Hope everyone had a great and happy halloween. Went to a meeting tonight and guess what. The person who picked our open discussion topic picked exactly what many us need to hear/talk about - Relationships (man/woman) stuff.
I have no desire to have a relationship at this point in my recovery and I have always heard in the 12 step program that they suggest a year. How realistic is that???
But what I came away from the meeting with (from listening to an oldtimer) was it's not the length of time that matters, it's if you've learned how to handle relationships differently and don't do the same ole crap that gets you in trouble.
I know I still have much more time to work on me and will take it one day at a time. I tend to jump in relationships so not to be alone. But now I'm ready to be ok with being alone first. Yeah!!! That's progress.
For those of you who know me, know that I ended an 8 year relationship just 75 days ago when I walked (ran) away to get clean. My ex is still using and becoming absolutely insane from things I hear. I loved him and still do, but that part of my life is over forever.
And young woman shared tonight her pain of ending her relationship last night with a young man whom she had met in the recovery program due to the fact he has gone back out using. She had a choice to make - him or recovery. She knew she couldn't continue the relationship and stay clean. I felt every bit of her pain as many of us sat and cried with her as she shared.
I would like opinions/views from anyone who wishes to share. My question is not when or how long to wait. But the question for me is more related to having a relationship with someone in the program (related to that persons clean time, etc) vs relationship with someone one who is not addict or alcoholic. And if you choose to date a non addict/alcoholic, when do you break the news to them about being a recovering addict/alcoholic?
Though I've been married for 18 years (yep, my wife, a normy, actually put up with all my BS), my wife and young children moved out of the house until I had a year (that was her timeline not mine).
So, the only experience I have with people in the program is friendships, however, I have seen what works and doesn't. I have too many friends in AA & CA who have (or had) relationships with other addicts and alcoholics who have relapsed.
One very good friend, who had 13 years and was there for me when I got sober 11 years ago, started dating someone with only a few months of sobriety (13th stepping as it is called-- and he knew better). She relapsed. He didn't end the relationship. Then he relapsed. He got into an accident and lost his left arm! He knows he has no one to blame but himself but the affect of a strong emotional attachment to someone who relapses is undeniably powerful. He had worked a decent program.
Another good friend with 7 years just got out of detox after relapsing. He was dating a woman in the program who had over a year, also a friend. She relapsed. He did not end the relationship. He relapsed.
Another couple, both sober for several years, both friends of mine. They were married for a few years and then divorced. Both relapsed. I don't know if they made their way back or not.
I could go on and on. It seems like the possiblity of relapse is increased if when one goes down so does the other. I don't mean to sound cynical but I just don't see it work the other way. I do however know a lot of people with time in stable relationships with normies.
I'd be loathe to draw any premature conclusions from what I've observed but if I have to lose friends to relapse, I'd much prefer it be one at a time rather than two!
I am married to a recovering alcoholic/addict and as you know I am a recovering addict. We met through the program and married when I had 3 years clean and he had 5 years clean and sober. I have seen marriages and relationships fail more often than I have seen them survive in the program. That being said..there are success stories. I know atleast 3 couples who are recovering and have multiple years of marriage. My husband and I have been married 9 years.
I did relapse with almost 11 years clean...but it had nothing to do with my husband - he didn't cause it. He didn't follow me down that road either. I relapsed because I stopped taking care of me, I stopped working steps, I stopped associating with my friends in NA, I took back control. Bad idea.
My husband and I have had our share of problems. But I believe they are no more serious than most other married couples. Normal slumps in the relationship, little power struggles, spats about really stupid things, disagreements about our children, etc.. Most recently you may remember that I posted about feeling distant from my husband and having some problems with feeling like he had lost interest in our family. Looking back a few weeks now I have a bit more perspective...how much of that was related to the drug indiced fog I had been in for a year? Alot. Obvously if I'm walking around stoned & numb all the time I'm creating a heck of alot of distance and developing some seriuos resentments because things aren't going just the way I'd expected.
We both had a part in it, but the drugs certainly didn't help matters. I have found that when I really sit down and communicate with him he understands me very well. We have a very open line of communication. We both feel that together there is absolutely nothing we can't overcome. We have been through alot together and always seem to come out stronger. We are not perfect, nor will we ever be.
My take on relationships in the program is that before becoming involved in one you should definitely get some time under your belt. Not just "drug free" time...recovery time. I also think you have to be able to keep enough distance in the beginning to look at the person with clear eyes and an honest heart. I spent about 3 months at the beginning of our relationship just evaluating, watching, learning, keeping my distance...and I relied on the instincts of others in the program. As we got to know each other I made sure we spent plenty of time around my closest program friends and my sponsor. I got alot of different input and perspectives.
There is a big difference in being "clean" and in being in "recovery". At 3 years clean I was pretty much a whole person by myself. I did not have the need or the real desire for a realtionship. Neither of us were looking for someone to fill any empty hole. We both firmly believe that God brought us together when we were both ready. When I got out of the way and let go..God brought him to me in his time. I have a poem somewhere about letting God prepare you for that special someone by doing his will. I'll see if I can find it tonight and post it. It really is such a good little poem.
So I believe it can be done..but it takes alot of self honesty, allowing others into your circle, listening to others opinions and willingness to see things for what they really are.
Last edited by BeginAgain; 11-01-2005 at 07:51 AM.
Thanks for your words of wisdom. Even though I don't feel the need to have someone in my life (to fill a void) today, I worry how that will change once I get a place of my own and then have alone time. Meantime over the next few months while I'm at my friends house, I plan to work on myself with this issue among others. I too believe that God will bring that right person into my life in his own time. I also feel that when it happens, he will help me know when it's right. Hope you have a great day my friends.
Arememom, You are a hundred per cent right, God will bring that person when you are ready, First you need to have a relationship with your self, and fall in love with your self, then the rest will come. That goes for all of us women that seem to lean toward bad relationships, Because if we trulry loved our self we would not be so blinded when someone did enter our life. Just becareful your worth so much.......... dont ever cut your self short................ Your friend Felicia