My boyfriend says he has a plan for recovery (go into sober living, meditate, journal, church, new hobbies, etc.) but is still using. He is doing some of the things listed above but I’m unsure of how serious/how ready he is for recovery this time around. Am I being given empty promises? How will I know if/when he s serious and ready?
Hi @LexiNico - fair questions the reality of recovery is that it can look different for each person going through it. It’s great that he has a plan and is taking some actions on it. Maybe ask how you can help him keep up those actions and a great way to support is helping them see when certain actions aren’t working the way they like, and then using that as an opportunity to brainstorm new options or return to past options that have worked in the past.
I guess I would wonder, if still using is it increasing or decreasing? Is the harm of use increasing or decreasing? Does it seem like a medical detox is necessary, or are they seeming to make progress?
Also what is their opinion of their use? Do they want to stop fully? How negative to they feel it is to them?
Love to hear your thoughts.
Hi @Jane! It’s been hard. He knows he needs to stop but I’m unsure of how willing or ready he is. He was in a sober living and doing wonderfully but life got to him and he slipped… Unfortunately he didn’t come back to recovery and instead moved into active addiction. His journaling, hobbies, etc seem to help and even allowed him to stay sober for 5 days but he continued. I’m just having a hard time helping him steer himself back onto the right path.
A couple thoughts here: If he’s ready, then he’ll probably let you know by his actions and/or ask you for help. It’s okay if he’s not, he’s just not and that will tell you how you can respond.
The most profound thing I’ve learned from my relationship is that addiction is not just my partner’s problem. I’ve had to do A LOT of personal development in order to help him and our relationship. So step number one is: if you want him to commit to his recovery, then you need to commit to yours. This could look like getting a life coach, going to therapy, going to SMART meetings for family/friends and you’re already starting that journey by being here in this community!
So be curious about: what emotional wounds do you need to heal in yourself? How can you focus on working on yourself?
In my personal experience, when I did the work on myself, my partner did the same BY HIS OWN CHOICE. Not necessarily on the same timeline, but it’s absolutely possible to inspire change in our partners by being an example of how to face our own negative emotions, reactions, attachment style, old or pre-programmed beliefs, etc.
If you’re willing to let go of what you think he should be doing and trust that all will come together when you’re working hard on yourself, miracles truly can happen
I also learned from my Nar-Anon meetings I had a recovery to commit to. And by commiting to mine I was able to accept my husband’s disease and my husband wherever the disease happened to be at the time. Active use or recovery. If I committed to taking care of myself FIRST, I was able to find some semblence of peace. As I learned in my meetings, I couldn’t control his using, I couldn’t cure his using and I didn’t cause his using.
We can be put in relationships to heal the parts of ourself that need healing. Learning from our addicts a lot about who WE are. I had no idea about myself and found it easier to focus all my attention on my addict so I didn’t have to heal. It’s a lot of work and can be scary. You can do it!
Get all the education you can about the disease through these communities and others. You will get healthier for YOU. And it will get easier for you to accept your relationship whatever state it is in at the time. Steer yourself on YOUR right path. Easy does it! Lots of prayers being sent your way.
I’d love to draw a distinction here that some of our members have been reflecting back to us and it’s getting more crystalized. Where Al Anon / Nar Anon focus is the recovery of the family member, and a process of detaching with love where necessary.
In our We The Village Trainings we also advise strongly that looking after ourselves first is key, because we can’t thrive and we can’t look after anyone when we’re depleted. Where we differ from the Anon groups, is that We The Village Trainings focus on building the skill and knowledge base of the actions we can take to influence our loved one’s behavior towards more positive and healthy habit development. By nature of having a relationship with this person we have some influence over them, we can choose to leverage that influence with skills that are proven to help. That’s what We The Village provides access to through our trainings.
I’m working on getting better at explaining this clearly, because this distinction is not traditionally made.
We offer 1-1 and group support through this so you can learn specifically within your situation AND from group members in the process too.
It’s your choice if you want to do this work, but I might suggest that since you’re going to do work anyway, you may as well do the work that’s evidence-based and shown to improve outcomes for ourselves and our loved ones