How to Find Support in Recovery after Couples Rehab – Part One
Sobriety was the greatest gift I ever gave myself. I don’t put it on a platform. I don’t campaign about it. It’s just something that works for me. ~ Rob Lowe
As anyone who suffers from addiction knows, going through treatment is just the start. After getting clean and sober, maintaining sobriety is no easy task. It requires commitment to accepting recovery as a journey - a journey worth taking. If you and your partner are addicted together, problems multiply more than times two. Your addiction does not only impact the two of you, but also those around you, such as friends, family, coworkers and neighbors. If you have children, they are greatly affected by your disease. Once you’ve pledged to get clean, and completed couples rehab, you need to put a plan in place to support your sobriety and have a network to rely on when life’s challenges arise.
The counselors at your treatment program will have helped to get you into a support group, perhaps individual addictions counseling, couples’ counseling, and/or a 12 Step Program such as the well-knownand well-regarded Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. In addition to these more traditional options, there is another support group worth mentioning that may be advantageous for you and your partner to consider. It was established to provide help specifically to addicted couples devoted to their recovery together and is called Recovering Couples Anonymous.
What is Recovering Couples Anonymous?
RCA is modeled after the 12 step approach of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and in which “both partners attend meetings together to find freedom from addicted and destructive relationships. By using the tools of the RCA program, couples learn to take responsibility for the well-being of their relationship, build intimacy, and find joy with each other.”
Of particular emphasis in RCA is not to blame your partner which was previouslya default way to cope with or excuse your current situation; instead, of importance is to understand that both partners bring expectations, cultural differences, abuse experiences, and the history that led to his/her addiction into their relationship.
Those who established RCA found that by participating in recovery meetings, the camaraderie and shared experiences seemed to dissipate feelings of despair and shame. The meetings are not meant to take the place of personal counseling sessions, but to function alongside in order to reinforce a happy life together in recovery.
The Twelve Steps of Recovering Couples Anonymous are:
1. We admitted we were powerless over our relationship that our life together had become unmanageable.
2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to commitment and intimacy.
3. We made a decision to turn our wills and our life together over to the care of God as we understood God.
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our relationship together as a couple.
5. We admitted to God, to each other, and to another couple the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character, communication, and caring.
7. We humbly asked God to forgive our shortcomings.
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it to our partner and to others we had harmed.
11. We sought through our common prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to other couples, and to practice these principles in all aspects of our lives, our relationship, and our families.
The design of RCA is to provide support to the couple in recovery. If you would like to attend a meeting in your area, visit the local meetings section on the RCA website.
Couples in rehab will be guided toward a type of couples’ therapy to assist them in repairing their relationship and learning to relate to each other in a new and healthy way. This is not always easy. While therapy is of great value, some may not be able to maintain sessions due to monetary reasons or because one partner feels like they no longer need something individualized, and eventually they come to an end. However, keeping in mind that sobriety is a life-long practice; attending meetings in the supportive network of RCA can guide couples to create a stronger, healthy bond of support as they each work on their own recovery.
Please feel free to ask one of our qualified counselors at Moffitt Wellness Retreat about this type of support program or others that you and your partner can take part in once you have completed a residential alcohol and drug rehab for couples.