Dating a recovering addict or alcoholic certainly has its ups and downs, but it’s not impossible to make the relationship work, especially if you shared a life before the addiction took its toll. One of the biggest concerns that people have, however, is whether or not their loved one will relapse. This is a valid concern, considering that 40-60 percent of people relapse within their first year.
Relapse is common in early recovery because the brain is still recovering. Drug and alcohol use changes the brain chemistry, causing the addict to view substances as more important than anything else – including survival itself. People will risk their lives to continue using substances and are particularly drawn to them, and this doesn’t stop just because a person enters drug rehab in Phoenix.
Treatment is the beginning of the journey, but it’s not the end. People in recovery still have a long road ahead of them, and relapse is a hurdle for some of them. While each situation is unique, we will try to address the topic of dating a relapsed addict as best we can based on what an average situation looks like.
Remember, Relapse is Not a One-Time Event. It’s a Process.
Many people think that relapse is a one-time event that happens out of the blue. But it’s actually a process. If you’re aware of each stage, it’s possible to intervene and stop the process from continuing.
Here is a breakdown of the three stages of the relapse process and the signs and symptoms to watch for.
This is the initial phase in the relapse process and it involves negative feelings like discontent and defensiveness. The person is not actively thinking about using drugs and alcohol, but their emotions and behaviors could be putting them at risk for relapse.
The next stage in the process is when the person starts feeling conflicted about sobriety. On one hand, they feel tempted to use. On the other hand, they know the damage it will cause. This phase sometimes includes glamorizing substance use as well.
The last stage is when the person slips and uses drugs or alcohol. Ignoring the first two stages eventually sets the person up for failure. Without some type of intervention, the person becomes defenseless against their addiction.
Why it’s Important to Understand the Relapse Process
When you made the decision to stick by your partner, you took on some responsibility as well. While you don’t have control over what your partner does, you can be a positive influence on their recovery. And part of this is knowing when your partner may be headed for trouble.
If you notice any of the signs of a potential relapse, you can talk to your partner and get them help. They may do just fine by increasing their 12-step attendance or they may need some time in outpatient treatment in Phoenix to get back on their feet. By getting help early on, you can prevent physical relapse and the repercussions that come with it.
Keep in mind that relapse does not mean that treatment did not work. Treatment is effective, but people need varying levels of therapy to overcome their struggles. Relapse also does not mean failure. It’s a bump in the road, but with prompt outpatient rehab in Phoenix, the person can get back on board and sober again.
What Happens if My Partner Does Relapse?
Whether it’s because the initial warning signs were missed or your partner does a good job of hiding their true feelings, what do you do when a physical relapse occurs?
First and foremost, get your partner help right away. While relapse is not ideal, it is common and treatment centers know how to deal with these setbacks. With swift treatment, your partner can get back on track with their goals. The work done so far is not lost. Time spent in substance abuse treatment in Phoenix continues to build on itself.
Here are some more tips to help you navigate this challenging time with your significant other or romantic partner:
- Educate yourself on addiction. Relapse does not have to happen, but unfortunately, it occurs in about half of cases. Remind yourself that addiction is a chronic disease, and recurrence does happen for some addicts.
- Be there to offer empathy. Avoid shaming or blaming your loved one. Relapse is not their choice. What’s important is that your partner came to you and was honest.
- Seek professional help. Relapse can be a crushing feeling on both ends. But you did nothing wrong. Get help for yourself as well so that you can work through your feelings and avoid blame.
- Practice good self-care. It’s also important to continue taking care of yourself. While addiction is treatable, not everyone has an easy road to sobriety. At the end of the day, you only have control over yourself.
- Be prepared for emergencies. If you’re choosing to stand by your partner, make sure you’re prepared for emergencies. For example, a naloxone kit is FDA-approved and easy to administer. It can save your partner from an opioid overdose.
- Encourage treatment. Always, always advocate for treatment. Drug and alcohol rehab in Phoenix is available in many forms, so your partner does not have to go back to intensive treatment. They can pursue a convenient and affordable outpatient program instead.
Know When to Walk Away
We are not relationship experts. Leaving someone is a very personal decision that involves many factors, and we encourage you to talk to someone if this is going through your mind. That said, it’s important to recognize when a relationship is no longer healthy.
If your health is suffering or you’re being taken advantage of, it’s probably time to detach yourself from the relationship. If your significant other gets clean and stays clean, you can always revisit your relationship. But you should not let your own health deteriorate for another person.
Continuum Recovery Center offers holistic outpatient addiction treatment in Phoenix. We commonly work with couples and families and recognize addiction as a family disease. To learn more about the varying levels of treatment offered at our facility, contact our admissions team today.