The stages of recovery for the partner of an addict
Much like we have come to acknowledge the five stages of grief when someone experiences a great loss – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – those in recovery as partners of sexual addicts also go through stages.
The person addicted to sex or pornography will also go through the same stages of recovery. However, both people will go through the stages at different rates. What may seem like a simpler stage to move through for one partner may be much more difficult for the other partner. This can be a problem during the recovery process, as different emotions will accompany different stages.
Working through these stages could take up to several years. Both the addict and their partner will need time to grow and function differently, as well as discover new skills and knowledge.
The stages of recovery for partners of sexual addicts are:
- Pre-discovery – at this stage, spouses or partners begin to see warning signs. They begin to understand that an addiction is present and that it needs to be addressed.
- Decision time – The spouse or partner realizes they cannot tolerate the problem and decides what to do.
- Shock – Partners begin to work with a therapist and begin the recovery process.
- Greif – At this stage, the partner will fully understand their losses and pain, and how the addict’s behavior has affected them.
- Repair – The partner will begin reconstruction of their lives and the relationships they have with others.
- Growth – This is where the partner will begin to experience new depths in healthy relationships.