Identifying Relationships in Recovery for Women

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!!!

The Very Few Things I know About Addiction & Relationships

10At least once a week I make time to read blogs and social media post with all whom I’ve connected with over the past years. And the theme on my “Newsfeed” this week seems to be about addiction and relationships.

On their own, addiction and relationships can take a lifetime to understand. However both together, is an entire other “monster.”

When my addiction finally caught up to my relationship with my wife, our marriage was already pretty much destroyed. The final step was her packing up and leaving, again. I didn’t fight it either, I wanted to be alone to use and drink as much as I wanted. I wasn’t hiding it anymore, or at least I thought I was not hiding it.

Although my marriage did somehow survive, I don’t have any answers.

However I do remember the moment when I finally realized that I could not fix my addiction and my marriage at the same time. I had been in treatment about 2 weeks. Complaining and crying about my broken marriage to anyone who would listen. I wanted my marriage fixed first, then “I promised” to work on my addiction. I was getting no where. No better off than the first day I admitted to rehab. Then I heard something that I had been hearing since the day I got in. But I never really listened.

“God grant me the serenity, to accept the things I can not change..”

And just hit me. I can’t change or fix my marriage. I had to let go. I had to work on myself, no matter if my marriage was over or not.

Some day I am going to interview my wife and let her talk about what it was like and how and why she held on. However today, I’m just grateful and blessed to have her and the kids still in my life.

-JR Valdes