15: Romantic Relationships in Recovery (Sort Of) Part 1

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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss the recovery and addiction topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the views expressed here are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

hello and welcome back to recovery sort of it’s Jason I’m a guy in long-term recovery and I’m here always with Billy hey listeners I’m also a person in long-term recovery and we’re just here on a Sunday morning or whenever it happens to be that you’re listening to it we’re thinking we’re gonna talk about relationships today and I don’t know exactly what form that takes with I think the original idea is romantic love relationships but relationships kind of stems to any and everything in our lives how we relate to people how we relate to things I think we’re gonna title this with the disclaimer part one at the end because there will probably be 486 million parts of a podcast own relationships I can’t imagine how you could discuss it all in an hour and a half or you know 484 hours and a half honestly so just to just to start off a little bit I think where we at least want to begin with this is the idea that we get into relationships with the intent to you know be more fulfilled somehow and a lot of times that looks in the way we talk we say this person’s you know my other half for my better half sometimes we say so we’re only half of the equation or we meet our soul mate or our true love and they’re supposed to like complete us right that whole idea of you complete me and so I think we we can go into these relationships feeling like we’re missing part of something like part of ourselves and that might be you know the void we feel maybe that’s why we use drugs we felt a void and emptiness a longing for something more and we used to fill that void and I I think at least for people in recovery and maybe for others in life and and Earthlings and everybody else we tend to look at relationships as the same kind of thing as a drug almost it fills us up it takes us somewhere and then somehow it’s gonna complete us it’s gonna make us whole it’s gonna make a salad and the idea that I had come across this week was that were actually less ourselves in a relationship because what happens is we get with this person it feels good it’s happy it’s new there’s novelty going on there’s all this excitement about this new prospect of hope that we’re gonna be you know a whole again and then after we get into it we start liking it and then we start getting scared that we might not be able to hold on to it right and this is where some of maybe our insecurities pops out and we we start being a little more jealous maybe control issues come out all these kind of things we talk about sometimes and in recovery that we we don’t get in relationships we take hostages like that can be the extremes of this but what happens is we start to change who we really are because we don’t want to upset the person into leaving right and so now I’m being something that’s not quite authentic to my true self in order to keep my partner here so that I can continue to feel whole and yet by not being my authentic self I’m getting further away from being whole right I’m being less of myself than I was before I even got into this relationship and I just thought that was a really incredible concept like I’ve known for a long time that relationships aren’t gonna make us whole and that like I need to come in fulfilled and happy and what am i bringing to this not what can I get out of it but just the way it was explained really kind of blew my mind a little bit yeah and I would say a lot of that has to do with you know healthier relationships versus maybe not so healthy relationships obviously when you have a any kind of romantic relationship involves two people and you know to have a really good relationship takes two committed healthy people if you want it to be true you know if both partners aren’t honest if both partners aren’t intimate if both partners aren’t sincere in their efforts a lot of times one person can’t carry it and make it healthy so I think in a healthy relationship and what I would consider the ideal healthy relationship um partners would complement each other that your partner would help to bring out the best in you that they would encourage you you know quite frankly you know I know my wife helps me a lot of times she’ll challenge me on some thinking and ideas that she shares with me that a lot of times in the moment um defensive or confrontational about you know because I’m defensive of my beliefs opinions but if I really can kind of get out of that moment of the discussion or argument and sit back and think about it I’m more open minded and can make me a better person um that’s not always true but so I don’t know would that mean that I am not being my authentic self or am I just being open to change in our relationship I value and respect her opinion a lot so I tend to be a little more open to listen to her versus certain people would give me their opinion I would just dismiss it blow it off right away my ego would be like well I’m smarter than you so I don’t really care uh you’re [ _ ] killing me now my wife’s gonna listen to this and probably divorce me now I’m sitting here thinking and I’m like I I don’t my first thought when you said you know we would hope that our partner brings out the best in us and I was like ah she’s not working hard enough to bring out the best in me right she brings out the worst in me uh but then I really turned this around within seconds in my brain and I’m like why don’t I know how to bring out the best in her right that’s not something I’m very good at in my relationship and I I like to think I have a somewhat healthy relationship it’s decent right it’s I mean I’m pretty happy in it and we have a lot of happier times than we do you know not so great times but I just I don’t think I do that well at bringing out the best in her and I’m not sure she does the opposite either and she will tell you if you ask her that I give a lot more respect to some other people thoughts in my life like when they say something I’m like oh I need to really think about that and then when she says that I’m like that’s [ _ ] dumb right I don’t want to be that way but sometimes I definitely can be so my my wife would probably say the same thing I’m sure she feels that way okay because a lot of times again in the moment you know I will strongly defend or sort of you know come back with my rebuttals to why what she’s saying I don’t know if I agree with or I don’t know and I try to explain this to her for me personally that’s part of my thinking process on things like I like to kind of sit and kind of think through things sometimes like I want to think about what are the negatives what are the positives what are the good what are the bad like the polar opposite of what’s going on in politics these days you know like I like to think is this you know is this have some merit or does it not have merit and you know I I try to think through and one of the what are the assets of it so sometimes in the moment I’m held steadfast to what my belief was up until that moment but once she gives me a different perspective or a different point of