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SWIM thinks there is an argument to be had in favour of rehab facilities catering for couples. At present there aren't any that SWIM knows of in this country (Britain) and generally drug-counsellers don't like couples on drugs staying together and many refuse to treat ones who do.
SWIM feels so strongly about this that she has outlined the reasons why she thinks there is currently a gap in the rehab market below. She would appreciate it if people took the time to read this thread and then post comments below.
SWIM would like to know if others agree with what she is saying and also if there are any people out there in a similar situation to SWIM: people in long-term relationships, where both partners have a drug problem, who simply aren't catered for at this time. They are either told to split up and go to rehabs/seek treatment individually or shut up and get on with it. In other words they are refused treatment.
Also SWIM would like to know if anybody knows of any facilities or rehab treatment centres where couples are catered for. SWIM expects to find there are very few, if any, in existence.
In SWIM's case she and her partner have been together 9 years - this is no schoolground crush. SWIMs partner has been to rehab a few times but SWIM never has, although she has been to look at rehab facilities with her boyfriend so as he can make a decision on which one to go to and she has been to visit him when he's been a resident at rehabs.
All the rehabs SWIM knows of in this country have a policy where they only take single people (not couples), so SWIM couldn't go to rehab with her boyfriend even if she wanted too. This is despite the fact that all drugs-counsellors will tell you that it is hard for one person to get clean and nearly impossible for two people who are in a relationship and both using to get clean and stay clean, unless they both really want it and are both getting help.
In the last rehab SWIMs boyfriend was in they actively tried to split them up because they felt so strongly that they couldn't get clean together.
Even though he said this wasn't an option they repeatedly brought it up in groups and attacked his position to try and make him change his mind.
SWIM understands why they did what they did but it makes her so angry that there is this attitude amongst drug-workers and rehabs.
Another friend of SWIM's was in a rehab for alcohol addiction and met someone in there. They started to see each-other clandestinely but were found out. When they were discovered they were told they either had to split up or get out. They lied and said they would stop seeing each-other but really carried on. The staff were suspicious though and they were asked to leave.
This makes me so angry - ok, so the situation isn't ideal but surely its better that they continue to get help together rather than being thrown out and receive no help. The staff at the rehab must know in that situation that the person or people involved are unlikely to be able to continue their soberdom for long without help and support.
SWIM can see the argument too that it is unfair on other residents for their to be a couple amongst them who already know each-other and have a close bond, but surely there is room for a rehab to be set up that is solely for couples? This way no-one would be at an advantage.
SWIM thinks there is a real gap in the market for a couples rehab. Couples who go there would of course be made aware that it is going to be extremely difficult to stay clean together: be made aware of all the facts and the statistics. But if they still want to remain a couple after a discussion with staff of this nature then they should be admitted together. This way they could attend support groups together where they could examine their drug-use together and learn why they do what they do, identify triggers and all the usual stuff that is done at rehabs. They could also have one-to-one counselling though to address their individual issues. Because it is a couples rehab there could be classes/groups scheduled that are slightly different from the usual ones you get at rehab. They could have discussions targeted to the fact that there is two of them. Looking, for example, at what to do if one of you proves weaker than the other. Ways to support each-other and how to deal with one of the couple failing to remain clean.
The important thing to is that at least they would both be there (at a rehab) at the same time. The worst thing is if one person is staying at a rehab and getting clean whilst the other is at home and continuing to use drugs. Six months spent at a rehab together would be six months that they've both spent off drugs. Another argument in favour of a couple going to rehab together is that they would be learning to live with each-other whilst not being on drugs. Sounds silly but if two people have been taking drugs together for a long time they will have forgotten how to have a relationship that doesn't revolve around taking or getting drugs.
They could relearn being together in a safe environment with other couples going through the same or similar experiences.
SWIM thinks that although it may not be ideal for drug-addicts to stay together many do. Rehabs need to start being realistic about this and stop ostricizing couples and cutting them off from treatment.
At least give couples a chance to receive the same caretogether that is currently available only to single people.
SWIM has never heard of that. At the 28 day rehab place he went to, they would kick you out for even talking to girls, but a couple would sneak over and holla at SWIM anyways. That is a fucking good idea though, I bet it would be a huge hit.
Those are all very good points. Swim thinks it's a great idea, but perhaps it hasn't been looked into for many of the reason swiy pointed out.
Focusing one one's own sobriety and not having to focus on the other person ... Seeing the other person falter or succeed in comparison to one's own progress ...If one decides to leave, the other could convince them to go, too ....and so on. Swim thinks that even though rehab centers do not have the perfect answers, their rules are set in place for reasons. Kicking one out for breaking a "no relationship" rule may be a necessary evil just to show that all rules will be enforced, and to give the addict the stability and consistency they need. Swim is just supposing...but swim also says that she is no expert and can see a market for couple's therapy.
