One of the more difficult adjustments to make in recovery is sustaining or seeking out new healthy relationships. Many have been in marriages for most of the marriage as an active addict or alcoholic. Some married young and stupid and both were using. One got sober, the other didn’t, it never or rather rarely works. There is an unfounded statistic I recently was researching but have yet to find the source that states in long term marriages when the alcoholic or addict finally gets sober the marriage will generally not last or have a long demise as an end result. I’m sure there are others that contradict that statistic but for this writer it does remain true.
For many years we went along in our relationship in a fog of addiction and oblivion. We in that state can’t fully give to others as they need. We in that state don’t even know who we truly are ourselves. We in that state are masking pain from countless places in the past. From trauma, to abuse to abandonment to simply starting a party that never would end decades later. All hold true again for myself. I had them all. But it is the past. We do recover. We do deserve and are deserving of healthy relationships.
However, all to often we get sober, think we’re miraculously healed and jump into either over compensating out of guilt in the current relationship or jump head and heart in to the first person that comes along. The problem remains in early recovery is that we have yet to find and define who we truly are. We have yet to seek and know how to forgive and love ourselves.
We can not remain present, loving and give 100% to our partner without those attributes of self. In many 12 step programs there is often the suggestion of no major changes the first year. It’s a very good suggestion to follow. During this time we are learning how to live life on life’s terms. We are exploring our inner core and soul and finding who we really are, we are finally growing up to a level of being healthy, grounded and secure with ourselves.
And then there is the part in us that says we have done so much hurt and wrong and have had so many failures because of our addiction we don’t deserve that someone special. This is where we are vastly wrong. Once we have grounded our self in contentment of who we are. Once we have a strong foundation of recovery and support and inner peace and once we can give our authentic self fully; we DO deserve someone who thinks we are amazing in every single way.
You see, love is patient. If the current or new found partner is real and is as genuine as you’ve worked so hard to become they will understand and forgive the past, every dirty little part of it, all of it and never make mention again in a unkind way. It’s the absolute truth and the only way a healthy relationship can exist. If your spouse or partner always takes those digs and tosses out those reminders of the past, it’s not love. If they in the heat of an argument have to constantly make blanket and cruel statements about your past behaviors, it’s not love.
If they can not fully accept the changed you, the relationship will not last and probably because they can’t and don’t have the genuine capacity to forgive, some just cant. In another article in progress there are those too who prefer us as our sick addicted self. Those are co-dependents, they need us sick to function themselves and what they only do is further enable, again, that is not love.
With that said we must be honest with them when we have found our authentic and unique self. When we finally love our self to also say this is not how the story should go. We lived and were a facade in active addiction, we only cared about that and we manipulated and did horrible things to those we loved. Yes, we carry that burden for life but it is not meant to be a life sentence either of constant guilt. If the guilt is to strong your relationship won’t survive and you’ve yet to forgive yourself. If you wake up and wonder how you managed to survive decades in addiction with this person then it is time to soul search and be honest with yourself and them.
It is time to get real and either fly on your own and learn to detach with love in pursuit of the person you were truly meant to be with or be prepared for an un-fulfilling relationship for as long as it will ride out. Without doubt we thought and do love those people who stuck by us so long. But we also know our ultimate truth when through it all there remains a missing essence for the soul to shine bright, happiness. If after all attempts, communication, decades even of the relationship it may be necessary for one to be the stronger one for the sake of both and say it’s time to move on and allow us both to seek out happiness.
We both deserve it, we can’t do it for each other any longer and go in search delicately and slowly of the person who will be patient, accepting and love you as you are with all your flaws seamlessly stitched together. To thine own self be true absolutely! But do so with the utmost detachment of love out of love for wanting nothing but the best for whom if you are lucky will remain a life long friend.