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Dealing with trauma after recovery

answered 12:30 AM EST, Mon November 21, 2011
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My fiance is coming off of a physical addiction to pain killers right now. I know that getting hooked on them to begin with is for a reason. He has been through some losses in life, including his biggest, loosing his mother to cancer in under a year. His job stresses him on a regular basis with very bad managing practices. He has seen CEO's of a rival company in twice to tour where he works and is nervous they will sell/brings up questions of job security even more than he has been dealing with. My question is, once he is off the drugs completely and in recovery...how can I best encourage him to deal with his past traumas? I want our marriage as healthy as it can be. We have faith in Jesus Christ and our relationship has been rooted and growing in Him from the beginning but we are still coming out of the woods of his addiction.

Penny Bell Says...

Penny Bell P. Bell
Master of Counselling, Grad Dip Counselling, Adv. Dip. Counselling & Family Therapy, MACA
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Congratulations to your fiance for his hard work of addiction recovery.   It's true though that the hard work continues well into recovery, and he will need lots of ongoing support from friends and family as well as programs that are available in his community.  I understand that it's important to you that your fiance deals with the traumas that you believe led him into addiction, and you want your future happiness together to be free from any of the wounds and pain that your fiance may bring with him if he hasn't properly dealt with his past traumas.  I wish I could say to you that if he "deals" with these traumas all will be well and married life will go without a hitch.  Unfortunately, that probably won't be the case.  This is because life has a way of dealing out blows just when we're feeling as if we're on top of the last lot, and we end up on another roller-coaster ride of trying to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and be ready for the next blow! Sure, it's important that your fiance properly grieve the loss of his mother, and perhaps he has been avoiding the sad feelings of grief through his drug use. He also needs to sort out whether he wishes to stay in such a stressful workplace, and if he does, how he's going to manage his stress.  But at the end of the day resilience is the thing we all need to develop in order to roll with life's punches, get up quickly when the crisis is over, and get on with it.  I suspect this is what your fiance needs to work on, and he may want to do this in personal therapy.  If he does decide to go the way of counselling it would be a good idea for you to accompany him at some stage, because you are a part of his life now. As well, as you are Christians, church attendance and belonging to a small group are excellent forms of support, and take into consideration the spiritual aspect of  your life and relationships.  Finally, accepting that your fiance has overcome the  major part of his addiction and is embracing  his recovery, and not having too high an expectation of his rate of emergence from that dark place, will help him to feel secure in his relationship with you and perhaps give him strength to continue to do the hard yards of his recovery and healing. 


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Page last updated Nov 21, 2011

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Penny Bell - Master of Counselling, Grad Dip Counselling, Adv. Dip. Counselling & Family Therapy, MACA
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