How Do I Cope With My Significant Other in Rehab?

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For those individuals who are dating or married to a recovering addict who is in rehab, they understand that the worries and grief do not go away once their significant other enters into treatment. Not hearing from your partner can cause anxiety, and you may be wondering what life will be like once your loved one comes out of rehab. How will your relationship change? Will they be a totally different person? How are you supposed to handle life at home without them? All of these questions and more have most likely come across your mind at one point or another. Here are some tips for coping with a significant other being away at rehab while you are stuck at home. 

Educate Yourself

The best thing you can do when you are worried about your significant other but cannot speak to them is to educate yourself on what they are going through. Read up on addiction from trusted resources, learn how it is a chronic disease, how it progresses, how it takes over people’s lives, and what treatment looks like. From there, you can begin to read up on the specifics of rehab such as detox, withdrawal, cognitive behavioral therapy, experiential therapies, and life after rehab. This way, you can be more aware of what your loved one is going through and be more confident that rehab will help them heal. You will also be better equipped to help them once they come home from rehab. 

Recognize Codependent Traits in Yourself

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for romantic partners of addicts to take on a codependent role in their relationship because of their significant other’s substance abuse. It is understandable because you want the best for your partner, therefore taking care of them when needed and putting aside your own feelings and responsibilities for their wellbeing. Most individuals that are codependent in these scenarios feel a sense of joy after taking care of their loved ones. However, the relationship can grow more unhealthy and toxic over time if codependency continues unchecked. This is because it can result in a fear of abandonment, lack of personal boundaries, the need for approval and support, and the feeling that a person is responsible for the actions of their partner. This toxicity can result in the addict’s partner enabling the addiction, which makes the situation even worse. Recognizing codependency traits and working on them will ensure your relationship will be healthier once you and your partner are back together after they return from rehab. 

Practice Self-Care

Addiction is called a family disease because not only does it affect the addict themselves but also those closest to them, such as friends and family. You as the significant other have most likely gone through some degree of trauma as a result of your partner’s addiction. You may feel concerned about your loved one and their healing, but you shouldn’t forget that you need to heal too. There are support groups for people close to addicts such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. These groups can help you connect with others who have gone through what you have with your own significant other, helping you bond and heal at the same time. You should also consider seeking therapy or counseling to talk about what you are going through and get some professional advice. It’s understandable to want to care for your loved one and completely focus on them, but you must take care of yourself too if you are to be of any help to them.

Take It One Day at a Time

While your significant other is at rehab, you may be stuck at home taking care of all the responsibilities there. This may include all of the cleaning, cooking, childcare, errands, and more. You may find yourself feeling overwhelmed, but this is normal. Slowing down and taking things one day at a time will make life seem a little less overwhelming. The last thing you need to do is stress about life in general while your loved one is in rehab. Take a deep breath and slow down every once in a while to not overwhelm yourself completely. 

Prepare for Their Return

Keep in mind that your significant other will not be in rehab forever. While you may have visited them here and there during their time in treatment, their coming home full-time will be an entirely different experience. Based on your talks with them, their treatment team, and your research on addiction, prepare the house for their return. Make sure there are no drugs or alcohol nearby, do away with anything that may induce triggers or temptations, and be ready to support them as they need. Of course, you will be happy to see them come home, but recovery will still have to continue. Ask how you can help them best, but also let them heal on their own. If the relationship needs fixing, try to have these discussions civilly. Most of all, rejoice in their being home. 

Be Aware of Relapse Warning Signs

Now that your loved one is home, make sure that you know what relapse warning signs look like. Transitioning back home from rehab can be a difficult experience for your partner, so they may be feeling overwhelmed by the changes. Keep an eye out for any of the common relapse warning signs, which you can learn about on the website of your partner’s treatment provider. Catching these signs early could keep your partner sober and save their life. 


Coping with a partner being away in rehab can be a stressful and challenging time for the significant other. Being the one at home having to take care of all the normal responsibilities can be overwhelming and stressful on top of worrying about your loved one in rehab. Learning to cope with them being away is your best shot at making it through this time apart. Educate yourself on addiction, treatment, and post-treatment to see how you can properly help your partner get their life back. During this process, however, you need to remember to take care of yourself. You can do this by talking with a therapist or enrolling in a support group for loved ones of addicts to connect with other individuals who have gone through what you are currently going through. Should you need any advice on what to do when a loved one is away at rehab, call Northstar Transitions at (303) 558-6400.