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Recovery and Relationships

1 Your Role
I want to learn about treatment options for:

2 Basic Information
The Person is:
years old

graduated high school

3 Condition Information
Caron Treatment Centers accepts patients aged 13 years or older. For more information on services available to those 12 and under, please learn more about Caron's Student Assistance Program.
We all want our love stories to have happy endings. And they do exist outside of the movie theater and the pages of a book. Real-life happy ending require hard work every day. When relationships between couples or among family members are complicated by addiction, that work to have healthy happy relationships requires even more effort.

Recovery gives the addicted person and those who love them the chance to start over to build the trust, honesty, and openness healthy relationships need. As Valentine’s Day approaches, we have some suggestions for how you can build loving relationships with the people in your life who are in recovery:

Accept that you are in a new place:
The person you once knew is now someone different and you are too. You need to work out new patterns of relating to create a healthy relationship. Not being willing to do that can endanger the relationship and sabotage the work the person in recovery is doing.

Commit to openness and honest communication with each other:
That includes getting counseling to help strengthen the relationship and provide resources and tools for learning new ways of relating.

Change your lifestyle:
Talk with your loved one about changes that may be needed to support both of you in recovery. It may be, for example, that you decide not to go to functions where alcohol is served. Or you may recognize that former friends or family members can no longer be a part of your new lives. You may need to figure out new activities and develop new interests.

Do your own recovery work: Get counseling, go to Al-Anon, do whatever you need to do to maintain your mental and emotional health and set healthy boundaries.

Have compassion for yourself:
Being in relationship with someone who has an addiction is traumatizing. It’s understandable that you may be wary and even question if you are doing the right thing in staying. It will take patience, tolerance, and understanding for yourself as well as the person in recovery to create a healthy relationship.

Build your own support network
: It’s important to have a support system that is not shared with your loved one. Find friends and/or a therapist or counselor with whom you can be open and honest about everything, including the relationship and the addiction.

Recognize codependency:
People in relationship with addicts often become dependent on the addict’s destructive behavior in order to keep the relationship going. You may need to work on changing your response to unacceptable behavior, from taking advantage of your generosity to emotional or physical abuse.

Be aware of addiction interaction disorder (AID):
Most addicts and alcoholics have concurrent addictions or become addicted to something else while in recovery for a primary addiction. Common addictions besides drugs and alcohol include gambling, sex, eating, work, and the Internet. Signs to watch for include:
•    Not going to meeting and/or staying in touch with sponsors, counselors, or therapists.
•    Disappearing without explanation
•    Spending excessive amounts of time on the phone or computer
•    Reacting emotionally when questioned
•    Unexplained spending

If you are concerned about AID, the first thing to do is monitor the situation and ask yourself questions to make sure you are not jumping to the worst-case scenario. If you believe that a new addiction has come up, then have a non-accusatory conversation with your loved one. If possible, have that conversation with the support of a counselor.

Recovery invites a new level of intimacy if the people in relationship are willing to do the emotional and mental health work required to sustain that intimacy. That’s when the happy endings begin