I was talking with a friend in recovery the other day and she said one of her biggest challenges in early recovery was breaking-up with her drug dealing boyfriend but still texting him because in addiction, she didn’t know who was a friend or not. She went on to say the line that was crossed from friend to drug dealer to boyfriend was completely blurred.
I thought about early recovery for me. After the first 90 days, I started to decipher who was a friend, who did I consider family and who hung out with me just to use. And it was confusing. It took over 4 years to learn about which relationships was real and which was not. So I completely understood what my friend went through, and I would like to offer this.
Relationships are complicated, duh! They take work and effort over time, sometimes months or even years. One of the keys to relationships is self-disclosure. The first date your just feeling each other out, the second divulge a little more, maybe your Houston Texans fan, (sorry if you are lol..) and third date and so on begin to share little memories. Like the place you went to your first date, or watching the game together. Then slowly you start to disclose personal information. Maybe about your family, or something your passionate about like recovery. But all this happens over time. But in addiction, this process can happen in one night. Now you may say, well drugs and alcohol were involved so its not legit, but is it? Drugs and alcohol surely speed the process, but the emotions and disclosure are still there. You made a memory staying up all night, where in which you disclosed personal information and promised to see each other again, because he “understands you!” Then you get in early recovery. And you completely confused on what to do.
Let’s start here, everything is not communication, therefor everything is not always a relationship. They are 3 type of general relationships, and I’m going to talk about one of them, which is role relationships. These are people we see throughout our day that we have minimal interaction with and they can be interchangeable. For example, the person at the gas station. You hand them money, they give you chips and soda, maybe a “have a nice day,” and you go about your day. The person behind counter can change the next day just like every customer changes. That’s a role relationship. In addiction, it’s our drug dealers, bartenders and so-called friends we use with. It’s important to identify these types of relationship so in early recovery we can quickly discard them. We feel like we have this special bond to our drug dealer or bartender, but we don’t. They have other people just like us to serve or deal too. So if you are new in recovery or know someone who is, when they are confused about who is a boyfriend or friend and who is not, kick a little “role relationships” to them, and help them delete the unhealthy relationships and Facebook friends!!!
One of the most challenging obstacle I faced in early recovery was ending my life time friendships. It was also frustrating to determine who was my real friend or n0t. However once I realized ending my friendships had to be done in order for me to not drink or use anymore the feeling of abandoning the people I grew up with a little better.
So for me, I changed my number and stopped hanging out at places where my friends would hang out regular basis. But this resulted in some lonely boring nights and home by myself that was actually just as bad as hanging out with the old gang. But I did, I made it through and eventually friends stopped looking for me and in time I made new friends and healthy relationships. But it wasn’t until a few months ago, I came across an article that I think would of really helped me out back then when ending my relationships.
The article is called “Letting Go of a Relationship with Gratitude,” and was written by Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D. In the article, she states that if you are going to end a friendship, you can do it a healthy manner. Dr. White also states that out of every friendship, you can pull positives even out of negative relationships.
Dr. White explains that all allow ourselves some type of “humiliation and pain” while we are gaining acceptance in a group. But in friendships, this can lead to “resentments” against the other person. And if we apply this concept to our addiction and recovery, we all know that resentments are our “number-one killer,” it was it comes to relapse.
Dr. White goes on to explain that creating a “Gratitude Review” can allow you to end relationships and learn from them as well.
Here are two things I want to leave you with:
- Here is the link to the “Letting Go of a Relationship with Gratitude,” article, please feel free to comment how you challenge or confirm the content.
2. Here is the link to a Relationship Survey, that I think you might find interesting, and it is completely anonymous. The reason for the survey is for a Thesis paper I am working on so it would be greatly appreciated if you take it!
Also you can sign up for the Relationship Study email list, where I will be sending you monthly reports of how the Thesis is going and the information that I am collecting!
I know, I’m super excited as well!!!!!
My son was born last week and I didn’t realize how important my morning routine was until I got off track for a few days. More importantly, it was the actual “not having enough time” aspect to do my morning rituals, that really through me off. Within a few days I was back on schedule and I got a chance to talk with an old high school friend of mine about how important it is to manage your time on a daily basis.
When I made the decision that I was tired of being miserable and I wanted help with desperation of a drowning man, I admitted defeat. And what was so hard about that evening in San Marcos, Texas in February of 2013, was that for the first time in my life, even though I had failed at life for the past two decades, was admitting that I was a failure. And that feeling of admitting, is why I am sober today.
I didn’t realize it at the time, however today I know that I must fail and accept that failure in order to move on in life. I was holding on to some false notion that everything I was doing in my disease of addiction was going to somehow work out. But once I let go, it left room to not only learn from my mistakes, but to heal.
