We thought this information, which is not in our book, might be useful for couples in recovery, especially those in the early stages.
First, by recovery, we mean from addiction to substances (such as alcohol or other drugs) compulsive behaviors (like overeating, gambling, or debting) or people (as in the case of as sex/love addiction, co-dependency).
Let’s talk first about the pitfalls or challenges:
- It’s particularly challenging if only one person gets into recovery, especially if the partner also practices an addiction. Ideally, a non-addict spouse would get involved in a support program such as Alanon. At the very least, the partner who may not need a recovery program must fully respect and support the other’s need to be actively involved in a recovery program on an ongoing basis. Note: We would add that this can be a MAJOR change – not usually as simple as,“if only he or she would quit practicing the addictive behavior everything would be fine.” They call addiction a “family disease” for a reason.
2. Each person needs to work their own program.
3. Each person must have his or her own sponsor or mentor, and not make the other his or her Higher Power.
4. Because recovery involves huge transformation and a vigorous program of action, two people could find disparity in the rate of progress, and there is always the danger that someone may stop working a program and regress or relapse.
As an aside, if you are dating someone in recovery, are they a “good prospect?” Maybe – what you may want to look at, is not only longevity, but
a. Are they grateful for their recovery?
b. Are they committed to giving back?
c. Are they actively engaged with their recovery program and giving service?
These are all good signs.
5. It requires time apart from each other to work a recovery program.
6. It requires balance to keep nurturing the relationship.
NOW, what are the potential rewards or blessings?
- Sharing a common experience of having survived some kind of addiction.
- Sharing a common identity
- Sharing a common purpose
- Sharing a common fellowship
- Speaking a common language
- Sharing common spiritual principles
We’ll end by saying that, when both people work a recovery program, those tools and spiritual principles can also be applied to achieving a peaceful and harmonious union– with multiple shared blessings!!