Author: Gary Jackson

Im Sober and My Spouse Is Not Marriage and Sobriety

Recovery is a process of transformation in which we seek to become something greater, healthier, and happier than we’ve ever been. Unfortunately, for as many years as it has taken folks to get into recovery, they’d like to make up for lost time and be all better by next week. Sobriety isn’t a magic answer to all your problems – it only offers you the opportunity to stop making things worse. A person in early recovery often feels like things keep getting worse, but in truth, abstinence just lets you see clearly what a wreckage your life has become. Stephens cites this kind of support as evidence that, with her marriage, she is “one of the lucky ones,” but her husband made it clear that he feels luck was on his side as well. “If I’ve had a great day and I’m really positive, it’s fine.

  • I don’t get much out of the unicorns and bubblegum inspiration about how everyday is perfect in sobriety.
  • I had to be honest about what I needed, and he did his best to provide it.
  • One of the biggest challenges of having a spouse who is not sober is that you may feel like you’re always walking on eggshells.
  • I thought getting sober was the hardest thing I’d ever do until I experienced the damage recovery did to my relationship.
  • He became both my support system and my target and we were utterly codependent as many alcoholics can be (me, not him).

He learned state statutes and regulations, and studied counseling practices from several angles. This eventually led him back to school for a degree in psychology. Lyle was VP of a 6-county homeless coalition and a founding member of the Mental Health Action Team in Miami-Dade County. He has served as a Consultant & Licensure Specialist to numerous facilities and has served as a Drug Court Panel member. He is also a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and the International Substance Abuse & Addiction Coalition (ISAAC).

Active SUD vs. relationships in recovery

Had I not gotten sober, we likely would’ve gone that way as well. He would’ve been well within his right to leave me. I ate when I had to, sometimes drinking until 11 or 12 at night. My husband would hang in there for a few hours but would opt to give his lungs and liver a break and go inside to watch TV on the couch – like a normal person. If the partner living with SUD hasn’t found healthy ways to cope with the trauma or PTSD, then it could begin to affect them in negative ways. Some couples can thrive immediately after the addicted partner becomes sober.

marriage after sobriety

His first experience in treatment was as a cash-pay client in a high-end residential facility that “graduated” him as soon as his money ran out. About 3 months after being sent to a ¾-way home that was overrun with drugs, he relapsed and felt hopeless. Fortunately, a family friend found him a bed at a center for homeless men with addictions. After graduating a year-long program, Lyle felt compelled to give back and began doing service work. Quickly this turned into a passion to help others that led to study the treatment industry top to bottom.

Navigating Marriage After Sobriety

First, attending a family education program offered by a center while my husband was attending its residential program. Those three days informed my understanding of what was happening to Bill and us as a family unit. It reinforced the notion that sobriety was only the first step. At the time, I knew nothing of his substance use disorder. I lived with this conflicted view of the man I loved.

I don’t get much out of the unicorns and bubblegum inspiration about how everyday is perfect in sobriety. And I imagine those posts are insulting to the spouse of an alcoholic in recovery who is dealing with the reality of resentment and distrust. A picture of a sunrise with a snappy caption is an indignity to the couples trying to hold their families together in sobriety. If you’re struggling with addiction, it’s important to seek help from a treatment center like Northpoint Recovery. Addiction treatment can help you get to the root of your addiction and learn how to manage your triggers and cravings.

The Challenges of Having a Spouse Who Is Not Sober

Professional help may also be necessary as you work to rebuild your relationship. The recovering addict needs to focus on sobriety and may not always be able to prioritize the relationship, and his or her spouse must understand this. Of course, the addict’s ability to maintain sobriety will be essential to your ability to maintain the marriage as well. Working through the trauma of addiction will most likely require help from a professional. Seek couples counseling to learn communication strategies, address underlying issues in the relationship, and begin to heal your marriage.

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My partner went to treatment shortly after we started living together. The most challenging decision I had to consider was whether to stay or leave the relationship. Though I did not doubt that we loved each other, the chaos of addiction had eroded our trust in each other, and my life no longer felt my own. In addition, quitting drugs and alcohol also usually comes with mental health conditions, like anxiety or anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure). The partner in recovery may experience irritability and even have angry outbursts.

marriage after sobriety

If I get a whiff of that red wine and I’m having a day where I’m feeling less than, it’s not that I want to drink the wine, but I get this little pang of nostalgia,” said Stephens. One of the ways that a partner can support a person in recovery is to simply have faith in them. Tony’s role in Banks’ recovery work is supportive, but from the sidelines. “I don’t depend on him for my therapy, my recovery,” Banks explained. These days, it’s easier for her to pass when others are drinking.