view or a different opinion I got to kind of mull that over a little bit and think about it the other thing that was interesting so when my wife and I got married we did get married in a Christian Church we had to do the typical you go sit down meet with the pastor talk to him he actually was someone that we knew personally you know it wasn’t just a pastor at a church that we didn’t know we knew him personally um as sort of in in religious contexts and outside of religious context so it was interesting and one of the I guess you caught lessons or skill things he had us do was we went into his office and he said sit down and write down you know five things your five top values that you want in a marriage and rate them and write a little bit about what they look like to you right and so we did that you know I wrote down my five things and she wrote down her five things we put them in an order and we wrote kind of what each one looked like what that would what we would see that looking like in our marriage how our partners could fulfill that and then he said okay take those lists and flip-flop them like he said you know you give your list to her she gives her list to you and without even talking about it he said that’s your job on how you become a perfect husband to your wife hmm you know wasn’t a discussion about mine being right or hers being right or what agreed with what or whose values were better none of that mattered the point was she had written down and told me exactly what she needed in a spouse exactly what she was looking for and he had mentioned that not everyone’s insane like every woman doesn’t come in and write down the same 5 things that every man doesn’t come in and write down the same five things so there’s not this generic recipe on you know even though every magazine women’s magazine in the world will tell you there is there’s not this generic recipe for this will make a happy marriage this will make things great obviously there most of them are built on certain principles of honesty trust commitment love you know passion those kind of things not murdering each other right but those are just ingredients to go into the pie they’re not yeah you can’t just do these things and to be quite honest I fall into that a lot I have decided what makes a good husband I ignore the list that she gave me I decide what I think makes a good husband and I just do the things that I think a good husband needs to do do you still have the list uh well I did all the way up until two years ago so and this isn’t in my fault I actually carried that list in my wallet for 16 years 15 years however long it was and when we were traveling around the country when we were down in Florida my wallet got stolen and I lost it and so we had that list in my wallet at no point was your smartphone did you take a picture of it I don’t think that I ever did I had pulled the list out times earlier so I had in my wallet I kept there was two things that I carried with me you know from recovery one of them was my very first little blue phone book so in our fellowship and they didn’t just give you one when I first got clean they gave you the little phone book said here go out and get some phone numbers right and so that’s what I did I got my little phone book and I went around ask people hey can I get your number hey can I get your number and I wrote the numbers down in my book and what was funny this gets a little off-topic but what was funny is over the years I would go back through the book and for like people that had like relapsed or whatever I would like X there which now I think is kind of mean but it is that’s what I would do I would exit their name out so I have these names in there and it would be xed out in different names that almost reminds me of like a movie where the serial killer has like the list of people he’s going to take out and the x’s him off as he accomplishes so anyway in my wallet I had that phonebook but I also had that list and I would occasionally pull it out and kind of look at it and get a little warm feeling in my heart you know cuz it was important to me so I did lose it not to my own you know whatever I didn’t just chuck it aside just a quick other thing to take us off topic I did see our little blue phone books one time we purchased them for our home group and they were like this creamish tan color and I [ _ ] loved it just to see something different for a minute and it was only one time and then they disappeared off the face of the earth like it never happened I had to wonder if I was nuts and I was like why I’d like to change it but back to the what you were just talking about so that reminds me a lot of the idea of like the languages of love or that you know men are from Mars Women are from Venus or just the idea that basically we are raised with our own idea of how we’re able to receive affection and connection and other people are raised with theirs from their parents and when we’re trying to give it in a way other people can’t receive that’s not useful right they just can’t get it it’s interesting it kind of I just got a couple and in therapy right for the first time and so I’m like oh my god I get to do couples therapy it sounds exciting right especially because I don’t know what the [ _ ] I’m doing around marriage but we have like a particular couples therapist at the location I’m at and she’s really good and knows a lot so I’ve been asking her a lot of questions and basically she calls it like stuck points where it’s one partner is trying to receive affection or love or or validation in the sense that she like chases down her husband when you know he’s not engaging with her and so she’ll just keep going and asking him are we okay what’s wrong why can’t we fix this and won’t let it go and like what he needs his space so he can’t possibly give her exactly what she’s looking for right then and he needs love in a different way right where she like kind of leaves him to have his space and do his things and but we don’t see it and when we’re not aware of what the other person is looking for it just feels like badgering and nagging and annoying the [ __ ] out of me and all these other things were like when we’re able to sit back and say oh that’s how they need to be reassured at all I need to do is say hey I’m just frustrated right now let’s talk about it in the morning and it’s all okay between ever like it’s just there’s little things right and so I think that’s a great idea and anybody who’s listening that’s having relationship troubles go ahead and make your list and have your partner make their list and trade lists and there you go that’s how you’d be a good partner

