Do you expect your loved one to attend meetings every day in early recovery?


#1

As usual, I’m struggling with a scenario. My S/O has been sober for 29 days. One of the things he tends to do is slow down on his meetings during the course of his sobriety.

I always tell him that if he has the time to sit and drink for weeks on end, he has the time to attend meetings. We both agree in conversation that recovery should always come before work, other appointments, leisure, etc. Since he’s been back from rehab last week, he has at least attended one meeting every day either through zoom or in-person. It is tough right now because there’s not a ton of in-person meetings due to Covid. And he doesn’t drive. That part I get. But tonight when I asked him if he attended a zoom meeting, he said he fell asleep. He then said, “no big deal. There are in-person ones tomorrow and Friday.”

I’m struggling with this right now. I tend to think I know what’s best for his recovery. And in some ways, I do think I am more attune to what leads to a crash. After all, I witness it each and every time. One of those things is slacking on his meetings and putting work/other things before recovery. But I’m trying really hard to not force my opinion too much. It’s his recovery, not mine. Maybe I don’t know what’s best. But boy is that hard. Maybe I’m asking too many questions. Should I even ask every night if he attended a meeting? From there, do I make a comment when he doesn’t? It’s a fine line in my own recovery as I tend to put all of my focus on the addict in my life and what they are doing. Maybe I need to attend my own meetings. Maybe I’m being a bit hypocritical. But then again, he’s the one who’s practically killed himself several times this year. And he says not attending a meeting tonight is “no big deal.” Well to me it is.

What does everyone on this forum do/expect in regards to meetings and recovery? Do you keep a bottom line? Am I being too pushy by saying anything? Should I say something? I never know what’s the right thing to do. So far I haven’t commented. Instead, I took a break for an hour and came back to the conversation and told him I love him. But I am tempted to at least tell him my feelings on the subject. But I also don’t want to over do it or come off pushy or controlling.


#2

Hi @Jess, I always love your thoughtful posts.
#1. YES - sign up for our Group Course ! There’s no time like the present, we’re just starting our new cycle, it’s 1.5 hours time a week MAXIMUM and I’m positive you won’t regret it. It will help with a lot of this indecision and MORE.

OK, anyway :slight_smile:

Regarding your questions here is some theory and techniques in response:

100% we see what’s going on with them, pick up on patterns like a spidey sense, and we remember better because we’re not high! SO. My recommendations here are, depending on the openness of your communication (which we can also work on):

  1. to let him know that watching him struggle bears some weight on you, and that your questioning and concern is only coming out of love for him and that you’re also working on de-conditioning some of your past habits of worrying about him, and so his open communication can help you worry less, which will help you stress less and have that affect him
  2. ask him if you can collaborate together on watching his patterns to make sure he’s got the right amount of support. This is best when it takes on an experimental approach, so that they can keep their power and build self efficacy. So it might look like: let’s take note of the meetings / recovery activities you do this week and see what the results are. Ask him: how will we know if it’s working well or not working well? The more we engage him in the process the better.
  3. ask him how you can support. Get ideas from him so that again he’s engaging and you know what he wants.

Should I even ask every night if he attended a meeting? From there, do I make a comment when he doesn’t?

Building on the above list, you might:

  • let him know that it calms your nerves if you are aware of his meetings attendance.

  • And ask him, if he’s not making it to meetings, what can I do to support you? Are there any barriers to attending meetings / engaging in his recovery that we could help troubleshoot, problem solve or remove? Will it be helpful for me to remind you to make it to a meeting tomorrow, spend some time talking with you or giving you affection, or what would be helpful? Are meetings not working for you anymore and do you want to try something else?

  • Recovery is not one size fits all and it can change over time. Also, healing takes time and effort and it makes sense that he’d be tired from it! You might ask him if there’s a reason he isn’t attending, if he’s tired, maybe that is a fair reason, he needs rest. Does he need anything else on those days?

Another really important concept is Positive Reinforcement. Praise him for going to meetings / doing other recovery positive activities. Acknowledge the effort. This creates conditions to see more of those actions.

