As the spouse of a firefighter, you’ve learned how to accept the risks that come with your loved one’s position in the uniformed services. While you’ve always known that an injury on the job was possible, you might not have been prepared for your spouse developing an addiction. Unfortunately, no one is immune to addiction, and your loved one may have started using drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their emotions after spending long hours on duty. Now that they’ve decided to get help, you can use these strategies to show them support as they work through their time in a rehab program.
Make Plans to Handle Household Duties
Once your spouse enters rehab, they need to be able to dedicate the majority of their attention to their recovery. Ideally, this is a time when stress should be kept to a minimum so that your loved one can begin to heal the underlying issues that drive their cravings for drugs and alcohol. Although it will be hard to have your spouse away from home for more than their normal work schedule, you can be confident that this decision is one that will lead to more quality time together in the future.
You can start showing support right now by making sure that you have plans in place to handle common household issues that may arise while your spouse is in rehab. For instance, you may need to arrange for a babysitter to watch your children while you attend therapy sessions together. Alternatively, you might just need to set up services to cover tasks that your spouse normally handled during their time off such as the lawn care or other types of household maintenance. Handling these things now help you to avoid experiencing problems that worry your spouse while they are in treatment, and your spouse will feel instantly supported by your take charge mindset that enables them to fully relax during the hardest parts of their rehab program.
Offer to Visit and Attend Family Therapy
People who enter the uniformed services tend to be very family oriented. For this reason, your spouse may be more concerned about missing out on family moments than anything else. One of the biggest ways that you can support your loved one is by offering to visit them in rehab and attend therapy sessions together. If your loved one plans to attend a rehab center far away from your home, then make arrangements for at least one long-distance visit that gives them something to look forward to and both of you a chance to rebuild your lives together with sobriety as a main focus. You can also take advantage of phone calls and sending letters to give your spouse a much-needed mental boost when they seem in need of support.
In family therapy, you have the opportunity to learn valuable skills that help your spouse stay sober after they get back home. For instance, you can talk about these topics in your family and group therapy sessions that apply to anyone who works in uniformed services.
- Managing stress
- Dealing with role conflicts
- Overcoming grief and loss
- Using positive communication
Although talking about some of these topics is difficult at first, you’ll discover that opening up brings new life to your marriage that helps your spouse avoid triggers that interfere with their sobriety.
Learn About How to Help Their Long-Term Recovery
Firefighters face a higher risk of relapse compared to other members of the population because of their high stress working conditions. Once your spouse finishes their rehab program and begins to go back to work, you need to be alert for signs that they may be heading toward a relapse. For example, your spouse may be more likely to experience a relapse after fighting a particularly traumatic fire such as one that results in a significant loss of life. While your spouse is in rehab, use the time to learn strategies to help them through these types of stressful events such as encouraging them to continue to go to counseling.
Firefighters also benefit from continuous care on an outpatient basis since they may only be able to take a short period of time off of work for their initial treatment. Before your spouse comes home, talk to them about their options for continuing to work through their recovery once they return to work. Talking to a counselor as they reenter their normal schedule allows them to deal with issues as they arise so that they do not build up and lead to a relapse.
Is your spouse ready to enter a rehab program that is designed to fit the needs of firefighters? Give us a call today at 800-737-0933 to find out how you can start showing support that helps them get the most out of their addiction treatment.