also in you know these romantic relationships like they do you know kind of take some work and effort sometimes I know my wife gets upset when I say this a lot of times but for me just being this like romantic in and you know intimate oh let’s you know throw away all our responsibilities and lay in bed all night and you know watch movies or you know snuggle up and do that stuff like for whatever reason like that’s just not my nature it’s not those things don’t come naturally to me and that’s a part of what she needs so I try to really incorporate that in you know it’s like it’s my job to provide her with her needs not just expect that you know well I don’t have that need so that’s not me and I I mean she would be sure to tell you I’m sure that I fall short a lot but I think paying attention to what your partner’s asking for is really critical you know and in keeping happiness I mean again it’s easy for me to fall into this pattern so one of the things I’ve been struggling with lately and I see it you know in my with my intimate relationship with my wife and with my kids is I tend to invest a lot of emotional energy into things that don’t deserve that emotional energy and then by the time I get home I don’t have any more to give because I’m emotionally burn out through and so when my wife or the kids ask for some kind of emotional energy I’m like what the [ _ ] you know aren’t I doing enough isn’t this good enough aren’t you getting enough from me already and even [ _ ] more and I get resentful and angry and the truth is you know it’s a pattern of falling into over the years and the things that typically get a lot of my energy are things that I don’t say they’re not important but they don’t need as much emotional input as I put into you know one of them is my job I tend to put a lot of like my personal emotional energy into work and I think that I can withdraw some of that energy and still be just as valuable and productive and all that things at work and then in like side projects or other things that are working on um one of my character defects I would say since I’ve gone through recovery process one of my character defects that I become aware of is that I tend to really want validation from people that aren’t close to me it’s like I feel like the people that know me well already love me but people that I don’t know that well I really need their validation to make sure that I’m okay um is this like is and I’m asking for clarification like I know before for sure and probably still some today I would go into a roomful of ten people and if nine of them already liked me I’m good with them but I need that 10 person to like give me some kind of validation is it tied into that a little bit or this is just you need people that you feel are not close to you and won’t lie to you or be misguided by their care for you would do either those resonate um I mean if I had to pick out of the two probably more the first one then the second but like I’ll give you an example so like at work I deal with like customer relations then we have situations where it’s a it’s a like I’ll call it a no-win situation you know we go out to we work on heaters we go out to work on someone’s heater the guy goes out to work on it when our guy goes out it’s completely fine nothing’s going wrong but they say it’s making some crazy noise well he goes out there he spends an hour working on the heater so now I’m making a noise when he’s there he doesn’t hear anything so he doesn’t really do anything he doesn’t find anything wrong they still have to pay us well they’re mad because they think what you didn’t do anything you know what I mean but at the same time you know well he went there and we used tools and equipment and we sent a guy and he needs to get paid and it’s expensive to go check that stuff out so there’s a it’s like a no-win situation it’s not good for anybody um I will really get caught up in the emotion of like well what are these good people gonna think about us what do you know what are they gonna think about me cuz it’s my responsibility to sort of make this right and how do we how do we do this so that they’re not you know quote-unquote mad at me um that sort of thing so yeah that’s uh yeah and and I just instead of sort of kind of stepping back and explaining the situation just without all the emotional ties to it and saying hey look this is what happened you know what I’m sorry it’s unfortunate situation but we do it does cost money to have a guy come out to your home and check your equipment and the fact that it wasn’t doing what you said it was doing when he was there isn’t anyone’s fault but we still have to get paid right but I can’t I I tend to not be able to do that without a whole bunch of emotional angst in that conversation like I get so emotionally charged or whatever you want that it gets uncomfortable and so I’ll go through that especially when we get busy I might go through that two or three times in a day you know or five or six times in a week and whatever other complaints people have some of them are their own ridiculous nonsense the other night some lady got mad about something stupid and it wasn’t even our fault it was her own if you’re gonna look at false it was her own she didn’t know how her stuff worked and so we went out and explained to or how her stuff worked and then she didn’t think she should have to pay us because there was nothing wrong you know that was and I don’t know how to say well that’s you know why would you call someone ask him to come out to your house for service and then not expect to have to pay them like it seems crazy to me but it didn’t matter that that’s not the point the point is she was upset she had to pay us and I was really upset and it emotionally bothered me that she was upset even though she was wrong the fact that she was emotionally upset I felt like that was my fault and then I didn’t do something right and that you know I was bothered that she was mad at me or whatever it’s like weird you know it’s unhealthy but I you know I go through that and then I go home to my wife for me like [ _ ] ask me for any emotional [ _ ] I’ve been stressed out all day my emotions are spent I totally get it I can I can relate a lot on the sense that I struggle when people are unhappy with me right I don’t know that necessarily I need their validation I’ve never really looked at it that way I guess that is the truth too because I need them to like me right that’s the point but yeah when people are not happy with me or something I did I struggle with that a big time and I’ve gotten better right and it’s something I’m actually working on right now in myself is just to be okay with the fact that like my choices are not going to make people happy even if I make the right [ _ ] choice right like even if I do the best thing for me and my family and the best choice in the situation people are still going to be upset with that at times and I just got to be alright with it to steer us back a little bit more to the relationship topic I somewhere in there you were mentioning becoming more aware of what the other person needs I can’t remember you specifically but what it came up for me was thinking that during this process of relationships and recovery and looking at myself I’ve also been able to come a little bit more to terms with my own stuff right so through repetition I can see where the things I asked for have a theme right I frequent we find myself saying to my wife you don’t consider me you don’t take me into you know you’re not thoughtful well it started with your inconsiderate your unthoughtful right all these use statements but then it may be molded a little into you don’t think of me when I’m not around right you don’t consider me in your equation when you’re making decisions and maybe there’s some of that right maybe that’s true to some extent but I’ve also realized in looking at that and how frequently I say it and the ways I say it and maybe looking at