I also mentioned in another post, if helpful here also:

We can also brainstorm options for your loved one. One idea is this free recovery content and coaching app by our friends at Halcyon Health another is a call with our Recovery Coach who has been so helpful to many of our community members and can help navigate options.


#3

Hi @Jess - it’s great to hear your partner is doing well in recovery with 29 days sober. I know that hasn’t been easy for either of you. Amazing job to you both for making progress and putting in the work.

I agree with all of the communication tips that @Jane provided. Are you able to communicate your fears with your partner the way you do with this community?

For example, can you say to him: “I’m struggling with this right now. I have witnessed what leads to a crash. One of those things is not attending meetings regularly and putting work or other things before recovery. I’m really trying hard not to force my opinion too much. It’s your recovery, not mine. But knowing you are going to meetings can help support my recovery from this. How can we support each other?”

That’s very similar to something I would say to my husband. It usually helps me when I turn the conversation on my own struggles and healing. I know what I need, and I ask him for it. Then I ask him what he needs, and how I can support. Sometimes the outcome isn’t exactly what I want, but oftentimes talking it out and knowing we’re both on the same page is enough to help calm my fears and keep moving forward.

Finding my communities like Al-Anon, women’s circles, and therapy groups that meet regularly has helped me. When I focus on my own behaviors, I start to realize how hard change can be. Sometimes I don’t want to go to a meeting. Sometimes I don’t want to do the yoga or exercise or whatever other thing is a part of my recovery process. Understanding that challenge can help us become more compassionate toward our loved one’s challenges.

Sending love.


#4

Ladies, 100% on all of the above! Honestly, I didn’t really need to say much this time. And I think sometimes he knows when I’m a bit quiet it’s because he knows I’m thinking. So he ended up explaining on his own to me that he was over booking himself with other things. On his day 30 sober (yesterday), he cancelled a chiropractor appointment because he decided he doesn’t need to be going from sun up to sun down. I thought that was a good acknowledgment. We both attended a duel Alanon/AA meeting.

In my Alanon meeting I touched on how I’m working on turning some if these thoughts inward. I too get lazy about meetings. If I’m not making it to my own meetings, who am I to tell him what he should be doing? It helps to really look at what you said @momentsandlight. We don’t always want to go to a meeting either! I need to remember that when I’m passing judging on him. In addition, this is indeed his recovery, not mine. Who am I to say how many each week he should be attending? But I do think it’s important when the time is right for me to express what patterns I’ve noticed in the past when he relapses.

I still think I need to take the course, go to more Alanon meetings, read more, educate myself, etc. I’m getting better with the big stuff such as keeping myself safe when he’s drunk and volatile or not driving him to the liquor store for that “one last pint” or not going grocery shopping with a drunk person. Those were the big ones keeping me very sick and him too. It’s the little things now that get my mind going. I get very triggered by these minute moments in time where I’m not quite sure what to do. I end up staying quiet a lot of the time or posting on this site. Which is great too. Posting on this forum had been huge for me. I’ve grown so much in the past year because of people here at the Village who have similar experiences. It’s amazing what just a little question and response from others with similar backgrounds can do for you.

Tonight he’s going to a meeting. After that I’m picking him up to have a movie night. Honestly I’m not as worried about the right now. Usually he relapses at the 60 or 90 day mark. But I want us to be vigilant because skipping meetings tends to lead up to those relapses. Maybe tonight I’ll explain my feelings a bit further and ask him some questions on how I can support him more and we can go from there.

Thanks again ladies! Your help is always very much appreciated.


#5

Thank you for sharing @Jess such thoughtful reflections, and it’s always really nice for us to hear the follow up :slight_smile:

And thank you for sharing because as you said, it can be so helpful to see that others share similar struggles and to hear how they’re approaching things and how things work out. You’re making this space more useful to everyone by sharing so thank you thank you for that!

And I can’t wait to see you in the Group Course, I hope you’ll join us this cycle with our first meeting next week :wink: