An important finding from research conducted by addiction professionals Bob Navarra and Eve Ruff is that separation and divorce rates are at least four times higher among addicts than those for the general population. Addiction is a killer to intimate relationships because of increased levels of negativity and hostility. Plus, it also does not help that addicts have trouble with communication.
As far back as 1997, it was determined in a long-term study of alcoholics, which was conducted by Humphreys, Moos, and Cohen, that short-term interventions do not have a significant impact in the long-term.
And when evaluating AA members and addict outpatients, it was determined that the quality of family relationships ensures a greater likelihood of recovery. To summarize the findings, alcoholism recovery relationships were found to be of paramount importance.
The Role of Family in Recovery
Never underestimate the power of relationships after alcohol rehab. Following a few weeks in rehab, there is a major risk of relapse in the first year. Quite simply, an alcoholic’s mind requires many months to get used to existing without alcohol and in overcoming their cravings, which they will definitely experience on multiple occasions.
Crucially, it must be pointed out that alcohol cravings do not last indefinitely during the first year of recovery. But they will appear from nowhere and force an addict to endure a difficult period that could last up to 30 minutes. By having family support and feeling confident of discussing their feelings, an addict can give them a call and tell them that you are having a difficult time. This will help them to get through the short-term cravings and they will subside.
Addicts who do not integrate their family into the recovery process are at the greatest risk of relapsing once they go through detox. They will have not given their family the chance to familiarize themselves with their thinking, nor will they have given their family realistic expectations for the immediate future. As a result, their family cannot lend quality support to help the addict.
Thankfully, family therapy in alcohol addiction is not as rare as it was in the early 200s, as was found in research by SAMHSA/CSAT. The research also concluded that family therapy needed to feature more prominently in treatment because it made all member aware of each other’s needs, in turn fostering an environment for attaining healing that would endure over time.
Family therapy can help to successfully beat alcohol because it encourages everyone to change for the greater good. As a result, a support network is created for the addict. Therefore, they are more likely to continue through their journey and be less prone to relapse.
Recovering from Addiction as a Couple
All of the support that families and friends can lend to addicts can be a tremendous help for when they need to handle issues in an intimate relationship with a partner. For an addict who stops drinking and then attends counseling sessions or AA meetings, they are undergoing reawakening that can be exhilarating. They are essentially rediscovering themselves as a person and finding out the potential they could unlock.
Understandably, the elation for addicts is welcomed because it can provide inspiration for them to continue their recovery from alcohol dependence. However, it can place a great strain on their non-addict partner who is witnessing their loved one embark on an exciting journey that they are not part of. Moreover, they might be spending a lot of time away from home.
Alcoholics will often be removed from their families by spending lots of time drinking away from home. Naturally, a non-addict partner, who is unaware of the intricacies of recovering from alcohol addiction, might expect their partner to spend more time at home after giving up the substance. However, this might be a realistic expectation because they have regular counseling sessions or AA meetings to attend during evenings.
To remedy that issue and any others, Navarra and Ruff advocate couple recovery. Rather than isolate the addict from their partner, they suggest that the couple undergoes counseling to work through their issues. This is consistent with the holistic approach to addiction, which seeks to determine the mental and environmental factors that fuel the behavior of addicts.
In defining couple recovery, Navarra and Ruff say that there are three recoveries to consider in that treatment approach. Alongside the addict’s recovery, there is also the partner’s recovery and the relationship’s recovery. By providing treatment from every angle, couples stand a greater chance of surviving recovery. To conclude, interpersonal relationships must be considered in recovery from alcoholism.