Couples Addiction Recovery Empowerment (CARE) is a recovery concept or philosophy that seeks a more holistic model for recovery to include support for relationships and help couples heal from the impact of addiction, and to manage the difficult transition and challenges that recovery brings. The effort in bridging recoveries, creates a third recovery, the couple recovery.
We also know from research that it is NORMAL for couples to continue to struggle after beginning recovery, especially in the first year. Providing help for couples in addressing the connection between the couple relationship and successful individual recoveries is supported by longitudinal research that concludes the best recovery outcomes are directly related to relationships that are going well.
Unfortunately, most current addiction recovery treatment approaches tend to focus only each partner’s individual recovery, overlooking the significance of the couple relationship in recovery. Traditionally and historically, couples are discouraged from addressing couple issues in recovery, especially in early recovery. Partners are typically advised to participate in their own 12-step program and/or attend individual therapy but to put the relationship issues on hold for a year or more while each person develops and strengthens their individual recovery programs. While it is essential that each partner focus on their own recovery and individual needs, by not also addressing relationship issues couples are left struggling to manage the trauma of both addiction and of recovery without a road map of how deal with the past or how to move forward.
Individuals and couples who are not newly recovering, but been in ongoing recovery for a while, often begin to experience a desire to re-connect with their partner. The individual emphasis has been essential in establishing good recovery, but it may feel like the relationship has not been given much attention. Often times this can feel overwhelming, not knowing how to connect with the partner much less how to bring in recovery someway, somehow into the relationship. We now have a road map for couple recovery.