If your spouse has struggled with addiction, you’ve probably tried everything you could possibly think of to help them get clean and sober — and it probably didn’t work. It’s so frustrating when you just want to see them better, and you don’t know what to do. In the end, though, their recovery is theirs alone. If they’ve finally decided to enter a residential addiction treatment facility and get help, how can you support their recovery when they get back? You can create a recovery-friendly environment for your loved one.
This is an important, but often overlooked, tool to help with relapse prevention. Someone who’s a “normie” (aka, not an addict or alcoholic) is usually clueless as to what kind of items and actions can be triggering for someone in early recovery. Here are some tips on how to create a recovery-friendly environment for your spouse.
Creating A Recovery-Friendly Environment
Get Rid Of All Drugs & Alcohol
First and foremost, you need to get rid of all drugs and alcohol in the house. Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “But my partner is a drug addict, alcohol was never their thing.” Or, “Weed is legal! It’s fine.” Spoiler alert: it’s not.
Addiction is a disease, and it doesn’t discriminate against certain substances. Yes, maybe your loved one went to treatment for abusing opioids or stimulants, but cross addiction is possible.
Cross addiction happens when an addict or alcoholic replaces their original drug of choice with another addiction. To make a truly recovery-friendly environment, it’s best to remove any substances that could trigger a relapse or a new addiction. For more information on cross addiction, click here.
Don’t forget, some everyday items contain ethanol, a form of alcohol. These include mouthwash, hand sanitizer, hairspray, perfumes, aftershave, some body washes, nail polish remover and rubbing alcohol. You don’t necessarily have to clean out your entire bathroom, but keep in mind that addicts or alcoholics can get desperate when they don’t have access to their usual substances. Throwing them away or substituting them with “alcohol free” versions can reduce the chance of temptation and/or relapse.
Lock Up Medications & Prescriptions
Prescription medications are also a major danger for addicts in recovery. By now, everyone knows that prescriptions such as vicodin or valium cause a high and are highly addictive. In all reality, anything that will make your partner’s early recovery easier is best — including getting rid of any possible temptations. It may be inconvenient to lock your prescriptions up, but avoiding a potential relapse for your partner is worth it.
This direction can include over-the-counter medications as well. Sleep aids and allergy medications like Nyquil and Benadryl can cause an altered mental state when used in high doses. Over-the-counter drugs like these can be addictive and an addict or alcoholic in early recovery can potentially relapse if they have easy access to them.
Can’t tell which over the counter medications are safe and which aren’t? Check the ingredients. If it contains Dextromethorphan or Diphenhydramine, it should be monitored closely or locked away until needed. Obviously, the fact that Nyquil contains alcohol should be a warning.
Get Rid Of Intoxicating Baking Ingredients
This might be a surprise, but yes, baking ingredients and flavorings can also potentially be used to get drunk or high. Most flavoring extracts, like vanilla or almond extract, have at least 35% ethanol. (That’s nearly as much as straight vodka!) While an addict may use it as a desperate substitute for alcohol, it can cause serious health issues if ingested outside of your cookies — nausea, vomiting, severe stomach pains — and in some cases, it can be lethal. Nutmeg, when used to get high, also can be dangerous.
Clean The House
Of course, when being away for a while it’s nice to come home to a clean house. But what we really mean by, “cleaning the house,” is getting rid of any alcohol or drugs that could still be stashed around from before your spouse went to treatment. Addicts have a tendency to hide their drug of choice to hide the severity of their problem. Don’t be upset if you do find drug paraphernalia or alcohol. Your partner was most likely hiding it because they didn’t want to upset you in the first place. Even if your spouse is sober, old stashes or hiding spots can be a huge trigger for relapse.
Even certain objects may bring back old memories of using. When your partner comes back, ask them if there’s anything you can change to be helpful. Maybe there’s a lounge chair that your spouse used to sit in when drinking or using. Feng shui it! Even just rearranging furniture can help signify that your home is a new environment and a new beginning for your loved one.
At Transformations Care, we will give your loved one the tools they need to prevent relapse. We teach them what to avoid, such as household items containing ethanol, and provide them with sober coping mechanisms. In addition, we will help them find their sober community outside of the treatment center. Whether that’s through our alumni meetings or other fellowship groups, support is key.
This also includes support for yourself! At Transformations Care, we understand that having an addicted loved one is hard on everyone around them. We are happy to make suggestions for Al-Anon meetings and other family support groups for you. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us. At Transformations Care, we consider you and your family as part of ours.
If your partner or spouse hasn’t gotten help yet, you can help them find the right residential treatment center. If you already have an addiction treatment facility in mind when approaching your partner about their addiction, you can show them a solution for their problem right away. That might make them more at ease, knowing what to expect. Transformations Care’s homey vibe will make your partner feel safe, supported, and confident in their decision to get clean. For more information on how to approach your husband or wife about addiction, click here.
Getting Clean & Sober at Home
Today, more than 75% of hospitals and healthcare providers offer access to telehealth treatment, with 29 states having gone so far as to enact telehealth parity laws, which force insurance companies to reimburse patients for telehealth at the same rates as they would for in-person treatment.
If you’ve been thinking about getting clean and sober, or if you’ve been wanting to work on and strengthen the recovery you already have, it’s never been easier to do it through telehealth.