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Being Supportive Of Your Partner: After Rehab

Brenda Munnerlyn, RN, BSN

Medically reviewed by

Brenda Munnerlyn, RN, BSN

February 18, 2019

After a partner completes rehab, it may be difficult to get back into the swing of things again because they have likely changed while in treatment. It is important to be supportive of their recovery while not compromising one’s own health.

When a rehabilitation program comes to an end, it will be both difficult and exciting to have your partner back within everyday life. The experiences he has had within several sessions of therapy and the skills he has picked up while in his program will help him get back to a daily routine that is drug-free. By now his body is completely flushed of the substance that kept him hooked and though the addiction will remain forever, he has changed in a number of wonderful ways.

Relationships can often contribute negatively to an addiction or a respective recovery. With all of the stresses that come naturally within a relationship, it is that much harder to find trust, security, and a future within a relationship that is tainted by drug abuse.

More than anything, finding that you’re able to stay with your partner through the roughest times, could prove to be the saving grace in his addiction. A partner, a support that is sure to keep emotional spirits up, can propel someone from the point of not wanting to seek help, toward the point of enter and completing treatment willingly. This is because many times, one who is dependent on drugs sees their life as hopeless. They find that what has happened has disrupted the course of their life and they feel as though it will never be repaired again. Often a new relationship can give hope to one who thought that their life was as good as over. And if the relationship is not new, it can still provide an image of the future to the one who is seeking help for their addiction.

Partners In Everyday Life

As partners in this elaborate world of recovery, we must be ready for life to restart once our mate is back from their treatment program. Perhaps your partner will have been gone for quite some time, making his reintegration into society a bit more difficult. You should know what a great success it is merely to get through detoxification, let alone an entire treatment program, and be out and ready for life to begin once more. What your partner has been through and what you have been through have made it so that there is a new foundation on which to rebuild your love for one another.

Rebuilding trust and making sure that your relationship can survive and take a backseat to his recovery is very important. Though you and he must have your moments to get better, any stressful points could trigger the negative emotions associated with his addiction. This is something to dwell on if you feel a first spat after rehab coming on. Keep in mind that in order to stay together, he needs to be clean. But if the emotions run high in your relationship and they cause him to lose his balancing act, the relationship will suffer once more. Cycles are hard to break, choosing your battles is much easier and can end up keeping the two of you stronger in the long run.

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Keeping Your Head Up

Of course it is going to be tough when your partner gets home to feel instantly better about the past. No one would expect for the issues and struggles to magically melt away during his treatment program. That being said, he is now used to being an active therapy-goer, whether his treatment was inpatient or outpatient. It could benefit both of you to enter couples therapy for the purpose of getting everything back on track and making sure he can be open with you about what he is feeling and where he wants to go with his recovery and with you.

Love was never meant to be perfect and unyielding, which is why it sweeps us off our feet, showing us the balance between the good and the bad in all its romance. We feel so happy because we are able to feel so sad and in feeling this, the comparison is great and meaningful. When your love returns to your life, it is time not to forget what has happened, rather to strengthen what can be and be ready for a lovely, drug-free future.

As for yourself on this long journey, it is always a good thing to take time for yourself and not jump right into a codependent situation with your partner. Maybe you live together or are married, so seeing one another on a daily basis is inevitable; regardless of this, being able to avoid any volatile situations and also having moments together that are more meaningful than the simplicity of everyday life in one another’s presence, can make for wonderfully stress-free moments. Try going on dates or planning movie nights at home. Building that happiness and looking forward to those moments can sweeten what may have soured long ago.

Holding Your Partner’s Hand

Your mate will return to life and will likely be nervous, feeling as though he will never be able to make his life right again. He may lack the confidence he needs to continue on his journey to everlasting sobriety and he may also still have the bodily addiction that eats away at his mind while he tries so desperately to ignore it. These things and many more come with the struggles of new recovery. As a partner or a mate, you can make your job to subtly help lessen the stress and nervous feelings as he enters life a new and clean man.

Pressures will build—as they do in normal life—that may cause a tip in the scale that is your partner’s newly-balanced mind. Help alleviate some of these woes by making suggestions that could get him back on track and thinking rationally. Make note of why he is acting in a way that may seem disproportionate to the issue at hand. Maybe you think it isn’t so hard to make a few phone calls and set up a doctor appointment. He, however, will still have the thought processes of one whose brain is swimming in a sea of drugs. It may not be as simple for him to pick up the phone and make the call. He may be nervous for many reasons, or maybe his focus just isn’t as sharp as yours.

Here are some situations that could arise now that your partner is home, and some ways in which you may help solve them:

Finding Work

  • Your Partner: finds it hopeless; thinks he’ll never get a job he can be proud of; may have legal problems that affect his ability to be hired; worries about jumping into a 9-5 schedule with all of its stresses
  • You: must help in the search; make idea lists of possible industries and jobs for him; bring him to job fairs where he may be hired right away; work on probationary issues to have records cleared; suggest part-time work until his comfort levels return

Having A Life

  • Your Partner: wants to have fun but worries about how and with whom; thinks he is ready to go out and join the nightlife again; stays home and does very little in terms of fun
  • You: know exactly who the people are who shouldn’t be a part of his life; make sure he knows that certain people could threaten his sobriety; help him bounce back while having clean, sober fun; replace nightlife with date nights and hang out with other couples instead

Being Responsible

  • Your Partner: knows he isn’t focusing properly; thinks he isn’t ready to take on normal responsibilities; feels worthless when he messes something up; doesn’t want to let you down but feels he sometimes cannot help it
  • You: have to let some things go; help him continue his cognitive behavioral therapy; pick up some slack until he regains the strength of mind to do it all himself; never allow for him to not be responsible, as it only leads to bigger problems; help him make a schedule and stick to it

Getting Some Help Along The Way

There are many potential bads that will come out of all of this good. Knowing that the stress of your partner’s current situation is much lighter than that of his past should make the struggle a bit easier. Working through the issues you will encounter will help him as he faces the horrible monster within him that he must fight for the rest of his life. You will be his biggest help, so long as you know where your relationship sits in back and his sobriety takes the front seat.

For more help with recent recovery or to find a treatment program near you, contact, and get the answers you need.

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