Sober Life, Happy Life? What I Learned About Relationships in Recovery

This is a guest blog written by Tori Skene of Sober Nation

The truth is, when I got sober, the relationships I had were like trying to fit a frayed rope into a minuscule notch. No matter how hard I had worked I wasn’t going to get anywhere. It required time and effort on both parts. Over a series of months, I had done a massive amount of work on myself, so why shouldn’t my ex-boyfriend come running back to me? Why shouldn’t my Mom take off the lock she put on her bedroom door? I was a living, breathing new person. At least that’s how I felt.

“The strain in a relationship isn’t going to go away overnight because you’re sober. Once we sober up, we have to have a team to help us clean out the wreckage of our past – it’s nearly impossible to do alone.”

It took a lot of days, late nights, and frustration for hindsight to show up. When it did, life was 20/20 through a microscope. I was able to see the damage I had done to the people around me. It took work to repair the damages – a lot of it at that. Today, I’m lucky enough to say that my relationships are better than they ever were. Through much hard work, dedication, and perseverance, here are a couple of things I’ve learned about maintaining relationships (romantic or not) in sobriety.

the discovery house

Sobriety Doesn’t Make Everything Better; It Keeps it from Getting Worse.

While our relationships change, the way we interact with people and certain situations change. Early recovery is a roller coaster for both parties involved. Unfortunately, when we get sober, it can be disappointing to find out that recovery doesn’t resolve every problem. Often, there are a host of other debacles to deal with, and however, if we stay sober and continue to live this new way of life, these issues won’t persist.

Time Takes Time

The strain in a relationship isn’t going to go away overnight because you’re sober. Once we sober up, we have to have a team to help us clean out the wreckage of our past – it’s nearly impossible to do alone. This can involve challenging our current through processes, and listening to other individuals advice, learning how to become vulnerable, as well as learning from our mistakes.

the discovery house

Working Together Builds Intimacy And Respect

For a while, I went to extreme lengths of trying to make up for the past. By doing that, I focused selfishly on the other person’s interests instead of the interest of our relationship as a whole. The powerlessness of addiction and the way one person goes about sobriety can either unite a connection or create distance. However, working together to learn effective communication.

Sobriety Is The Ultimate Game Changer

When I entered this new way of life, I had family and friends telling me that they wanted to “get back to a point” in our relationship when things were good. However, when I said to them that there was no going back, the puzzled look on their faces had me grinning from ear to ear. Addiction, as well as sobriety, can be like a mobile – once you make a move, your entire life shifts, as well as the lives around it. These new expectations that we have formed for ourselves must align with the future ahead and the relationships we experience. Through time and hard work, I was able to transform these relationships into something that either myself or my loved ones couldn’t have imagined. We have shared the deepest belly laughs, traveled to the most amazing places, and share the deepest of loves.

About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.

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