Will marriage or relationship problems disappear after sobriety? Most people would answer, “No.” In fact, you can expect there to be more marital tensions to work through after a partner has recovered from addiction. Often, there will be a “honeymoon” phase when both partners are on their best behaviors for each other. After all, you have been through this recovery phase together, and now there seems to be hope for a different future. However, walking on eggshells is not conducive to growth and can cause both partners to suppress things that need to be dealt with together.
Living with a newly recovered spouse can also be quite unsettling because both partners may feel vulnerable or hurt from things said or done in the past. This goes for unmarried couples, as well. There are new expectations, both said and unsaid. Some couples do not really know how to talk with each other. You may harbor unresolved distrust and resentment. While wounds are still healing, you should set new rules in the house. Your relationship and expectations need some adjustment and new healthy boundaries.
Managing a Post-Sobriety Marital Relationship
If you are the partner who has just achieved sobriety, there might be some residual shame about how your addiction has rocked your relationship with your spouse. While you might be appreciative of your spouse’s support during recovery, the cravings and worries about relapse can be disorienting and difficult to bring up. You do not want to disappoint your partner again, which can create serious anxiety and stress.
It is important to recall what you have learned through your treatment center. Remember the principles of long-term recovery: honesty and humility. You can openly communicate with your spouse about your cravings and fear of relapse. That kind of vulnerability can, in fact, strengthen your marriage and provide you with renewed support and accountability. Let them know that you need support to make sobriety sustainable. Do not hide your newly found self from your spouse. Be confident in the fact that if he or she has supported you during early sobriety, that support will be there for the long haul.
Adjusting to a Newly Sober Spouse
If you are the spouse of someone who has recently come through addiction recovery treatment, there are expectations in need of adjustment too. Know that early sobriety does not guarantee long-term recovery. It is normal for a person to feel cravings, so help release your spouse from that sense of shame. Trust might also be a big issue for you, and it might not come back overnight. It takes a lot of effort and determination to enter into a treatment center and finish what the program requires. Acknowledge your partner’s progress and celebrate this important milestone of early sobriety and allow them to earn back your trust
If your partner has been in a 12-step group at the treatment center, it has likely helped them seek honesty and humility, so you should interact with your partner using the same principles. Do not ignore problems but talk openly about them. You can also sit in an ongoing 12-step support group with your partner and encourage them to continue attending.
Early sobriety always leaves a void for a person who used to be addicted. In your marriage post-sobriety, help your partner by filling that void with healthy routines and activities. Do not add to that emptiness with any unkindness or lack of attention. Know their triggers after coming home, and try your best to reduce them.
Making New Rules in the House
Discuss the things that are and are not allowed in the house. For some people, cravings for drugs and alcohol may be replaced by cravings for sweets and chocolates. The entire family might need to discuss whether and when to make the sweet available. To avoid triggers on social occasions, both partners should discuss what kind of social events are okay or not okay to attend.
A marriage or intimate relationship wrecked by addiction needs time to heal and rebuild trust. You and your partner have a lot of emotions to process together, both from past and present events. If necessary, both partners should seek professional help, such as coaching on relationship skills, to alleviate stress on this post-sobriety relationship.
A new beginning or fresh phase in a marital relationship can be both exciting and challenging. But the most important thing is, you and your spouse have chosen to do this together. Allow both of you some time to grow into trust, unity, and mutual accountability. After all, all things good take time to grow and are worth the effort.
Are you ready to rebuild a marriage or an intimate relationship after early sobriety? Getting your marriage back on track after sobriety won’t be easy, but it can be done with commitment, honesty, patience, and a strong support system. You can seek professional help as you work on rebuilding your relationship. Laguna Shores Recovery understands the importance of marriage relationships during treatment. We offer a range of resources and therapies to help couples heal from the impacts of addiction. Schedule an appointment with a licensed mental healthcare professional or therapist at Laguna Shores Recovery today. We believe in holistic and individualistic recovery, and we are here to listen, coach, and walk alongside you. As a complete medical and residential facility, we offer a range of treatments, including diagnosis, behavioral therapies, 12-step programs, and treatment plans. Call us at (866) 229-9923, and we are happy to walk alongside you in a new phase of marriage.