the fact of do I do this in return right it’s a little unfathomable how often I want to be considered and thought of almost in every goddamn way right oh my god you you you went to the grocery store and you didn’t think I might need something like I stop [ _ ] stores all the time don’t ask nobody [ _ ] right so what is that about me is what I got a look at and and through that relationship process I’m able to see that like there is something about me that maybe doesn’t who feels forgotten about right and that’s what hurts me I don’t like when friends go out and hang out and don’t think to invite me out or when they have a second friend besides me like that can hurt my feelings and like I just want to be important is what I’ve learned through all that and there’s certain things that I feel importance through which is being considered right oh you stopped it you know a fast food place did you pick me up food god I feel so loved right now and that’s my you know way to feel loved is to be thought of and we are so in our situation it’s the opposite way around I’m the I’m the unthoughtful one and I will justify it by saying I don’t expect that with her you know what I mean like if she’s out today and running around and she stops and goes to lunch at McDonald’s like I don’t think oh well you should have brought me something or you should have called and thought I’m like no you’re out getting food for yourself that’s what you do you know because that’s what I do you know what I mean I’m out I want something to eat I stop I guess I’m to eat I don’t think to call home and check in with her and the kids and she but she appreciates that or and I can tell you know I’ll say oh yeah I stopped they got something to eat at McDonald’s before I came home oh you didn’t think to call us no hungry no I you know did you need some Peter called and asked me for something while I was out I would have got you something I never mind doing that but that you know I guess you that being thought of is something that I fall short on it’s it’s tricky right so one of the ways I do it well is when I am asked to go to a meeting or asked to make a plan with somebody I’m pretty good at putting it in our shared calendar on our phones and then also messaging her and saying hey I was thinking about doing this this day this time does that interfere with anything for you right that’s one of those things that I’ve become accustomed to I’m not perfect at it I don’t do it every time but I’m pretty good with it and I consider that very thoughtful and and loving like hey no you’re not my owner but like I tried to respect you and and what else do you have going on does this interfere with it right now my wife is the person who will never say no to anything even if it’s the worst possible [ _ ] thing I could be doing at that time she could need my help and be going into surgery and she’ll be like now it’s fine I’ll figure out like this martyr type person and so it doesn’t really work well for us to any result but I would use that and I’ll say this is what I do but she does not do that very frequently in return right she makes plans all the time doesn’t even mention them to me it comes up I’m like what the [ _ ] why aren’t you home from work yet she’s like oh I’m having a beer with my co-workers and I’m like why couldn’t you just tell me that right like I don’t give a [ _ ] she’s not one of us by the way she’s a earthling she’s welcome to have a beer she over there and it just really bothers me right now but I’ve had to learn that some of that is mine because I’m not I don’t live this I think of everyone perfectly all the time at all right when we go to Starbucks when we’re out with me my wife and my kids I’m like [ _ ] them kids they ain’t getting $4 drinks I’m here for a $2.00 coffee right I’m not spending $28 because I want a $2.00 coffees for me right right so it’s it’s very iffy on where I stand on it but I just the realization that through that process I can turn it and look at myself right that’s a healthy thing I think in a relationship is instead of you know pointing the finger at my partner about what they’re not doing and not to say that they couldn’t do a little better in that area but let me look at myself and what it is that I’m really looking for out of this relationship like what am I feeling like I’m missing that makes me feel this way and then maybe I can have a better conversation with them instead of you unthoughtful [ _ ] which is where I started at right here I needed to gain some insight yeah and interestingly enough I was sitting here thinking about you know as you say kind of losing yourself in a relationship and no so my wife had called me the other day and asked me she was asked to share at a recovery event going on on February 2nd at 7 p.m. in Annapolis and she just called and said hey I was asked to come share at this event at you know on February 2nd do you want to go with me we’ll go down for the day we’ll get food and we’ll go to the meeting and all that I said yeah sure you know it’ll be fun and then I didn’t look at a calendar and when I looked at the calendar I realized oh [ _ ] February 2nd is actually the Superbowl day and I am a big sports fan you know I really like sports I love football I’ve watched all season paid attention all the way through the playoffs I know all the teams you know and and I really want to watch the Super Bowl row but they’re you know here I’m torn because I told her I would do this thing and I made this commitment you know and I want her to feel loved and supported and I don’t want to back out on her and so I fall into this place where I feel like this is some sort of quote unquote love test you know they’re like like where is my love really you know is my love really for my wife is she really more important than the Super Bowl and that’s [ _ ] hard because obviously I would say well yeah she’s more important but this is speaking at a meeting I heard her speak a hundred times if not more orderly yeah literally a hundred times if not more and yes it would be great to go out to dinner but on this one particular day there this one particular event that’s going on but in fairness to her she would tell you with the amount of sports that I watch and the different sports that I enjoy there is almost always oh this week is this championship this week is this playoffs there is this big fight coming up that you know is a once-in-a-lifetime you know boxing match or UFC event or whatever like on a lot of almost every weekend there’s some big sports thing that’s important so it’s a common theme and I find myself in this situation and it’s just you know how do I keep true to myself and still be a good loving supportive husband and can I do both of those things at the same time that is a good question so let’s think about it for a second will play this ad for voices of hope and then we’ll come right back and talk about it this episode has been brought to you by voices of Hope Inc a non-profit grassroots recovery organization located in Maryland voices a hope is a community-based organization that fights to protect the rights of people who struggle with substance use please support them by attending their fifth annual gratitude banquet on February the 15th tickets are $60 a person and sponsorships are available please visit them on