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Navigating Relationships in Recovery

Navigating Relationships in Recovery


Relationships for the normal person are both amazing and amazingly difficult. Relationships for the addict/alcoholic, are pretty much impossible. Did you ever hear people say, “You can’t give love if you don’t have love yourself?” It’s true, you cannot give away what you haven’t got. Period.

An addict/alcoholic just simply does not have any room in their heart for love, or compassion or dedication. We are limited to what we have to offer because our minds and hearts are consumed with pain, loss and lack of self esteem. At least it was for this addict.

I’ve had a few long term relationships while in my active addiction. All of which were drowned in substances. We wold feed off each others’ weaknesses, we used them like pawns to get what we needed. Financially, there was always the question regarding who had provided more to get drugs and alcohol and who was worse off than the other. Did you also ever hear the phrase, “misery loves company?” It couldn’t be more fitting.

Beneath the wrath of our addictions I believe there was a small sliver of love, the idea of love maybe, the hope that we could be among the average person. We held on to that idea like it was our only sense of normality.

There was a lot of anger.  Anger, I believe derived from the anger we had within ourselves – for ourselves. There was a lot of self pity and lack of self esteem which turned into highly emotional arguments and rage. We never talked things out and compromised, or agreed to disagree, we pushed these things down and went on to fulfill our needs, like the good slaves we were. We didn’t solve anything. As addicts, we choose not to feel, not to talk, not to comply, we push. We lived in constant servitude to our addictions. Our primitive drives to love, eat, sleep, drink were replaced with drugs, alcohol, and by all means not to feel any pain.

In sobriety, holding a relationship will be the most unnatural thing you will ever feel. How do I act? How do I love? How do I kiss or show compassion? How do I put someones needs in front of my own? You will. Be patient. You will be blessed with the gratitude of life and will feel more fulfilled in holding a successful relationship than much of anything else.

Your heart will soften. It will beat again, but this time it is for something else, for someone else, for love. At thirty five, I’ve finally felt the want and desire for someone else’s happiness; and there is a triumph I feel in that. If you need time before you feel comfortable in embarking on the journey of a relationship, take that time. Take all the time you need. Feel all these new feelings you may have never experienced before, it’s all okay.

You have a whole new life ahead of you. Enjoy every damn moment of it.

Kimberly K. is a recovery blogger from New Jersey, her blog can be found at www.MyDay-MyChoice.com. She can also be found on facebook at Hospital For Your Soul.


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