How to Support Your Spouse Through Addiction/PTSD Recovery
Addiction to drugs and alcohol and post-traumatic stress disorder are issues that nobody should have to go through alone. If your spouse is struggling with addiction, PTSD, or both, here are some things you can do to support them as they recover.
Educate Yourself About the Recovery Process
One of the best things you can do to support your spouse is to do some research on your own about the recovery process. Try to learn more about how addiction and PTSD can affect someone so you at least have an idea of what your spouse is going through.
You won’t be able to know everything, since the recovery process is a little different for everyone, but even a little knowledge will put you in a better position to help your spouse when they are in crisis.
Open the Lines of Communication
While you should never pressure anyone into talking about a painful experience, you should make it clear that your spouse can talk to you when they’re ready to do so. It may be difficult for them to open up to you, but be ready to listen to what they have to say.
Avoid Blaming Them for their Past Behavior
When your spouse is ready to open up to you, simply listen to them without passing judgment. They are trying to recover from their past mistakes, and shaming them for said mistakes could be detrimental to their recovery. It’s likely that you’ve been hurt by your spouse’s past actions, but while you can bring this up in the right setting, it can be done in a way that doesn’t blame them for your troubles.
Whether your spouse is recovering from an addiction, struggling with PTSD, or both, remember that it will take time for them to recover. In fact, there is a chance that they will never truly be the same again. It is possible that they will have a PTSD flashback years after they’ve apparently recovered. No matter what happens, remember to be patient.
Take Some Time to Get to Know Your Spouse After Their Recovery
Be prepared to spend some time with your spouse to get to know them again after they’ve recovered. Trauma and drug abuse can make someone seem like a completely different person, so there may be a period of adjustment for both of you after they’ve finished their treatment. Remember that this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You’re seeing your spouse for who they truly are without the influence of drugs and alcohol, perhaps for the first time. Encourage them as they take back their life, but don’t be surprised if they seem like a different person.
Take Care of Yourself
Finally, remember to take care of yourself as you support your spouse. Caring for someone who is struggling with trauma and addiction can be a challenge. If you feel emotionally drained by the experience, don’t hesitate to reach out to someone and ask for help for yourself. Your spouse will need all the help and support they can get, but you need to be able to provide that support without endangering your own well-being.