Sometimes, we enter relationships for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps we are looking for “real love,” or affirmation of our self-worth, or any one of a hundred different reasons. We might have felt that our personal recovery had progressed to the point that we could handle any problems that might arise in a romance. We may even have believed that exclusive devotion to our love relationship or over-valuing the importance of a romantic partnership in our lives would help us to retain our self-worth.
John and Elaine Leadem are licensed clinical social workers whose combined investment in the field of addiction treatment spans more than sixty years. Their commitment to helping recovering families has provided the core inspiration for the development of a "A Decision to Be IN Love"© which has helped many couples move from the traditional parallel model of recovery to strong united core support group. They are both certified Sex Addiction Therapist and have co-developed a model for treating couples during the crisis stage of recovery.
Editor: Muhammad Talha
Recovery wisdom suggests that “we will lose whatever we place before our recovery.” We are notsuggesting therefore, that you place romantic happiness or a relationship ahead of your recovery or ahead of your pursuit of spiritual fulfillment. Romantic success however, is meant to be a byproduct of sober living and not a replacement for or it or a guarantee of it.
We can easily lose ourselves in the process of idolizing our partner or elevating a romantic relationship to the position of a higher power. We must retain our sense of self and remain spiritually fit if we expect a romance to thrive. It is a spiritual axiom that our romantic life will never be fuller than our spiritual life. We can have sobriety, spiritual well being and love if we are first true to ourselves.
If we are interested in enhancing the quality of a current romantic relationship or working to avoid ending up in relationships that are emotionally lopsided or that do not fulfill your emotional needs there will need to be change.
Many of us have been guided by our support group and sponsors to follow the recovery wisdom that encourages that we “do the next right thing” when we find ourselves confused about how to avoid repeating mistakes from past failures. Some of us have had such an unsuccessful history of romantic relationships we are hard-pressed to know what the “next right thing” is.
If you find yourself confused about what to do differently this time perhaps you will gain meaningful insights from a focused Fourth Step inventory. A focused Fourth Step inventory that examines only the romantic relationships in your history can reveal much that you can change in yourself to avoid repeating the same old mistakes.
Consider working with a guide we have published, Clearing Away the Wreckage of the Past: A Task Oriented Guide for Completing Steps 4 through 7 (Leadem & Leadem, 2010), which will help you to expose the common patterns of behavior in past romantic relationships that have cause you or other harm. It is a lot easier to do “the next right thing” when we understand what the wrongs things are.