Getting sober when your partner is still drinking may seem like an impossible feat. Good advice from those who have gone through the same situation, as well as professional support, can help you find success in your recovery.
You probably have known for a while that your drinking is no longer just to have fun or relax. You have accepted that it is a problem, and you are ready to commit to getting sober. There is just one problem: your partner still wants to drink. Is sobriety even possible if you are living with someone who won’t give up their evening cocktail?
While challenging, this situation is fairly common, and manageable with the right tools and support. Giving up alcohol definitely does not have to mean giving up your relationship, but it does require some shifts to accommodate your sobriety.
Tip 1: Do You – But Be Open About It
The journey to recovery is a highly personal one, and necessitates a keen understanding of your needs as you learn how to navigate sobriety. As difficult as it may sound, try to maintain focus on your drinking – not theirs. Just as you do not want your partner trying to convince you to drink, at this point they are not ready for you to convince them not to.
However, it is extremely important to communicate with your partner about what you need as you’re going through recovery. Be open about what is helpful in terms of support, set strong boundaries, and put yourself first.
Tip 2: Separate Yourself from the Alcohol
Figuring out how to create space between you and alcohol can be difficult when you are sharing your home with a partner who drinks. However, there are a few tricks that can help you create some boundaries and make your home a safe space for your sobriety. First, consider getting a mini-fridge or designating a special cabinet for alcohol in an area of the house that you don’t typically use. This ensures that while there are still drinks around, they are not in your face every time you open the refrigerator. You might also want to make alcohol-free zones in certain rooms or areas of your house where you can get away from any drinking that may be going on.
Consider also talking to your partner about small actions they can take to help you in your recovery. For example, you might ask them to drink out of an opaque cup so you don’t have to actually see the alcohol, or you may want to discuss a drinking limit for the house. Even small changes will help give you a sense of a fresh start around alcohol use that is beneficial for your recovery.
Tip 3: Don’t Be Afraid to Make a Contingency Plan
When you and your partner have divergent thoughts on drinking, navigating parties and other social events can seem complicated, and you may feel pressure to attend as a couple even when you’re not ready. Remember that ultimately your health, which is inextricably linked to your sobriety, is the priority. If you are concerned that going out could put your recovery at risk, take a pass on the party. There is no reason to feel guilty for protecting yourself and your health.
However, if you are feeling confident in your recovery and want to join your partner for a night out, then go for it! Do make sure to have a backup plan in case you feel triggered and need to make a quick exit. For example, you might want to keep the keys and talk to your partner beforehand about taking a taxi home if you need to leave early. No matter what you decide, make sure that you’re comfortable and prepared to put your recovery first.
Tip 4: Revise the Rituals
For those struggling with alcohol addiction, an obvious trigger is the alcohol itself. However, the rituals around it can also be highly triggering when you’re trying to maintain sobriety. You might be wondering what to do around the kitchen counter after work when you and your partner usually pour a cocktail, or how movie nights are going to feel without a few glasses of wine. It’s possible that you can try substituting another non-alcoholic beverage or tasty snack into these routines, which can help provide a sense of comfort and indulgence without the risk to your sobriety.
If you’re finding these experiences too challenging without alcohol, this is the time to create new rituals. Generally these routines are in place to help us de-stress and unwind together with our partner, so the objective when creating new rituals is to find something that you both feel is relaxing. This could be sitting out on the porch with a cup of coffee, cooking, taking an evening walk, or getting out to a yoga class. Include your partner in the process of coming up with new ideas – you may be surprised by what they come up with!
Tip 5: Put Your Feelings on Paper
Communication is key to any relationship, especially when you find yourselves on different sides of an issue. You might find it hard to express exactly how you feel – about drinking, about sobriety, about recovery – but still feel like you need to get it out.
Consider writing a letter to your partner sharing your thoughts and feelings about where you’re at and what you need. Be as honest as you can about what recovery means to you. This can be an incredibly useful exercise not only in helping your partner understand what you’re going through, but also in expressing this experience to yourself.
Tip 6: Consider Inpatient Treatment
Getting sober can be a challenging process even when you are surrounded by support and completely separated from alcohol – it is even more difficult when alcohol is still a part of your household. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to move forward in your recovery, consider seeking inpatient treatment.
Inpatient, or residential treatment provides a safe, supportive therapeutic environment where you will be able to focus completely on your recovery. Inpatient treatment can strengthen and stabilise your sobriety, as well as provide you the tools you need to manage your recovery in a home where alcohol is present.
Make Yourself at Home at The Dawn
The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab offers one of the best Thailand alcohol rehab programmes. It offers onsite medically monitored alcohol detox and therapy is tailored to your specific needs. Together with our experienced, supportive clinical team, you will uncover the root causes of your addiction and develop tools and coping skills to overcome it.
Our unique Twin Pillars approach addresses addiction holistically, blending effective modern psychotherapeutic techniques with proven Eastern wellness practises to heal and strengthen your mind and body.
Alcohol Rehab in Thailand
The Dawn is a resort-like residential rehab centre located on a lush riverbank just outside the city of Chiang Mai. Only an hour’s flight away from the capital city of Bangkok, you’ll be able to focus solely on your recovery far away from triggers at home in an understanding, welcoming environment. You’ll return home relaxed, recharged, and firmly on the path to recovery.
If you’re ready to stop drinking and are looking for a community of compassion and support, call us today to learn more about The Dawn.