the web at www.pedestrians now actually I have no [ _ ] idea honestly so yeah and the grand scheme of things is my wife more important than any sporting event that I could possibly watch of course right my family is important to me I do love my wife but that being said of all the sporting events and I get to case you’re making right that there could be something every weekend that really could be I don’t quite watch as many sports as that I’m not that into a whole lot of stuff most of it is man I can take it or leave it football’s my thing right the Super Bowl the culmination of the entire season of football is definitely my thing and the fact that you add into it that it’s just a pop culture event at this point with all the commercials and the halftime show and I’m sold on this is definitely if there is a one big thing all year long this is the [ _ ] one right there’s no doubt in my mind that if I get to pick one it’s this one and nothing’s happening on that night but I don’t know right I I skipped some of the playoffs after after the Ravens got knocked out it just wasn’t that huge or important anymore right I’ve missed games throughout the week and never after the game am I like man I wish I to watch that I’m always like there what the [ _ ] ever it’s over now all right it’s not a big deal do what I feel that way about the Super Bowl I couldn’t tell you the last time I missed a Super Bowl I don’t know it probably seen everyone since I was like eight I don’t know if I could just shrug that off and not regret it like I do any other game throughout the year or the playoffs but I have a feeling like I could probably just watch the commercials and not give a [ _ ] too much is it gonna be that great of a game I don’t know has potential right now but and and here’s where I set my so where I set myself up for failure is already I’m like if I make the sacrifice I’m not watching the Super Bowl like this should register on her scale of I love you too like a you know a ninety nine out of a hundred you know on the rail and that should earn me like at least three months of I don’t have to do any other acts of service of love because you know this one should register way up there and carry a lot of weight for a while I would try the lotion buy me some relationship credit can I can I give you a kidney instead of missing I think the Super Bowl might be higher than that kind of love right sure you have a [ _ ] kidney right don’t make me miss the goddamn game yeah yeah that’s a tough one man I don’t envy you and I’m glad it’s not me I know what I will be doing next Sunday night for sure yeah and she’s giving me an out I mean she’s been you know I made us think I’m like well why don’t you see if you can find any you know girls that go with you maybe they would have a better time going to that and I’ll just go watch the Super Bowl somewhere because if we even if we go to a Super Bowl party somewhere like she’s not into football she doesn’t care she might like to go for the socializing part but she doesn’t really care about the game it’s the commercial we do at the game it’s all about the commercials I used to I went to a couple of Super Bowl parties were way the [ _ ] off topic and it was guys they weren’t really my friends it was kind of like my wife’s family and their friends or something and they [ _ ] talked over the whole commercial thing and then as soon as the commercial was over and everybody’s like oh my god what happened was it funny and I’m just like you just [ _ ] talk to her we never heard it right I hate this [ _ ] so I definitely watch like football in my own room away from everybody at this point I’m an anti-social football watcher but back to back to what matters here relationships not how I relate to you know men on a TV so to go back to the concept we started with right there that we might be less in a relationship less of ourselves than we were going into it some of these concepts I think have been around since when I first got to recovery and probably before that but that’s when I heard them me the whole two dead batteries don’t make a spark to sickies don’t make a welly like I don’t know if you’ve heard these when have four you know if you’re if you’re looking for a relationship in recovery you’re shopping in the dented can aisle and so I get how and you know we’ve changed a little bit it’s it’s 20/20 those are kind of stigmatizing statements at this point in time and I’m not trying to stigmatize anybody but they did make a lot of sense early on to write like I was now I was I was damaged when I got to recovery I was damaged my whole life which is where I I needed the drugs to try to you know ease the pain of that damaging or that trauma is we usually refer to it nowadays and so once I got off the drugs I thought I was good I’m like good now right no more drugs life’s great and what happened was all that trauma and emptiness and and stuff popped back up and I just looked for the next best way to feel good which for me was relationships right and if something very validating about somebody telling you you you make them whole or you complete them or you validate them like with the the concept of wound rubbing right like I’ll tell you every awful thing there is about me and you tell me every awful there’s about you and that’s Tuesday night and by Thursday we’re living together and I’m you know parenting your three kids that you had with somebody else and just that wild concept of like I just wanted to jump in and be a part of something and this made me feel good and then a week later I got four other girlfriends that I’m texting on the side because one’s not enough and the whole validation aspect evident and trying to fill that void still I just think early on it was less about the fact that a relationship was a bad idea and more about the fact that I was using it like a drug the way I used relationships was a bad idea not really that relationships themselves were terrible yeah so and all I can think about and I don’t necessarily agree with this but I’m gonna throw this information out there cuz it was interesting and I found it interesting so I listened to a guy on a podcast he rolled a hole wrote a whole book on I’m gonna probably get the word wrong poly Agra me polyamory polyamory and you know this multiple relationships and that basically his and he was from some University and he wrote this book on his research that he did that says that basically women were the root cause in essence of monogamous relationships because genetically you basically it gave them a higher chance of having their offspring succeed it was like um like oh that’s not genetics it’s so like through nature LEvolution oh yeah evolutionary that’s the word I’m looking for evolutionary like it was an evolutionary strategy because you know a female by herself trying to take care of young children and raise them up safely was difficult but when she had the protection and support of a stronger you know male that she could keep close by that had a vested interest in those offspring for a chance of success for the offspring was much higher for men you know genetically their job or nut job their drive was to just Purdue as many offspring as possible which would mean looking for multiple partners and so his you know theory whatever you want to call it as genetically