7 Ways to Tell if Your Partner is Working Recovery
How to Tell if Your Partner is Actually in Recovery
So your partner is in recovery. Sadly after so many lies in the relationship we come to question almost everything. Some common questions loved ones have are similar to these:
“Are they really?”
“Are they just telling me that to placate me?”
“Is it another lie?”
As our questions revolve around in our hearts and minds we find we need an answer, BUT cannot rely on the fact of is the partner going to be honest or lie? The only way to know for sure your partner is actually in recovery is to look for the actions along with the words. Actions speak louder than words is a cliche because it’s the truth. So what are we looking for?
Doing step work
Accountability- This isn’t just telling someone they are sober, it is a way of life. If an addict is actually in recovery they have an accountability partner set up and are willing to have their life examined by that person. I suggest Covenant Eyes software for computers and Hoverwatch for any phones and tablets that are available to the addict. I am not affiliated with these but have found them to be very useful in my own life. Yes even the kid’s tablet as an addict will do whatever they need to if they choose to use.
Honesty- Addiction lives in secret and lies. The best and most important thing to break out of that life sucking hell is to be honest, even when they are scared. Most addicts believe if we actually knew them we would hate them. For them to be honest is a very hard thing but if your addicted loved one is being honest they are probably in recovery. They may well go through a phase of over honesty as they find equilibrium in honesty, meaning they tell you every little detail of whatever they are talking about and that’s okay. Just be prepared to hear things you NEVER thought they’d tell anyone or things you feel don’t matter to their sobriety.
Transparency- What do I mean by transparency in recovery? Well that means that the addict is making an effort to be doing exactly what they say when they say. They are open about everything they are doing. No this isn’t an excuse to ask them about what they are doing for recovery or what exactly they are doing in their meetings, but they will be more willing to offer information than in the past. They will show with their actions that they are trying to follow their words.
Intimacy- Compulsive sexual disorders are an intimacy or attachment disorder. One of the ways to combat this is to form or reform their attachment bonds and learn new ways to feel connected. They may not know any other way to feel intimate or share themselves with another person. Trying to talk about their needs and wants is NOT easy for them. Their addiction could very well stem from them feeling that their wants and needs are not important to anyone. This is where recovery comes in. It will take time and understanding but they will start to try to attach to you in a more normal and healthy way. As they do this they may seem more open and vulnerable that in the past.
Counseling- Most addicts avoid counselors or love them for the same reason, they have to talk about themselves. But to be in real recovery they will need to be seeing a qualified sexual addiction specialist either a coach or therapist. With almost all addictions there are past issues that need to be worked out to move forward. They will need to take the time to work out their past to be able to move away from destructive patterns.
Consistency- In addiction the addict is fueled by chaos because that allowed them to seek their drug of choice with less guilt. As recovery progresses they will find that the more consistent their lives are the easier it is. They need consistency in every aspect of their lives just as they used to need chaos. Having a schedule will allow them to feel more comfortable in their new life and is encouraged in recovery. This may come later in recovery for some people.
Doing step work- I believe the comradery, accountability and the fact that their sponsor knows the same tricks as them makes 12 Step programs very effective. When you are working with someone who has been where you are you are more willing to be open and will feel safer. The step work is there for a reason, it shows addicts a new way to live. Addicts usually don’t really know how to deal with life in a healthy manner. Recovery includes learning new tools to deal with stress, pain, and life’s normal conflict. I haven’t ever met an addict that didn’t go through the steps and actually stayed away from their drug of choice so I believe it is necessary.
There are many issues in addiction that will resolve with working on recovery but I believe these are the ones that show real recovery. Some people will take longer than others to consistently show these on a regular basis but there should be moved towards them. Recovery is an ever evolving thing, the best way to know there is recovery actually happening is to see changes for the better in these areas. As a side benefit there will be many other changes in the way they act and react that can also point to recovery. Be sure when deciding if they are really in recovery that you take even little steps into account, for them they may be huge. As long as there is forward progress I believe there is most likely at least some recovery happening.
This is a long and hard road, the addict and you need support. As a spouse of an addict I believe you need support as much or more than the addict, if you would like coaching I am available. Please contact me.
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