Drug and alcohol addiction affects 23.5 million Americans today, which is why some facilities have started to offer rehab for couples. The decision to enter rehab is a scary and overwhelming one for many, and going through it with a partner can be very comforting. Couples rehab may also provide that extra motivation to people who don’t want to be separated from their partner during treatment.
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Signs Rehab for Couples Might Be a Good Idea
Partnerships where both individuals are struggling with addiction are more common than one can imagine. According to data of the National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center, women who abuse drugs or alcohol are more than twice as likely as men to be with someone who also does. If drug use or drinking is the only fun thing in the relationship, substance use leads to domestic violence, or the partners need to be high or drunk to talk to each other or show affection, this may mean rehab for couples is a good idea. These are far from the only signs of addiction in a relationship, but they are the clearest. Some problems outlined below develop on top of the negative addiction effects, making use more complicated and frequently leading to increased abuse. When it becomes overwhelming, one or both partners might decide to get help from a professional.
Repercussions of Shared Addiction
Shared addiction can have very damaging effects on a relationship, even if the partners make an effort to get it to work. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, frequent effects of shared addiction include neglecting common responsibilities, such as chores or childcare, spending less and less quality time together, and giving up recreational and leisure activities that the partners used to enjoy because of embarrassing situations caused by substance abuse. It comes to a point where rehab for couples on drugs seems like the only viable option not only for the relationship, but also for each separate partner to survive.
What Is to Be Expected at Couples Rehab Centers?
Most rehab programs for couples are based on BCT, short for behavioral couples therapy. A study published in Addiction Science & Clinical Practice showed that drug abuse and marital problems can “cause a destructive cycle, in which each induces the other.” This form of therapy focuses on “restructuring the interactions of the dysfunctional couple” to promote sobriety. This includes a better understanding of what each other’s triggers are and making efforts to avoid them. Usually, therapy programs begin with the partners going through detox separately, after which they start counseling together. Some forms of inpatient couples drug rehab allow a couple to sleep in the same room, while others require separate rooms. Therapy can also take place in an outpatient setting or with one partner as an outpatient and the other as a resident.
Treatment Length at Drug Rehab Centers for Couples
Treatment can continue from one to nine months, depending on the couple and the program. Partners can expect to attend an average of 15 outpatient sessions over a period of up to six months. Making a “recovery contract” is an important part of BCT. This is where the partners promise each other not to take drugs or drink alcohol and to support his or her sobriety. According to data of the medical journal Science & Practice Perspectives, BCT has resulted in limited substance abuse, increased levels of relationship satisfaction, and reduced instances of domestic violence. The journal also reports that couples rehab produces more effective results than individual counseling. Many studies confirm these findings.
The Outcome of Drug Rehab for Couples
Partners who have a strong relationship and are equally committed to eliminating drugs from their lives can expect excellent outcomes. The most important element of having couples in therapy together is motivation. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that an individual’s motivation to recover from drug abuse is a vital element in therapy, making him or her more likely to complete treatment. This motivation is strengthened in couples rehab if they constantly reaffirm their mutual engagement with therapy and their commitment to one another. Couples therapy has advantages for both partners, such as limiting the risk of relapse, even if only one of them is abusing drugs or alcohol.
When is Couples Drug Rehab Not Recommended?
Behavioral Couples Therapy should not be attempted in relationships with a history of domestic abuse. Moreover, codependent couples may find it challenging to seek treatment together because the more passive partner might find it difficult to speak her mind out of fear of the other person’s reaction, or become more focused on her partner’s recovery than on her own. In some cases, a relapse by one partner might lead the other partner to relapse as well. It is of paramount importance that the patient be in a drug-free environment, because the risk of relapse is most severe during the stabilization period. Both people in couples rehab must be equally committed to a life without drugs. In cases where the individuals have issues that must be dealt with separately, separate living quarters may be arranged. This includes, above all, serious medical or psychological issues.
