Seeking recovery can be difficult in the best circumstances, but for couples living with substance abuse disorders, additional challenges may arise. Because support is a vital component of the recovery journey, spouses and romantic partners can have the greatest influence. For couples in active addiction, this can contribute to a cycle of substance abuse and addiction that is deeply ingrained into the dynamics of the relationship itself. Both parties must be committed to the healing process, for themselves and as a couple.
Rehab for couples is focused on helping couples grow together and independently, developing the communication skills and coping mechanisms necessary for a sober, healthy future.
Should Couples Go Through Addiction Treatment Together?
While addiction recovery is a deeply personal choice and journey, couples who struggle with substance abuse may find comfort and support in seeking treatment together. Having a partner throughout the course of care can help one stay focused, providing mutual support when necessary. However, it is important to maintain one’s own motivations and goals.
Codependency and enabling behaviors are common issues for couples in active addiction. Continuous exposure to illicit substances and substance use can make breaking the cycle difficult on one’s own. As part of rehab for couples, both partners work to:
- Set and enforce healthy boundaries
- Develop effective communication and conflict resolution skills
- Learn positive means of self-expression and emotional processing
For couples where only one party is living with an addiction, involving the spouse or partner can help strengthen one’s support network. By helping loved ones better understand the reality of addiction, couple’s therapy can help to reinforce long-term sobriety.
The decision to seek care on one’s own or together is a personal one that should be discussed as a couple. Rehab for couples is a viable option for those who choose to approach the recovery journey together.
The Importance of Individualized Care in Couples’ Rehab
While a couple may enter treatment for drug and alcohol abuse together, recovery is ultimately a personal journey of healing and self-discovery. As such, individual care is the primary focus in addiction treatment, with couple’s therapy acting as a supplement. By emphasizing client-centered care before relationship counseling, this approach focuses on empowering individuals to be better for themselves and each other.
Individual care in couples’ rehab is not unlike other inpatient treatment regimens. During the intake process, both parties are given a full evaluation to determine their specific needs. This allows recovery specialists to identify factors such as co-occurring mental health conditions, multi-substance abuse, and underlying health conditions. This information is then used to develop a personalized recovery plan, so treatment focuses on the client as a person, rather than a cookie cutter approach that allows some to fall between the cracks.
Client-centered care through rehab for couples also allows for self-reflection and personal goal setting. Having personal goals in recovery outside of one’s partner is important to staying focused and on track. While the companionship and support is beneficial, maintaining one’s sense of individuality, personal accountability, and responsibility is paramount to long-term success in recovery.
Is Relationship Counseling Necessary During Treatment?
Relationship counseling for couples seeking addiction treatment together can be quite helpful for both parties. As a disease that affects all aspects of life, interpersonal relationships can be the most heavily impacted. Even for couples experiencing addiction together, trust issues and other relationship concerns may persist. Left unaddressed, these troubles can affect the quality of one’s relationship and ultimately, the ability for a couple to be healthy and supportive of one another through the recovery process.
While relationship and marriage counseling is an optional component in rehab for couples, it is highly encouraged. Beyond addressing potential problems, couples counseling is a great resource for strengthening one’s bond and learning to be a better partner. Some topics that may be discussed include:
- Enabling vs. supportive behaviors
- Anger and stress management
- Conflict resolution as a team
- Effective communication skills
Rehab for Couples Abusing Different Substances
While addiction and underlying trauma may act as a common bond for couples living with drug or alcohol abuse disorders, the substance of choice may not be the same for both parties. That differentiating factor is important to recognize, as it may affect the course of both individual and couple’s therapy. As a part of each other’s support network, it is not enough to only understand one’s own addiction experience. Knowing one’s partners’ triggers and being able to identify potential warning signs of relapse can greatly increase their chances of success.
Likewise, couples with differing forms of substance use disorders must be willing to make the necessary life adjustments for themselves and their partner. This means keeping alcohol out of the home even if only one party has trouble with drinking, or being careful with prescription medication if they may leave one vulnerable to relapse.
Other things to be mindful of:
- Frequenting places associated with substance abuse
- Continuing relationships with those in active addiction
- Symptoms and triggers of underlying mental illness
- Mutual commitment to continued care
What Methods Are Used During Couples Therapy?
Rehab for couples employs the same evidence-based treatment as individual rehabilitation. Some common therapy modalities include:
- Behavioral Couples Therapy (BCT)
- 12-step meetings
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
Behavioral Couples Therapy
Behavioral couples therapy focuses on modifying a couple’s behaviors to help reduce the need for illicit substances. This involves implementation of a “recovery contract”, in which each party agrees to be accountable for themselves and one another. Contract terms include clearly stated intent not to return to substance use and a promise of support from each partner. With these parameters declared, behavioral couples therapy then focuses on setting goals and learning the life skills and tools necessary to fulfill this contract.
The 12 steps are one of the most widely recognized treatment modality in addiction recovery. Often associated with Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, the 12 steps are a series of guiding principles intended to help people improve their lives through recovery. 12 steps for couples calls upon a higher power for strength and direction for one’s self and in the relationship.
Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Medically assisted treatment for addiction recovery is the use of medication to manage withdrawal symptoms, mental health disorders, or underlying health conditions. The most commonly used form of medically assisted treatment is medical detox. This clinically supervised phase of care uses medication to help manage withdrawal symptoms, allowing clients to focus on the psychological aspects of addiction recovery.
Commonly used medications for medically assisted detox include:
Medically assisted treatment is prescribed by a physician as necessary. For some, MAT lasts for a year or more. These longer term treatment regimens are closely monitored by a team of medical professionals to ensure client safety and progress.
Is Coupled Drug Rehab Right for Us?
For couples struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, rehab for couples could pave the way for a brighter, better future. Seeking treatment as a united front provides support through the recovery process from someone who truly understands. Counseling provided through couples rehab reinforces the strengths of one’s relationship while empowering each person with the skills and tools they need to succeed.
At Discovery Point Retreat, our full continuum of care means we are fully prepared to help clients on their path to recovery, no matter the circumstances. We welcome couples to explore life beyond the influence of illicit substances, both for themselves and with each other. Our dedicated team of medical and behavioral health professionals is here to help you thrive through a new life in recovery.
Don’t hesitate– call now to begin your journey today!