Not everybody has gone through what you went through.
The long hours awake at night. Wondering if your loved one will make it home. The fear of not knowing where they are. Or maybe the loneliness of them being physically there, but not mentally there.
Let’s face it, helping your loved one overcome addiction sucked. It was worth it, but it sucked.
If you are reading this, it is likely the “recovery” is still fresh. You are probably feeling many things right now. Especially the desire to keep going strong. Well then, today we will provide you with 3 tips for living with a recovering addict.
Tip #1 – Live For Each Day
The past (however long it was) is in the past. Let’s keep it there. Remember that every day brings something new. That may sound scary for you, but the fact that your loved one wanted to change is good. Their recovery will be more joyful if they can spend it with you. As Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did.”
The time that was spent helping your loved one go through the initial recovery is over. You have made it to the point where the addiction isn’t present every day. Nevertheless, what you do have is a loved one that is in recovery. Their future self will thank you when the time is right. But remember that it is important to live your life now. Try hard to spend time with them. Let them know you care and that you want a good life with them.
Life isn’t living if you do it worrying all the time. Try and find activities that make you happy. Also, try and find activities that you both can do together. It is like your relationship is starting anew. It is a joyful time of life. Full of the unknown as to what the future may hold. Work hard every day as to not live in the past. Understand, that if a relapse happens it isn’t your fault. If a relapse does happen, then know you aren’t alone. You can always reach out for help. Here at White Tree Medical, we stand ready to help anyone in need with drug or alcohol addiction recovery.
Tip #2 – Keep Open Communication
Open communication in a relationship is always important. However, when it comes to being in a relationship with a recovering addict it can be hard. For so many years that person has kept a lot of what they did a secret. Remember when you found out they were an addict? Yeah, it was difficult. Remember trying to get them to seek help? Yeah, that was difficult too. It just seems like communicating always brought on arguments. Well now that they are in recovery, it can be different.
It is important to share with your loved one how you feel. Try starting off by setting ground rules. You express how you feel and then let them express how they feel. If they aren’t in the mood for talking then try asking if it is ok that you express yourself. After some time communication should begin to build. When there is open communication there is less space for deceit. Also, it is good to remember that your loved one may have fear of communicating because they were always judged. Make a sincere attempt to come together. Create a safe space where communication can happen. After all, you are still with your loved one because you love them. Try making it better for the both of you.
Tip #3 – Learn To Trust Again
Trust once it has been broken can be hard to rebuild. When we trust someone we care about we give them all we have. Our time, energy, emotions and love. We share it with them and they share it with us. Breaking trust can be the hardest thing to bear in life. That is why it is so important to rebuild that trust. A relationship can only truly flourish if there is trust.
Rebuilding trust can take time. For many people, it can take years. Don’t let that make you despair. After all, you did stay with your loved one through their recovery process. You must still love them on some level, or you would have left long ago. Remember they are a human as well. They have feelings and they probably want to find a way to gain your trust again.
If you first apply the second tip on keeping open communication then you can find a space to talk about trust. It is important that you express your feelings. Also, hear what they have to say. Maybe you did something wrong to hurt that trust also. In fact, that is probably the case. In every relationship, there is at least two people involved. Nobody is perfect. It is likely that you will need to do some rebuilding also.
Here is a link to the process of rebuilding trust in a relationship from Psychology Today.
To sum up what they say. Here are the steps to that process:
- Forgive yourself.
- Forgive the other person.
- Trust yourself.
- Trust the other person.
There is no timeline as to when this will be accomplished. But don’t give up. Live each day to its fullest. Remember you are important, your loved one is important and your relationship is important. After all, all the best things in life are the best when done with a loved one.