we’re driven you know for multiple relationships we’re not set up for you know monogamous relationships and that’s the evolutionary strategy came out with by women so for whatever that’s worth that information is out there you could go read the guys book I wasn’t interested in it so I didn’t I love my wife I love my kids I’m all about the monogamous relationship if I wasn’t I would end you know that’s this way I look at it um cuz that’s important to her so it’s important to me I’m voting polyamory all the way I think that’s a great idea and I still love my wife and don’t want to and he and he talked about a bunch of that like he said he’s in you know however many I don’t know if he said however many relationships but he said he’s always lived that lifestyle and had women in his life that were okay with that and you know he it was good that way I was great gave up drugs and I’m now addicted to disappointing women but and and that’s kind of where I always go with that but the point I get think to get back to what you’re talking about is more you know as addict like there is always that inner drive of like I’m never satisfied and then if one’s good more is better and if this feels good then you know more of it’s gonna be better and you know do the same thing if I take tylenol you know will approve the bottle says to but it’s me so I gotta take for you know it’s that idea and as an addict that drive is always there it seems like yeah i’m-a idea that something outside ourselves is gonna fix the inside feeling alright and the truth is I mean for most people I hope I know for me like sex is great like it feels good it’s enjoyable it’s fun you know everybody loves it it’s a win-win for a free puppy so why wouldn’t more of it you know be even better but when it gets into the realm of you know that emotional dishonesty and where there’s lyin and manipulation and and all that is where it gets where you can start to see it turns to you know something that’s not so good wrong it’s just so using you know do I think people can go out and smoke weed and drink and be healthy and have a good time sure I think people can do that in a healthy way just like you said your wife she can go out after work and have a couple beers but if it turned into her going out and getting totally shit-faced drunk and then having to lie about where she was or what I did or all that stuff then it might be a problem so I think you have to look more at the behaviors around the particular relationship versus blaming the relationships or blaming you know relationships for the problem I don’t even know if I want to go back and tackle the evolutionary theory that you’ve posted there I’m gonna leave it alone for now in fact so back to the idea of these you know relationships early in recovery which I think you’re bringing us back to are they a good idea are they not you know the good old suggestion of stay out of relationships for a year which you know the greatest joke ever nobody knows if that works because nobody’s ever done it I tend to not really look at it that way so I think relationships are and of course we’re more talking about romantic relationships cuz you always got that guy that raised his hand I mean or girl and shares I can’t stay out of relationships for a year I had to get in relationships with God and relationships with my sponsor and I’m like yeah we [ _ ] get that buddy we’re talking about you know sex relationships here really I think I don’t know so much about staying out of relationships for a year but I do think there’s a point – look I can get in relationship with three months clean right I don’t know how useful it’s gonna be for my life if I’m thinking about long term because I don’t think I really have a [ _ ] clue of Who I am until I’ve worked steps four through nine right so I kind of believe that hey look you wanna mess with women or men or whatever early on and recovery I’m not here to tell you yes or no I think it’s painful I hope you talk about it with people while you’re doing it and going through it but when you’re talking about getting somebody that you actually want to be with for maybe the rest of your life I would suggest working at least through step 9 before you even consider looking at the qualities you want in a relationship partner and then I guess I don’t know I see these people possibly like that come into recovery right they’ve dated somebody while they were using the person they’re datin wasn’t using right and then they come into recovery and they get clean and they’re just expecting that relationship to work out and I’m like you’re gonna want something different out of your life and yourself and your partner by the time you finish these steps the steps are a change in who the [ _ ] we are right just fundamentally at our core why how would we even consider that an old relationship would work in the same way when that person that we related to we related to from a different place yeah well I do think people can grow and change in relationships I mean in my case I hope they do I think you know I got involved with my wife in our relationship I was very new in recovery and I probably didn’t have all the skills that I think I have now or didn’t have all the you know whatever life experience and emotional development that I have now later in life um and she’s changed and I’ve changed so we’ve our relationship has changed and grown over years right so I think it can happen again it just depends on what skills you’re bringing to the table and what you know what values you want to put in the front of your relationship you know because there are a couple core values that are gonna be crucial if you’re talking about being in a long-term you know committed relationship where it’s like hey we’re both in this together well there takes some commitment trust love faith honesty like those are a couple things that need to be there if those things aren’t there then that relationship isn’t really built on anything um with my wife and like say for me personally like just my story if you will you know when I was using like I was never in a long-term relationship when I was using maybe six months might have been the longest one and I just my parents are people they were married 49 years I think it was until my mom passed away they were always committed there was no adultery there was no you know they had a great look look like a normal loving relationship from everything I could ever tell they loved each other cared about each other respected each other raise their kids together so I had this great example of what a healthy good relationship looked like for me when I was using I was like I don’t [ _ ] want to commit to that I want to go out and do what I want when I want and have fun when I want so I wasn’t you know I never felt a need to have to lie to some girl to get her to stay with me while I went out and cheated on her you know what I mean and did that it just wasn’t like that isn’t how I saw relationships I had buddies that did that all the time you know what I mean oh I got a girlfriend I’m sleeping with these five other girls and all that stuff I hate to say but it’s you know you go to any men’s meeting at any convention and that’s the first thing every cool [ _ ] guy that shares about being a man shares about it’s so cliche it’s