Yesterday I realized that I am still holding on to things in my life that I have failed at. For example when I first started my podcast, Keeping it Sober, my goal was to be the number one podcast on iTunes for the recovery genre, which I am far from. However I never admitted it myself, so I was never able to change what I was doing. Admitting that I failed, doesn’t mean I have to stop podcasting or rip it off ITunes, all it means is now I can look at it, and learn from what didn’t work, improve on what did work and now how I can I make it better.
Failure is a good thing. Without failure, we don’t have an opportunity to learn. Without admitting failure, I would absolutely not be sober right now. So what are somethings, projects or goals that you have failed at, but are still holding on to? Admit defeat, accept failure and learn from it so you can move on in your life and recovery!
Any day now, you will be born into this world. Words can not explain how excited I am. In fact, I have done a pretty good job of not showing my hand. Feelings and emotions is something I am still working on in my recovery. However I can tell you, I’ve been eating healthier, exercising a little and reading and writing a lot more. I’m getting ready for you son.
I want you to know that you have an amazing mother. She will always protect you, with her life if she has to. You have three sisters. One a U.S. Marine, one a college student, and the youngest that’s in middle school, that is smarter than all of us combined. They are all beautiful and funny. And they all love you unconditionally.
You have grandparents who will have a huge role in your life. You have five aunt’s (or Tia’s), and four Uncles, (or Tio’s). You have a bunch of cousins that will help guide you, as well as probably get in trouble with you. And you have Godparents who live on the East Coast who can’t wait to meet you. So you have a lot of family to look to for support throughout your life.
I want you to know, that life can be amazing, challenging, hard, purposeful and unfair. You are going to have to make tough decisions. You are going to fall, but get right back up. I want you to know that I am nervous. But I also want you to know that I am sober. And because of that, I am able to raise you the best that I can. I am not perfect, but sometimes I proclaim that I am, so bare with me, the first 18 years, you actually do not have a choice!
I can’t wait for you to meet Grandpa, which were you got your middle name. I can’t wait to hang out with you, teach you, laugh with you, guide you and most of all show you through actions of my own.
A few things that are a must. You must always respect your sisters. You must always hold the door open for someone. You must always shake hands with confidence, you must know it is ok to ask for help and you must never be afraid to talk with your mother and I.
And the last thing I want you to know son, is that you are my dream come true.
– Hook’em Horns!!!
I drive myself crazy trying to control and change everyone and everything around me. Even in recovery, trying to change the world around you can get exhausting, not to mention dangerous for us in recovery. The stress of trying to control others action but not being able to can lead us to relapse. However like everything in my life, I finally got tired of it and took action.
I finally realized that I cant control anyone but me, and controlling is a huge part of my addictive behavior. So instead of wasting God’s pure energy that he gave us on trying to change everything and everyone, I simply started to change my perception of things by taking another view.
Here’s an example. I don’t know why, but it drives me crazy when I see the recycle bin in our house overfilled. It’s like I’m the recycle bin police and my job is to make sure not an inch of recyclables better cross that fill line or else!!! So finally getting tired of wasting my limited precious moments of the day on stress, aggravation and control I decided to change my view of things. So now instead of being upset that my household does not revolve around my recycle bin morals, I look at the bin and tell myself, “how nice it is to have a family who is mindful of our environment and loves to recycle.” Or, “my family did their job in recycling, now I get to help out by taking it to the outside recycle bin.”
This is just a small example of how to look at things with a different perspective in effort to having a better overall day. However imagine the many “big things” we can change our view on to make difference in other people’s lives as well.
I would love to hear your thoughts!!!
Lately the word “purpose” has been everywhere I look it seems. I hear it in meetings, groups and in reading articles. When I think of having “purpose” I imagine the search for purpose while in a personal journey, of hiking across beautiful mountain tops, along mystical trails with nothing but a backpack and religion. It’s always the search, the hunt and the journey that makes purpose so profound. However, for me, its not only purpose, but it’s applying purpose to my recovery.
Maybe my purpose in recovery is as simple as sharing my story or just listening without interrupting. I love to complicate everything! But for me, with a family and my first son on the way, I can’t just pack a bag and go. However, that should not stop me from the journey.
You see, just like how I finally got tired of being miserable, I now refuse to wake up, go to work, come home, go to sleep, stay sober and do it all over again. I have to have some type of daily purpose that tells me no matter what, this is why I exists, this is why I am sober, at least for today. So I detached myself from things that I thought were identifying me like work and graduate school. I tell myself, if I ever get fired or fail at school, that should not dictate my purpose. I should be able to wake up, fulfill my daily purpose, no matter what.
I would love to hear your thoughts!
This was probably one of my favorite podcast! I traveled to Austin, Texas to interview Ashlee Whittemore. Ashlee is an amazing individual who shared some really personal experiences all in effort to help other people! Thanks for listening!!