Updated: Nov 11, 2020
After attending AlAnon (a recovery group for friends and family members struggling with addiction/alcoholism) for a year, I thought I knew how to beat my codependency. In order to avoid the trauma involved with having a partner struggling with active addiction, I started dating a partner who had been in AA recovery for 10 years.
I thought “Yes! Finally! I have someone who sees value in recovery and is committed to doing the work.”
He was well liked, really passionate about AA, sponsored others, spoke at meetings… ahh he was the dream.
It was ok I was drawn to addicts, I told myself. I just needed to choose one really into recovery so I didn’t have to deal with all the heartache…
Well, only a few months into my relationship, he sustained an injury and was on pain pills. My nightmare began all over again and I felt entirely betrayed by God, by my partner, and by the program of AA. This was supposed to work! AA was supposed to guarantee my ability to have a healthy partner!
What I got to learn through that experience was to stop looking for “guarantees”. I wanted something impossible. Something that would make the uncertain, certain.
The reality was there was NOTHING that could guarantee my partner’s sobriety. Not AA. Not a rehab. Not a religion. Not years of abstinence. I had to face and accept UNCERTAINTY.
I desperately wanted something to take away my responsibility to choose myself in the midst of addiction and suffering. I wanted someone else to defend and rescue me. I had deep codependent wounds I didn’t want to look at and I saw someone else’s recovery as a guaranteed way to avoid them. But the Divine placed me in relationship after relationship where I was required to look deep into what scared me most. I had to look at my own patterns of self betrayal, people pleasing, passivity, and rescuing. I was drawn to relationships with addicts because it was the only way I was forced to look at myself.
Are you seeking a guarantee and the fix that will “change everything”? Dig under the desperation. WHY do you want that guarantee or fix so badly? What if everything is EXACTLY as it should be because it is showing you your deepest wounds you have been avoiding?
It is when you heal THESE wounds - self betrayal, personal compromise, people pleasing, avoidance of responsibility for your own life - you will find true healing and freedom from the pain you desperately wish to relieve.