Strengthening a Relationship after Addiction Relapse

When your loved one suffers from an addiction relapse, the effects can be devastating for your entire family. Trust may be broken and emotions will definitely run high. You may feel anger that they could do this and guilt that you did not see it coming. Of course, your loved one will be battling their own sets of feelings as well. But following a few key steps can help you keep yourself strong and restore the balance in your relationships.

Take Care of Yourself

Although it may seem selfish to make sure your needs are taken care of, it is actually one of the most important things you can do. If you do not take care of yourself, you will be in no position to help your loved one. Participate in group meetings or individual counseling. Take walks, drink plenty of water, and eat healthy. Of course, along with taking care of yourself also means that you worry only about your responsibilities. Your loved one may have to deal with the potential consequences and fall out of the actions of their relapse. You will not do anybody any good-them or yourself-if you try to fix the problem for them.

Keep the Accountable

The best way to work with your loved one as they climb back to sobriety after a relapse is to help keep them accountable. While you certainly cannot make choices for them, you can hold their feet to the fire. Decide upon a set of agreed rules to rebuild trust that work for both of you. Perhaps you want them check in with you several times during the day, or maybe you simply want them to call you if they are going to be home late. Whatever you agree upon together, hold each other accountable and do not be afraid to have a difficult conversation if they are not following through.

Counsel Together

Your loved one may be struggling with the effects of their relapse just as much, if not more, than you are. Take this opportunity to seek counseling, therapy, or any other type of outside intervention together. Sitting in a session with your loved one sends a clear message to them that you have not given up. On the flip side, when they agree to go with you, they acknowledge you are just as important to the healing process as they are.

Do Not Fight

You have the right to your feelings over the relapse, just as your loved one has a right to theirs, but yelling, placing the blame, and fighting about the situation will not do anything to change it, nor will it relieve any tension. In some situations, the emotions immediately following a relapse may be so difficult to process that it may be better to not even mention the relapse to each other.

Make the Commitment

Now, more than ever, both you and your loved one need to reinforce your commitment to each other. It is easy to feel lost, vulnerable, and alone in the midst of a relapse. But, this is not a time you can afford to close yourself off. While you may not feel completely at ease with your loved one, you both need to make it clear to each other that you are in the relationship for the long haul.

Addiction is a disease. Unfortunately for you and your family, it is something you may always have to deal with. Knowing there is a way to work through the consequences of a relapse can leave you in a stronger situation. Relapse does not have to tear your family apart; in fact, you can strengthen your relationship based on how both of you handle the situation.