Are you and your significant other considering going to couples rehab together for alcoholism or addiction issues? If so, please give yourself a massive pat on the back for taking the plunge to recovery. We know it is not easy!
Struggling with substance abuse disorders is challenging enough on your own, but when you and your partner are both in the cycle of substance abuse, it can complicate the situation.
So, can couples go to rehab together? The short answer is: yes, they can. But the bigger question is: should they? Here we will list the pros and cons of seeking substance abuse treatment with a partner and some suggestions to consider if you decide to pursue recovery together.
Standard Terms in the World of Alcoholism and Addiction Treatment
Even thinking about treatment for alcoholism or addiction issues — whether by yourself or with your loved one — can feel overwhelming. It’s almost as if you must learn a new language to navigate the system. Do not let this deter you from recovery. To get you started, here are several standard acronyms providers use when discussing substance abuse disorders.
SUDs: Substance Use Disorders — often used in place of the term “addiction.”
MAT: Medication for Addiction Treatment.
UDS: Urine Drug Screen — also referred to as a “UA” or “urine analysis” and often administered during substance abuse treatment to monitor compliance.
“Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.” –American Society of Addiction Medicine
A Few Words on Level of Care
Level of care refers to the intensity of treatment you receive when you enter substance abuse treatment. This depends on the frequency of your alcohol and/or drug use as well as the severity of your symptoms.
Before entering treatment, a certified addiction specialist will conduct a thorough intake assessment to determine which level of care will be most beneficial for your recovery. As you journey through sobriety, you may move up or down the levels of care according to your individual needs.
Detox: If you have significant withdrawal symptoms, you may need medically managed inpatient detox treatment. People experiencing a mild withdrawal may undergo treatment at a residential treatment facility, which is also known as “sub-acute detox.”
Residential Treatment: This is also known as “traditional rehab.” You live in a residential treatment center (RTC). The length of time you spend here depends on your progress, but generally, RTC stays are around 30 days.
Partial Hospitalization (PHP): PHP is similar to RTC, but you don’t live at the facility and can go home at night. Programming may require a time commitment of five to seven days a week.
Intensive Outpatient (IOP): IOP is a less intense level of care than PHP. It usually occurs three to five days a week, between three to five hours each day.
General Outpatient (OP): Outpatient care can consist of individual therapy sessions, group therapy, and medication management appointments.
For more information on the details of PHP and IOP, read Olympus Recovery’s PHP vs. IOP: What’s the Difference?
Drawbacks of Couples Rehab
Substance Abuse Treatment and the process of recovery are typically an individual journey, and pitfalls can occur if you decide to enter rehab with your significant other. Of course, these depend on the strength of your relationship and its overall health.
Generally speaking, couples abusing alcohol and drugs together have most likely formed toxic behavioral patterns and may have different levels of motivation for recovery.
Some of the major drawbacks of couples rehab, especially when both parties use the same facility or provider, are as follows:
- If one of the partners in couples rehab decides to leave treatment and relapse, the other partner will likely do the same.
- One partner may have co-occurring medical or mental health issues requiring a different level of care and an extended stay in treatment.
- Oftentimes, there is some underlying power struggle or even domestic abuse in the relationship, which affects the success of treatment.
How Codependency Affects Recovery
Codependency exists in relationships when one partner’s self-worth comes from caring for the other partner’s needs. This partner needs to be needed. The relationship, then, consists of a codependent partner and an enabling partner. Throw in severe alcohol or drug use requiring treatment to this mix, and the toxicity level of the relationship increases.
The main drawback to codependency in recovery is that each partner may focus more on the other’s recovery than their own. It is challenging to break this cycle, and as one partner begins to focus on themselves, the other may feel abandoned.
Codependency can occur in any relationship, whether a friendship; a homosexual or heterosexual partnership; or a relationship with a parent.
For more on this topic — including guidance on how to be supportive and supported — visitOlympus Recovery.
Research on Gender and Recovery
This section addresses partners who enter couples rehab and are of the opposite sex. Although gender does not dictate whether someone will stay in substance abuse treatment, there are some significant differences in recovery between women and men.
Women may be dealing with their own complications, such as pregnancy, and often have different communication preferences and emotional needs than men. Research shows that women perceive female-only groups as more beneficial than mix-gender groups.
Same-sex groups often provide a safe space for either sex to talk openly about complex issues such as past trauma or abuse. In addition, group members are more likely to focus on themselves than the opposite sex in the group.
Benefits of Couples Rehab
When a relationship is strong, there are some benefits to couples entering rehab together. One school of thought is that separation from a significant other in substance abuse treatment is a barrier to recovery. If the relationship is healthy, couples rehab at a reputable treatment facility may be the best option for long-lasting sobriety.
Insurance and managed care companies authorize treatment based on medical necessity. Although they may cover couples rehab, if there are multiple relapses and the couple continues entering substance abuse treatment at the same facility together, a denial will likely occur.
Final Thoughts and 5 Suggestions for Success
If you and your loved one are considering couples rehab, it is a possible solution, but it may not be the best idea for long-term sobriety unless your relationship is rock solid.
Here are five suggestions for success in couples rehab:
- Consider entering a separate substance abuse facility from your significant other. Many providers have “sister” treatment options with similar programming and can provide supportive couples counseling. This way, you and your partner can have a connection while focusing on your own recovery.
- Be mindful of codependency issues, and make sure to address these with your drug and alcohol counselor. The focus of your sobriety journey needs to be on you, with a realistic look at the health of your relationship.
- Come up with your individualized relapse prevention plan based on your triggers, and be sure to include some serious self-care in it, apart from your partner.
- Develop a healthy discharge aftercare plan. This may include couples counseling or a family AA/NA group, but you must have most of your support system separate from your significant other.
- Be kind and patient with yourself! Realize that relapse is a part of the recovery journey. Just because you or your significant other slips and returns briefly to alcohol or drug use, there is still hope, and you can get back on the path to healing. Recovery is a process and doesn’t happen overnight.
To learn more about couples rehab and find answers to other questions you have about treatment options, visit Olympus Recovery. You can also speak to one of our admissions counselors by calling (866) 305-7134. We will be more than happy to help!