Substance abuse treatment is usually an independent process. People typically don’t go to rehab with their friends or drinking buddies. Couples are sometimes an exception. Couples who are deeply committed to their relationship and to their recovery may be able to successfully enter rehab together.
Some addiction treatment centers offer couples rehab programs that are targeted towards people in romantic relationships. However, the vast majority of treatment programs are not designed for couples specifically, but they can tend to the needs of committed and motivated individuals who are in a relationship.
Is Substance Abuse Treatment for Couples a Good Idea?
In some circumstances, it can be a great idea for couples to go to rehab together. Couples who are motivated to get sober, committed to their relationship, and independent enough to set healthy boundaries can benefit immensely from going to rehab with their significant other. However, not all couples are suited for this kind of treatment.
It’s a bad idea to go to rehab with a significant other if:
- There is a history of physical abuse – In cases of abuse and aggression, both partners certainly need help, but getting help at the same facility may not be ideal. The victim of the abuse may be unable to open up about his or her difficulties in front of the abuser. He or she may need time away to heal and decide whether or not this relationship is something they really want. At the same time, the abuser can benefit from an anger management or domestic abuse program.
- One partner is not serious about getting sober – One reason why experts warn against going to rehab with a romantic partner is the risk for relapse. If one partner is not fully dedicated to the idea of getting sober, it could negate the point of treatment altogether. And, if one partner relapses, it could trigger a relapse in the other partner.
- The individuals struggle with codependency or toxic behaviors – Codependency can cause one partner to focus more on their loved one’s recovery than their own sobriety. This can lead to relapse and problems within the relationship. Also, if other forms of abuse such as emotional or financial abuse are involved, individuals may benefit from going their separate ways for rehab.
These potential risks make many treatment programs hesitant to admit couples to a drug rehab program together. Instead, treatment programs often promote separation during rehab so both parties can focus on their individual healing.
What is Couples Rehab Like?
Couples who go to rehab together generally participate in the same therapies and activities as they would in a regular addiction treatment program. Some couples’ treatment programs will allow both individuals to live together, however, most will have separate housing facilities for men and women, so same-sex couples often have to live on different premises.
Treatment usually starts with a medical detox program. Detox involves support groups, medical monitoring, and prescription medications that reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Couples typically have to detox separately.
After detox, couples may attend inpatient or outpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment may only allow couples to spend time together during couples therapy sessions, small group sessions, or supervised down-time. Outpatient treatment, however, gives couples more freedom and flexibility. Individuals can spend as much time together as they want as long as they are attending their therapy sessions. The only downside to outpatient rehab for couples is that there is no supervision, so if one partner relapses, the other could be susceptible to relapse, too.
Behavioral Therapy for Couples Struggling With Drug Addiction
Behavioral therapy is at the foundation of substance abuse treatment. It aims to help individuals recognize maladaptive behaviors and relapse them with healthier coping skills and thought patterns. Two types of behavioral therapy that are often used to treat couples affected by drug addiction include:
- Behavioral Couples Therapy (BCT) – BCT helps reconstruct dysfunctional relationships by introducing healthy habits into couples’ daily lives. It can reduce substance abuse and miscommunication among couples.
- Family Therapy – Family therapy is an approach that acknowledges how addiction affects every member of an affected family–including romantic partners and children. It can help repair familial relationships that have been damaged as a result of drug abuse.
Goals and Benefits of Drug Rehab for Couples
Couples who struggle with addiction often go to rehab together with more goals in mind than just overcoming their addictions. Couples will receive therapy for and learn about a variety of topics, such as:
- Healthy communication skills
- Parenting skills
- Cooperation on work and financial issues
- Coping skills
- Cooperative decision making
As long as both individuals are dedicated to each other and to their own individual recovery, there are many ways couples can benefit from going to drug rehab together. For example:
- When both individuals in a relationship seek help, it can reduce cycles of domestic violence or emotional abuse
- Individuals can learn how to reduce negative behaviors by replacing them with rewarding activities that can be done together
- Both individuals have an opportunity to deal with relationship issues that may have been masked by drugs and alcohol
- Couples therapy can reduce the chances of the relationship ending
- Couples with children can go through family therapy to reduce the effects of addiction on their children
- Individuals in committed relationships can motivate each other and be positive influences that encourage and reinforce sobriety
Find The Right Drug and Alcohol Rehab Program for You and Your Partner
Couples can successfully recover from addiction and support one another on the road to recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, give us a call. We can help you find the right treatment program for your needs.