disgusting you know what I mean okay man and I started sleeping with all these women it’s like easy they do it try my do you go I know it’s terrible well and here’s why because I tend to think most people do that as a brag more than as this humble thing it’s like the hump and I’m trying to do the humble brag kind of [ _ ] and it’s gross um I think it’s overplayed to be honest um you know now that being said so when I got clean and got into a relationship you know a committed relationship with this woman like I didn’t have a history of trying to sleep around and have all these relationships behind her back and it wasn’t those weren’t values that I brought in to my relationship experience really so I I don’t know I never did that stuff and I always just felt like if I didn’t want to be in that marriage or that relationship anymore I would just [ _ ] leave because nobody’s keeping me there you know I’m not stuck there I can go do whatever I want and if I’m not committed and I don’t want to be there that won’t be there anymore and and so I think where you were starting with that definitely the disclaimer on any topic of talk in here especially this one I’ve heard the story of people who you know he had one week clean she had a month and a half and now 20 years later they’re still happily married right I’ve heard the story of I came in here my partner’s never used they put up with me through seven years of active addiction that’s when they met me and somehow we’re still together and it’s worked I’ve watched a home group member that had two years clean get with a guy who constantly came in and out and chased women and was the guy who dated five women that you just talked about for sure right but very much like myself right we identified with him and I was like [ _ ] losers never gonna change and she got with them and I was like what the [ _ ] are you doing right and here they are like seven years later still really happy and they have a kid together like we never know right recovery doesn’t have a monopoly on growth and change in life people who aren’t in recovery can still grow and change with their recovering partner like all these things are possible I guess when I speak I speak more about the the 99% of the time I see these things when they don’t [ _ ] work out like if you dated somebody while you were an active addiction and they weren’t and then you come to recovery what the [ _ ] is wrong with them that they wanted to date a using addict like there’s something actively wrong with these people I think like that’s my belief I have no you I would never data you xanax I can’t prick I can’t picture that in my head like what’s attractive about somebody who can’t show up for dates and like constantly steals my money I don’t know nothing maybe they’re the adult children of alcoholics are the codependence or whatever mari yeah I think you know relationships are hard like it’s they are difficult if you look at you know non addict marriage success rates and non addict Affairs and all that stuff I mean those numbers are very demoralizing like if you look at that you would think why the [ _ ] is anybody going out and getting married like it more than half the time never works like why are all these people and people are lining up to go do it you know there’s no shortage of marriage venues even in a little county like this there’s a [ _ ] marriages every weekend just can’t wait to sign that agreement that most of the time is gonna fail I think it’s the concept of it right I think we’re in love with the idea of these I don’t want to say fairy tales or concepts or you know maybe in her in love with the idea of being in love like I’ve heard it explained like that to me from my experience I would say I was at one point in love with the idea of being in love right and what that really translated to later on was that I have like a sex and love addiction where I just crave this outside attention to make me feel whole right there’s something that doesn’t feel whole inside of me and chasing these relationships and chasing people to want me does it right and it wasn’t in the end it wasn’t even I didn’t even want the sex with them right I just like hey will you let me now that I’ve convinced you to let me I don’t even want to anymore right it was just all about getting that validation and uh you know there’s some meetings out there for that they talked about that they come up with some I tell you what so I I went to some meetings around that topic for quite a while and I don’t anymore only because there’s none in this area cuz I do think they’re very useful for healthy relationships but a buddy of mine still goes and we talk and he’s like he stayed out of relationships for two years which I think probably will [ _ ] with the brain of anybody that lived like me early in addiction like out of relationships for two years no sex no masturbation two [ _ ] years are you crazy right out of told you you lost your mind why well I live right but we talk all the time and so he did and he’s actively getting back to dating now now that he feels you know like he’s in a better place in a different place and just the the strangeness of being content living with yourself after two years and now I’m not looking for a relationship to fill anything anymore right I’m looking for like I I’m not so I always felt stuck I’m like oh we like each other it feels good even if there’s some [ _ ] about you I don’t like I can’t get rid of you because this this is really working for me and he’s coming from it from a spot of like I don’t [ _ ] need you I’ve been fine for the last two years like you’re either good for my life or you’re not and you can go if you’re not I don’t care but then the the rules around it that he sort of has to follow to make keep it healthy like and not go cray easy with it is I can only text you like two times a day and that idea is weird to me right yeah we can only go on one date a week I’m like whoa like these are some pretty stringent rules and I I just I do think they lend themselves to healthiness but I look and I’m like who the [ _ ] is able to do that I don’t know people that’s pretty impressive and so I I just look like what the [ _ ] are we doing when we’re dating nowadays and and relating it’s nothing like that are we all unhealthy like yeah and that’s super admirable I mean like I obviously my situation played out the way it is and I don’t know that I would necessarily change it I got into the relationship I was in for you know I had a couple months clean and ended up in a relationship and I wasn’t some intentional like I don’t feel like I set out to find it I really it just happened naturally and there’s a funny story and I’ll say this for all my nan you know belief in God and how I talk about all that you know I don’t know if I believe in God and fate and all that stuff so I first met my wife I had come into recovery I was 19 I believe um and I had come into recovery and I was in for a couple months and I met her back then and she was married at the time she was going through a divorce with this guy and and her and I’d kind of hung out we were friends but we didn’t date or anything we weren’t there was no kind of romantic relationship um but I had said like I knew then that that was gonna be the person that I was gonna marry hmm no I don’t know