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Outgrowing Relationships In Recovery



Outgrowing Relationships In Recovery

When I found recovery, I started to notice that everything in my life felt like it made sense for the first time.  I started to be myself and better yet, I started connecting with people for the first time.

I was around people of like minds and outside of meetings I was being myself and was attracting the right people. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t a chameleon simply changing for the people and environment around me.  I was me.  First, I gained my health back. Then my spirituality.  Shortly thereafter, I gained my career back.  I was truly riding on a pink cloud.

When I hit bottom, my then husband took me to my first meeting and was insistent that I get help for my alcoholism and addictions. He was a rescuer in every sense of the word. He was a paramedic by trade and dedicated his entire life to rescuing people who needed help on the front line. He really was and is a hero. Without him, I may not be here today. As time went on, however, he didn’t seem to understand why I had to go to so many meetings, dedicate so much to my recovery, or why I didn’t need him as much as I used to.  As it turned out, although it seemed he wanted the best for me, he had no idea how to deal with a whole, happy person after he had played the rescuer in my life for so long.

People In Recovery Are Not Easy

Let me get this straight- I am by no means saying that dealing with a person in early recovery is easy. You may have known them as one person for a long time, potentially even as long as you have known them in entirety and suddenly your actions are met with very different responses. They may have been absent for long periods of time and you are happy to have them back in your life, only for it to seem as if they are being swept away by new friends in recovery and the same amount of time is being spent away as it was before they got sober. It may seem confusing and downright frustrating. I get it. I really do.  My husband was and is not a bad person. However, I started noticing that this relationship was the only thing in this new life of mine that didn’t make sense the way everything else seemed to make sense.

Co-Dependency Was A Problem

The truth is that most of my life I was extremely co-dependent.  I met my then husband while I was about knee deep in addiction and he promised to take care of me. I moved across the country, running from my problems, to yet another person and environment, thinking that if I changed where I lived and who I surrounded myself with, all of my problems would disappear. Shortly thereafter I was pregnant.  I loved being a mother and had a good streak where I stayed sober and had the family that I adored and always wanted. Until I couldn’t stay sober anymore. Until the pressure was too much.

What Happened To The Love

I got sober when my daughter was two years old. I started feeling incredibly guilty for the way the relationship with her father was turning out. I wasn’t a child of divorce, my parents have been happily married for forty nine years.  The feeling ate at me for well over a year.  This was a good man that helped me. Why couldn’t I feel love for him?  Surely he deserved it. 

What I found is that the more I grew, the more I seemed to outgrow this relationship.  Stress surmounted. Arguments started. Our daughter started to take notice.  We decided to seek counseling, however, in the end, nothing could save our marriage.  The new me and the husband that ultimately fell in love with the old, co-dependent person that needed the rescuer were a toxic combination. The more I thrived, the more he seemed to resent me for it.  We divorced.

Promising Forever Doesn’t Mean It Can Work Forever

For a long time I felt guilt.  I may not be the most religious of people, but when I said my vows before God, I meant them.  I felt as if I was a total failure.  I felt even guiltier when I started to have feelings for someone else.  It took me some time to process how quickly my life was changing. All I wanted was for my daughter to have a happy, healthy life in which she knew that she had two parents who adored her so very much and none of what happened was her fault.

Flash forward to today.  My ex-husband and I have a great friendship.  We co-parent and put our daughter first. I am in, what I consider to be my first healthy relationship ever.  My daughter is healthy, thriving and doing wonderfully in school.  I am not saying that this is the typical scenario, either. 

I have learned that when a relationship turns toxic, it does not mean that your partner is a bad person.  There doesn’t have to be cheating or abuse in a relationship for it to be toxic.  It is possible to outgrow a relationship, and that is okay. 

Today I have to be true to myself.  I no longer need a man to save me, I have my Higher Power for that.  I have that voice on the inside, the internal compass that grew stronger with every day in recovery.  The voice that tells me when something is right or wrong for me.  Today that voice is clear and I listen to it. It hasn’t failed me yet.

Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By Kellie Walker

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