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Handling Divorce in Recovery
June 2, 2017
For some marriages, a spouse’s addiction is a contributing factor that ultimately leads to divorce. If you are going through a divorce in recovery, your life may seem more tumultuous than it’s ever been. By focusing on new beginnings and adhering to your recovery plan, you can handle divorce without derailing your recovery journey.
Acknowledge Your Actions but Don’t Dwell on Them
If your addiction led you to make mistakes, it’s important to recognize them and take responsibility for your actions—but it does no one any good to dwell on them. Many people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs engage in high-risk behaviors and make decisions that hurt their spouse in some way.
Guilt can be a powerful trigger to use alcohol or drugs, so it’s essential to avoid dwelling on your past behaviors. People in recovery cannot change the past, but they do have the power to change their future for the better.
Get Support When You Need It
Many people suffering from addiction learn the value of a support network when they are in recovery.1 This support is even more essential when experiencing divorce in recovery. Attend all counseling sessions, talk to a therapist, rely on family and friends or sign up with a 12-step program to find a sponsor.
Divorce in recovery is emotionally challenging, but support networks can help you keep your recovery journey on track and be there for you as you build the framework for your new life.
Maintain Routines to Bring Stability to Your Life
Addiction and divorce can make life seem like an endless roller coaster. To find stability, it’s important to keep the chaos at bay. Maintaining routines will lend structure to your day and provide you with a basic level of stability. Stick to your treatment plan above all else.
An addiction specialist can help you design a routine that enhances your recovery process. A routine will help you feel more stable, which can help prevent relapse.
Arguing and fighting often accompany the divorce process, but these negative behaviors can impact your recovery. Arguing with your ex can cause you to feel negative emotions like anger and sadness. These emotions are triggers for relapse.2 During your divorce, you aren’t obligated to argue. You can rely on an attorney or decide to only have written correspondence with your ex so that you can keep negative emotions in check.
During Divorce in Recovery, Embrace New Activities
When your marriage ends at the same time you are beginning your recovery journey, life can begin to feel empty, as though the things that filled it are being put behind you. Yet, this period in your life is also a fresh start. You can fill it with new healthy activities that can add meaning to your days and inspire you to remain sober. From restorative yoga to book clubs, enjoying new pastimes can help you move forward with a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Dealing with divorce in recovery is challenging, but you can cope in healthy ways. If you find that the struggle is getting the best of you, talk to your counselor or therapist at your addiction treatment center to get more help dealing with divorce in recovery.