares similar experiences and learns together.

Lasting Effects of Living With an Alcoholic

Remember, proper self-care and support is important for you as well. The major desire of anyone who loves an addict is to see them clean and sober. Many loved ones find themselves disappointed by a recovering addict and the progress that they’ve made, or haven’t made. It is definitely best to avoid disappointment, because the recovering addict will sense that disappointment, which will in turn make them feel hopeless and more likely to relapse. This is because alcoholics have been conditioned to suppress their feelings. As a result, they don’t know how to deal with strong emotions like anger, anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, etc., without drinking.

Addiction is a disease that affects the way a person thinks and reasons. Once it takes hold, satisfying the urge to use or to drink comes first, and people will do anything to get their drug of choice. Addiction has no logic, morals, or reason; it only wants what it wants. It is not a moral failing or lack of willpower – it is a progressive, fatal disease.

This happens because recovery from addiction is necessarily a selfish thing. At first, the newly sober person is flooded with new feelings and sensations, and has a terrible time keeping them from overwhelming him. Guilt and shame over his past behavior make it difficult to let anyone get too close. Even when sobriety is well-established this difficulty can continue to affect all of his relationships.

Should I date someone in AA?

Dating someone who is actively attending AA meetings can be very beneficial for both of you and increases the chances of a successful relationship. They can continue getting help and staying on track as you support them in the process. It is best to at least attend frequent AA meetings to stay sober and clean.

Alexis “Lexi” Thomas serves as Admission Specialist for Burning Tree Programs. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health from the University of Arizona, Lexi lends passion, knowledge, and insight to the admissions process. Treating every inquiry with a sense of tenderness and empathy, Lexi knows first-hand what the family member’s experience of addiction feels like.

How Do I Know if My Teen Is Struggling With Addiction?

No matter the road they have been on or the path they are following now, they deserve your compassion and respect. It’s important to note that trust issues in relationships can often come from both sides. In fact, the person in recovery may suspect their partner is cheating or lying, which may stem from their own self-image challenges or in seeing themselves as worthy of their relationship. Similarly, a person dating a recovering alcoholic or someone in recovery can suspect their partner may have relapsed or lied about other things. Open, honest communication is the only way to work on trust issues. A recovering alcoholic may need to spend more time with other people in recovery groups than with their family for a period of time.

  • It is essential to take care of yourself when living with an alcoholic spouse.
  • On reflection, the last few weeks have been the toughest in our relationship.
  • This tells a recovering addict that you are in it together and you understand.

So if you’re unsure of whether it’s worth all the effort, here are eight amazing benefits of family recovery you can look forward to. However, group healing is still a vital part of the recovery process, and although you may have already completed a family program during drug rehab, it takes continual work to recover from addiction as a family. Refusing to get help for yourself can negatively impact your physical and mental health and you may also have a greater risk for developing a substance use disorder if you try to deal with the above issues on your own. There is no way to predict whether your loved one will relapse or not, but the amount of recovery support they receive plays a direct role in their ability to stay sober.

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Living with other people always calls for balance and understanding to create a safe and harmonious household. When it comes to living with someone with an addiction, though, such goals may be a bit more challenging. By Buddy T

Buddy T is a writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism.

How do you deal with a recovering addict?

  1. Learn about addiction and recovery. There are still many harmful stigmas and stereotypes that prevent countless people from seeking help and achieving sobriety.
  2. Offer substance-free fun.
  3. Vocalize your support.
  4. Listen to them.
  5. Be patient.
  6. Reduce stress.
  7. Be an example.
  8. Set healthy boundaries.

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