Addiction does not discriminate.  It can take hold of anyone who gives it a chance.  When an addict is ready for sobriety, it will be one of the toughest things that person will go through.  If the addict is in a relationship, drug rehabilitation will be one of the most difficult obstacles the relationship will encounter.

Drug Rehab

Drug Rehab Can Cause a Third-Wheel Effect

In a relationship, when one partner is recovering from addiction, the non-recovering partner often feels left out – as though they are not a high priority anymore – and this almost always fosters feelings of anger, resentment, or both.  Recovery requires work on one’s self, so the addict is forced to split their efforts between the relationship and recovery, making the other feel like a third wheel.

There’s More Than One Perspective

Well before the drug-using partner reaches out for help, the other partner usually harbors feelings of frustration and despair; they think the addict is irresponsible, undependable, and untrustworthy.  The addict typically thinks the other partner is demanding and unsympathetic.  At this point, reasonable arguments and common ground are far and few between.

One of the keys to a relationship successfully enduring addiction is for both partners to realize that each partner’s perspective is going to be just as different as each partner’s priorities.  The recovering partner’s number one priorities are focused mostly on recovery, as they should be.  While the non-recovering partner will continue to have the same priorities as before, but double the weight on their shoulders because of carrying some responsibilities for the recovering partner.

Give Up but Don’t Give Up

There is bound to be an adjustment period following treatment.  Most non-recovering partners find it hard to give up the control and the responsibilities they’ve had to carry for the other.  There’s a fear that things won’t get done, priorities will be mismanaged, responsibilities will be spurned.  But it’s something that must happen; it’s imperative to successful recovery.  The recovering addict needs to gradually take on the responsibilities and burdens of life once again, slowly if need be.  It’s crucial to the process.  It may take time for the recovering addict to get into the groove again, so both partners must keep at it.

Support groups are part of the recovery process.  But there are also support groups for non-addicts affected by addiction.  They offer advice and emotional support from people who have been affected by addiction, and it’s often with that guidance that the non-recovering partner learns to not be codependent.

An Ongoing Process

In both relationships and recovery, challenges arise, priorities shift, and responsibilities change.  Knowing what to expect and how to manage key issues will lead to successful recovery supporting a healthy and happy relationship.