Staying Sober When You Have a Partner Who Drinks

Staying Sober When You Have a Partner Who Drinks

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The pressures of society don’t make it easy for anyone struggling with sobriety. Staying sober when you have a partner who drinks can be hard. With so many social pressures to have a drink or two and destress after a long week, it can be challenging to make safe choices that don’t put you into compromising situations.

But how do you address the challenge of staying sober when your partner still drinks? Is maintaining a healthy relationship while respecting each other’s lifestyle choices possible?

Thankfully, the answer for most people is “Yes!” However, there are a few lifestyle adjustments and some potential compromises that you can consider.

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Identify What Triggers You

No matter how long you’ve been with your partner, no one in life knows you more than you. And you must take the time to think about and understand what can potentially trigger you into a relapse when battling through sobriety.

This isn’t always easy since most of us find it hard to admit when we are vulnerable. However, by being open and honest with ourselves about what triggers us, we can better prepare for those potential moments of weakness by strategizing the most effective ways to combat them when we’re in the right state of mind.

Communicate Your Needs

Even without dealing with the challenge of sobriety, regular, honest communication of your needs is foundational to building a strong, long-lasting relationship with your partner. Without this, neither partner can genuinely understand the other individual’s needs or expectations of their relationship.

The choice of sobriety is essential to share with your partner, as not all partners know the individual’s struggles. Although this may seem like a difficult conversation for many, it is a crucial step in helping your partner have the proper perspective and understanding of your needs.

Set Healthy Boundaries

Successful relationships are built on communication, trust, and recognition of each other’s unique boundaries. This becomes even more important while maintaining sobriety, as healthy boundaries are essential in helping to protect you from being put into situations you may not be mentally or physically ready to handle.

There is no rule of thumb for someone choosing to stay sober regarding how wide or narrow some boundaries should be. But they should be well outlined and communicated to your partner to ensure you are on the same page.

For example, if you both share a home, it may be beneficial to agree on designating certain areas of the house as “drink-free” zones. This helps ensure you have safe spaces free of temptation and triggers. In other social situations, your partner may agree to limit the drinks they have to help you feel more comfortable or decide as a couple that certain events may be better for you not to attend at all.

Whatever you decide those boundaries are, they must be reasonable and achievable without causing undue tension or resentment between you and your partner. This is why healthy and open communication levels are so crucial for success.

Create a Plan

While for some individuals, sobriety is simply a lifestyle choice, for others, it’s a necessity to avoid self-destructive behaviors or risks to their health. Proactively thinking about triggers or compromising situations can create cravings and be a slippery slope for those individuals.

However, there is sound reasoning in considering those situations when you’re in the right state of mind so that you can have a plan of action in place if you feel tempted. Having an agreed-upon plan between you and your partner is more beneficial than formulating one on the fly during moments of weakness or stress.

Your plan could include taking a separate vehicle in social situations if you feel tempted to drink and must leave early. It could also include a system of check-ins throughout the night to ensure you’re both still on the same page. You may agree to have certain activities or conversations at home to help you refocus your attention if needed.

Planning is the responsible thing to do, and it can help you both navigate through any challenging moments while maintaining your sobriety.

Be Patient With Yourself and Your Partner

There are compromises in any partnership – although your sobriety shouldn’t be one. But anytime two people are together with unique tastes or interests, there are bound to be a few bumps in the road.

When this happens, being patient with yourself and your partner while staying on course is essential. During challenging conversations or moments of misunderstanding, remember that you both have good intentions and practice patience and understanding.

Sobriety can be a challenge to maintain, and for many living with a partner who still drinks, there potentially could be moments of relapse. These moments can be discouraging, but it’s important to remember that these situations can also be an opportunity to build your resilience, approach triggering situations differently, and better understand yourself and your partner.

Consider Outpatient Treatment Options

Regardless of how strong an individual’s relationship may be with their partner, the struggle of sobriety may often need additional support. If you need more assistance, then it may be beneficial to consider some outpatient recovery treatment options that allow you to get the extra help you need while remaining at home with your loved one.

Desert Cove Recovery in Scottsdale, AZ, provides various outpatient services to provide a strong foundation for alcohol addiction recovery. We believe in a holistic treatment program that helps individuals build the skills to balance their sobriety and relationship needs while enabling them to live a happy, healthy, alcohol-free life.

If you’re struggling with your sobriety journey or want to learn more about the services offered at Desert Cove Recovery, contact us today for more information.