In these Steps, PIRs practice reaching out to other people and face their fear of rejection. In the process, they learn mutual respect for others and how to have equality in a relationship rather than power over someone else. When I mentioned to my friend Mark that I was writing this chapter, he said, "Yikes! That's enough for a whole book! Sometimes these Steps take a long time to work through the first time, and because recovery and relationships are ongoing realities, these are Steps that are revisited time and time again.
You may meet your PIR while they are in the midst of working Steps Four through Ten and be curious about what this "amends making" is all about. I was so unfamiliar with the Twelve Steps that I didn't know enough to ask Steve about them or if he had done them. And I certainly didn't know that, as someone in a relationship with a PIR, it would have been good for me to do these Steps as well. Now I've discovered that these "relationship" Steps are a balanced, healthy way even for non-PIRs to examine their own selves and their relationships with others.
But the Steps are especially useful if you are dating a PIR, because the skills you learn from the Steps may be helpful in your relationship. Step Four asks people to make "a searching and fearless moral inventory" of themselves. As the Big Book explains it, a personal inventory works much like a business inventory, similar to when a store owner sorts through his or her goods to see which are salable, which are damaged, and which have to be thrown out.
When PIRs do a personal inventory, they list the things--their thoughts, feelings, character traits, and behaviors--that stand in the way of recovery and those personal strengths that can help in recovery. A business that tries to sell useless or damaged things goes broke; a PIR who holds on to useless and unhealthy thoughts, feelings, and behaviors also goes "broke" and risks relapse. The Big Book, page 64, says that "resentment is the 'number one' offender," and that it destroys more addicts than anything else does.
You may share too much, or too little, with prospective partners. Remember that your number-one priority is getting well and you need to focus on yourself for this period. That said, before you even think about getting back into the dating game, ask yourself: Do you trust yourself again? Are you able to experience triggers without relapsing? Are you using healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with daily stress and turbulent emotions? Your Dating Plan Perhaps the most important question to ask yourself is, Have you developed a dating plan with your counselor, sponsor or therapist?
Tatkin describes it, at the mercy of chemicals that drive us to procreate. Standard advice is to hold off on dating for the first year in recovery, largely because relationships take your focus off of your own healing and, with their emotional highs and lows, are a leading cause of relapse. For some, relationships and sex emerge as an addictive behavior.
Some may find themselves attracted to someone who is also struggling with addiction, emotionally unavailable or abusive. An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships. What drew you to a given partner? Recovery is very personal, so should you open up about it with someone you barely know?
Golden Rules for Relationships When You’re in Recovery
5 Strategies for Successfully Dating in Addiction Recovery
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