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Relationships & Relpase

answered 07:36 AM EST, Tue January 21, 2014
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anonymous anonymous
Hi Jim,

I am not living with an addict, but instead have fallen in-love with an individual in recovery. Sober since May 2010 and very active in AA, she is so inspiring to me and I feel lucky to have even met her. I grew up with an alcoholic Mother who to this day is in denial. I have been involved with Al-Anon on and off throughout my adult years. Now that the foundation is set, here is my dilemma. My new love recently showed some character defects that I am not okay with. She however is so honest about them and acknowledges the negative seeking behavior and creating chaos ways that its hard to be upset. I appreciate her honesty and commitment to continual growth. She is so real and refreshing. I am finding though I do not know how to respond when such incidents happen. My fear is I never want to be a contributing factor to her relapse and I know relationships are number one cause. However, I can not just sit in silence cause when I do that upsets her too. How do I effectively communicate with such a delicate situation. I am in love with her, she is worth it and I feel blessed, but unequipped. Any advice? Thank you in advance.

Jim LaPierre Says...

Absolutely delightful to read your question and to hear from such a sensitive soul as you.

I have nothing but good news for you - starting with this: Your partner alone is responsible for whether or not they use/drink. No one else in this world bears that responsibility. Relationships are not a cause of relapse. The choice to drink or do drugs is the cause of relapse (that may sound like I'm being snarky but what I'm really doing is emphasizing personal responsibility).

The concern regarding relationships is that we ought not to make significant changes in our first year of sobriety. Entering into a new relationship with less than a year sober generally is a distraction as we take the focus off of ourselves and onto those we start dating. Your partner has more than enough sobriety - it is quite likely that they have never been in a healthy relationship and this may well be uncharted territory (Sarah Bareiles has a great song "Uncharted:)

Don't walk on eggshells. Just be genuine and if you get stuck please consider some short term couples counseling.

Good luck!

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