Five Challenges the Partners of Alcoholics in Recovery Face

1.  “I am still not the priority?!” When one enters recovery, their partner is usually feeling a great sense of relief and gratitude. Possibly believing some “normalcy” will return to their lives. Time together, evenings out, no more fighting the booze for attention. Over time; however, the truth reveals itself. No, it is not the alcohol that consumes their time – now it is their recovery. AA meetings, coffee afterwards, meeting their sponsor, doing step work. All of these things take time. It is often difficult for the partner to now have to share their spouse with the program. “How do I come second…..again??” The truth is, making recovery the priority IS making you and your relationship the priority. The program of recovery is one that must be attended to as often and as frequently as the alcoholism was. There is a saying “everything you put before your recovery you will lose”. So remember, you are the priority – now more than ever. “I don’t recognize you….” In the early stages of recovery the alcoholic is learning a new way of life – a new way to be – a new identity is forming. Perhaps while drinking your partner was passive, compliant, had a dependency on you. Perhaps while drinking your partner was upbeat, outgoing, life of the party. Now, who is the person before you who has lost or changes the personality you knew? In recovery the alcoholic is discovering who they are without alcohol. In turn, you as the partner, may be learning new things about them. Very often a new set of beliefs are developed and...

We Are All Teachers…

What is your very first memory? Who does it involve? What is the emotion you feel when thinking of it? Is there a message you internalized from this memory? Chances are that you can answer each of these questions when you sit to think about it. Our memories hold the script in which we developed our beliefs about the world we live in and ourselves. If we examine our memories closely, we can see the messages that were given, the lessons that were taught – the very things that we recreate in our own lives, every moment of every day. One problem with this for some, is that many of these messages were harmful ones, ones that can lead a person to have low self-worth, negative self-image, low confidence, and possibly engage in self destructive behaviors. In my practice I see it every day – men and woman who come into therapy with an internalized belief system that they developed from others in their life that had their own unresolved issues. Parents, teachers, friends, caregivers…any influential person or experience can help to shape our internal belief systems. If you are a parent and you are engaging in self destructive behaviors such as alcohol or drug addiction, eating disorder, rageful outbursts, abuse to your spouse the list is endless – think about the messages you are giving your children. If you are unable to properly parent your child – what must that child learn about themselves? There are some who take on the responsibility for your neglectful behavior. They believe if they were somehow “better” then perhaps you would love...