Recovering alcoholics in dating relationships

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When people work Step Four, they begin to realize that in order to stay clean and sober, they need to handle all their feelings--the good, the bad, and the ugly ones--in a healthy and safe way rather than covering them up with mood-altering chemicals or addictive behaviors.Many PIRs who have numbed their feelings for so long start to actually feel again.Many PIRs [people in recovery] also need help establishing healthy relationships.Some PIRs come from unhappy families in which emotional or physical abuse and addiction were common.When they were drinking and using, they may have grown used to doing whatever it took to cover up, excuse, or engage in their addictive behavior.When it comes to an addiction disorder, deceit, manipulation, and friendships with fellow drinking or drugging buddies are too often the rule, rather than the exception.

In the process, they learn mutual respect for others and how to have equality in a relationship rather than power over someone else.

When I mentioned to my friend Mark that I was writing this chapter, he said, "Yikes! " He then proceeded to tell me about his own struggles and achievements as he worked on each of these "relationship" Steps.

Sometimes these Steps take a long time to work through the first time, and because recovery and relationships are ongoing realities, these are Steps that are revisited time and time again.

Paul said that the more thorough the list, the better, in order to make sure the PIR deals with any smoldering resentments (or other thoughts and feelings) that might creep out later in an unhealthy way.

The moral inventory in Step Four gives PIRs a practical tool for honestly and courageously facing how their addictive actions may have hurt others and harmed themselves in the process.

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