Different Rates of Recovery
In rehab for couples, the individuals often recover at different rates, and can end up out of sync. A partner who is moving faster may begin to resent his or her significant other, or one who is recovering more slowly may start suffering from a sense of failure. In these cases, rehab experts recommend individual courses of treatment for partners setting out on the road to recovery. The situation can involve therapy and communication with them together if they are committed to making the relationship work. A regular schedule could include several joint therapy sessions a week and the option to visit one another. Otherwise, the partners would remain in separate parts of the facility in the case of couples’ inpatient rehab or even separate buildings for the main components of the program.
Couples Drug Rehab Facilities
An individual recovery program is a prerequisite for successful addiction treatment of couples. Drug and alcohol addiction treatment facilities that offer couples rehab must have specialized programs. The clinician who operates a couples treatment program must have extensive training in marriage counseling and sexual issues. Below are some details about receiving treatment at two facilities offering rehab for couples.
Stepping Sober Recovery Center offers rehab for married couples and partners and coed housing. Treatment starts with inpatient care or detox, usually in a hospital-type setting, and continues for a month. The next step is “day and night” treatment, which is like residential treatment, except the housing and clinical office are in different locations. Stepping Sober offer this treatment in a less strict environment, giving clients more independence. The third stage is intensive outpatient treatment, which is four days a week on average, for three hours each day. At this stage, clients start looking for work, buy their own food and other necessities, and go to 12 step meetings. The fourth stage of treatment is outpatient care, which takes place in a group setting two days a week. The clients have weekly meetings with their individual therapist. Therapy concludes with this stage, which is aimed at reintroducing the individuals into society with the tools and mechanisms of coping they need to live without using drugs.
The Treatment Center
The Treatment Center is a couples rehab facility, which recognizes that every couple, just like every individual, is unique. Their experienced medical staff work directly with couples to get a good grasp of the toxic elements of their relationship and develop a focused plan of treatment to make sure each couple receives personalized care. At this facility, couples can learn new methods of communication, develop accountability tools for maintaining long-term recovery, and practice strategies for adjusting unhealthy behaviors. Specific treatment strategies for partners include medically supervised detox, nutritional education, 24-hour patient monitoring, and addiction counseling. The program for drug rehab for married couples is aimed at rebuilding a relationship by instilling hope that it will work and grow.
The Aftermath of Drug Rehab for Couples
Drug abuse affects relationships in ways that make it hard to go back to the way things were before it started. The risk of relapse is always there even after undergoing rehab, and some emotional injuries cannot be taken back. In addition, the partners might have developed relationship habits that need to be reversed, such as facilitating substance use or becoming codependent on the other person’s substance abuse. If this isn’t achieved, it will be less likely for the partners to recover. This is why one of the main goals of joint therapy in rehab is to help people develop a new relationship standard, including new ways of communicating, and spending time together doing new things that support abstinence. These new behaviors take time to learn, but they can improve a relationship and give the partners ways to maintain a strong bond by supporting each other to maintain sobriety.
A Relationship without Addiction
Alcohol and drug addiction can cause relationships to spiral into depths that neither partner could have imagined were possible. Sometimes people with substance use disorder recognize the visible manifestations of the way dependence has taken a toll on their lives, and these are supplemented by the ever-lingering realization that the desire for drugs is killing them on the inside too. After the initial high is gone, a person feels physically deteriorated and emotionally and mentally drained. Despite the almost insurmountable urge, one always feels the need for change, and the little voice telling them they need professional help cannot be silenced. It is never too late to climb out of the abyss the relationship has fallen in. What people in this situation most often ask themselves is: Will my partner support me?
Life without Drugs
There’s no denying the complexity of addiction. A large number of factors contribute to the drive to abuse a drug or to drink too much. Understanding one’s thoughts about the rehab process is key to successful addiction treatment and recovery. What stops most people from pursuing this option is the doubt in their ability to overcome addiction and being unable to imagine life without one’s substance of choice. After the detox stage, people find they have a lot of free time on their hands. The sheer boredom of this can be crushing. Having a supportive partner can go a long way toward coping in this stage of recovery. If both partners are suffering from addiction, they need to motivate each other to do things that promote sobriety in this period of time instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of the situation. The strength and love partners can offer one another in the process of recovery can be essential. This is a source of motivation, which helps couples recover fully and enjoy life without drugs.