She also thinks that, in light of the fact that relationships fail with or without addiction, each partner should be able to function on his or her own. Perhaps that's the goal....?
Another argument in favour of a couple going to rehab together is that they would be learning to live with each-other whilst not being on drugs. Sounds silly but if two people have been taking drugs together for a long time they will have forgotten how to have a relationship that doesn't revolve around taking or getting drugs.
That's an excellent point! Swim thinks that this may be one of the biggest reasons why couples don't make it when each partner does manage to stay clean.
I've got to say I think this is a lousy idea! It might be semi-plausible to have a rehab for couples such as my wife and I where one partner is a total non-user, but really even then I think it would be a bad idea.
OK, why does that Dickon chap think this? First and most obviously, what happens when Mrs X stays clean, and Mr X doesn't or vice-versa? Mr X leaves or gets booted out; how does that affect Mrs X? I don't see Mrs X thinking "oh good, this is really going to help me get well". Addicts are notoriously codependent. What else? Chances are even if Mr and Mrs X both clean up there will be a lot of "stuff", "issues", between them, call it what you will. These will need to be addressed, but immediately after cleaning up is NOT the time.
What else? When people clean up they can change dramatically. So what is important after is not necessarily going to be what is important before. It is useful for individuals to look at their relationship needs and decide in the light of sobriety if a drug-using relation was founded on love or convenience (ok fill out your own options here, I'm not going to list them all). Are Mr and Mrs X truly compatible, or were they simply hanging together for companionship and/or convenience but really had little in common?
Group dynamics. A rehab should be a place to be honest. How honest and objective can you be about your partner if she or he is in the room? Also if you've got a partner, you're likely to team up and if Mr X likes Mr/s Y then what happens if Mrs X doesn't like Mr/s Y. Codependent Mr X is likely to get resentful with Mrs X for not taking his side, and then Mrs X will be in a bind. Newly clean addicts are like little children for the most part when it comes to emotions, big laughing and crying sessions alternating rapidly, emotionally lability personified and dare I say it (use me as an example here so don't feel threatened) somewhat mad. I can't see Mr X having nearly as diverse a set of relationships with A, B, C, D and E if he can spend all his time in the company of Mrs X.
I could go on and on, but the more I think about this, the worse an idea it seems to me!! Before I slate the thing into next week, there is a germ of a good question from all this: what does one do with Mr and Mrs X above?
My humble suggestion would be that Mr and Mrs X both go to separate rehabs for at least six months, maybe longer, and do not contact each other much or, ideally, at all in that period. If after a period in which Mr X and Mrs X have cleaned up and worked on themselves, and understood a little about relapse and the dangers codependency can cause in that department, they should start seeing each other, assuming they both still want to, but should not live together for a further unspecified period of time, let's say about 6 months. They should see each other only on occasions at first, and not rush back together. Mr and Mrs X will by now be changed people. Mr and Mrs X will now need a good period of time to reinvent or find themselves (depending on how you look at it). Maybe Mr X is really a traveler and Mrs X is a stay-at-home and when the drugs are taken away they'll completely cramp each others' styles.
There is a reason couples rehabs don't exist (to my knowledge), or are certainly not common. There is a reason intimate relations are frowned on between people in rehab. There is also a reason why a lot of rehabs DO offer family counseling which I think is the way to go.
I'm not saying that a viable relationship can't be saved, but the primary relationship I think you need now beena is the one with yourself. If you and your partner are soul-mates then the time you are separated will not tear you apart. If you are not a suitable couple, then the sooner the relationship is torn asunder the better. If anyone takes anything from this post let it be this: it is infinitely better to be single than in a bad relationship. Many people find being single difficult so jump into a relationship (any relationship) to avoid "loneliness" etc. This is classic codependency. I found my soul-mate after a divorce, a long period of thinking I needed/wanted a relationship, and finally becoming Dickon, single man, (not without a few sexual partners, so I'm not saying be celibate), who was going to die a happy single man. When I was absolutely sure I was truly happy without a long-term relationship along came my wife. Yep, that does make me in essence a walking platitude!! Go figure.
All best wishes beena with your endeavour, and I'll be the first to tell you I've been obsessed with women and behaved completely irrationally when in the grip of said obsessions. Relationships and drug-use can bring about very similar behaviour in the likes of us! This really is a mine-field, through which I hope you find your way.
Love and fluffies and joy-joy feelings to all
Dickon [Don't listen to me if what I say doesn't FEEL right here, this is deeply personal stuff, and I am not speaking ex cathedra]