if that’s one of those like the secret I [ _ ] willed it into existence kind of [ _ ] or whatever but I just and for whatever reason in my head I’m like I that’s the person I want to marry and I wasn’t a committed relationship person right it wasn’t interested in getting married for the longest time I was like I’m never getting married I’m gonna just be single and do what I want and have my own free life how could you not say ready to mingle after that yeah hang on ready to me and you know then I got clean and my life changed and I she was still in recovery and so we met you know we ended up married fulfilled that reality um that fantasy and you know I don’t hmm I don’t know if things would have been different if I had not been in relationships for a year or two I mean I guess you never know what could it woulda shoulda mom but I just know that a lot of the skills that I needed to succeed in what I’ll call a healthy relationship came from what I learned in recovery and the deeper I learned those skills the better I am able to be at my relationship you know now I’m at a point in my life where when my relationship starts to get a little weird or a little uncomfortable I want to talk about it I think for the longest time in you know my romantic relationship I thought if things just don’t naturally and spontaneously happen you know then they’re not meant to be and what I mean by that is like if we didn’t just end up in bed every night you know making love or if we didn’t just end up on these long walks along the pier you know I guess I just thought that [ _ ] would magically happen somewhere I didn’t realize that no it takes effort and sometimes it means I have to do some [ _ ] that I don’t want to do sometimes it means I have to sit up late at night and talk to her about her problems when I really don’t want to when all I want to do is watch some [ _ ] TV and go to bed you know I have to make some sacrifices if I want all the good things that come along with this relationship I have to put some work in – um and I think a lot of people missed that part you know what I mean they just think well we love each other so all these things are spontaneously and magically just supposed to happen and you’re supposed to know what my needs are without me having to tell you you’re supposed to be able to read my mind and know you know what I want before I ask and you know that sounds great but it just doesn’t seem to be reality I we’re gonna have a rare moment where we agree here I think you are completely right so I my concept of love that like I met someone and these [ _ ] butterflies and nausea took over my stomach and I was just so infatuated with them and from there on that was just gonna happen right and I got all the time and it wouldn’t take any work like it wasn’t work to go out of my way to take my wife my girlfriend to dinner at that point like I couldn’t wait to spend more [ _ ] time with her right and I just thought when that went away that man I need is a new one that one obviously didn’t work right right like it was supposed to last forever it didn’t it lasted six months now you got to go away so I can try again and I think I definitely missed the point in that like it it is effort in a relationship and and I don’t think that feeling is love anymore I don’t believe that I think it might be novelty it might be infatuation it might be lust I don’t know what the hell you want to call it but I definitely don’t think it’s love for me today relationships are a lot of work right there are the things you just talked about but I I don’t think even though I can tell you that I feel loved when I’m thought of I think I feel more loved inside of myself when I do or incapable of doing something for my partner that I didn’t believe was possible right when I’m able to show up for them in a selfless way that I didn’t even think I had in me and and and most of my experience shows that it’s not what I do that makes me feel more loving inside than anything anybody else does right so I just think to me today love is much less any kind of feeling that somebody gives to me or produces inside of me it’s more of how I live is how loving I feel right I notice it more with my kids for some reason it’s been easier to break through that that barrier with them and you know when my daughter ran a race and came in I don’t even remember at this point if it was second or third that’s how little it matters right but my reaction is you just need to train harder and we’ll get first next time right and that’s the guy I was raised to be from my father and uh so what I was able to do when she came up in the stands that day was just give her this big juicy [ _ ] hug and say how proud I was at her for running so hard and I felt more loving in that instant than I ever have in my life probably and it’s those little kind of moments that I’ve had and I’ve had a couple with my wife that just that’s what makes me feel loved not anything anybody else does or any time she thinks of me or mentions something that she’s gonna do ahead of time it’s when I liveth that’s when I feel loved in a relationship when I’m invested in doing the work yeah and that’s another one of those things I think you know gets lost sometimes when we talk about spiritual living and living spiritual principles we think that they’re supposed to be feelings and that’s you know if we’re I don’t know how to say this if we just think them then that we can think them into existence and that’s not how it works we bring them to existence through our actions and by as you said by practicing love in my relationships I you know my awareness grows for love and I become aware of how other people are loving me in return if all I’m doing is looking for love and I’m not giving it out then I’m not finding it you know because I’m looking for something to be filled you know I’m looking for some so you mean to say that old some looking for love in all the wrong places wasn’t about like going to the bar or the street corner it was more about the fact that I was looking for outside of myself instead of inside sure but you know love is one of those words to where there’s so many different meanings to it you know when we when we look at love you know the way we love different people is different the way we love friends is different than the way we love our kids which is different than the way that we love our spouse and you know the what my expectation on my love relationship with my wife is very different than my expectation on my love relationship with you you know like what I what I’m looking for or what I think makes that a loving relationship is going to be different and so in romantic relationships there’s stages of love that you go through and if you read any of these love books I believe it’s in the five love languages there’s a couple different relationship books I’ve read over the years I can’t remember all the names but the five love languages is a big one they talk about you know this infatuation stage that we get in when we get into new relationships and that you know we become in essence what you’re saying like we become this person that is just totally looking to give to the other people and we’re totally willing to put aside you know our wants and our desires and our needs to just give all this love to this person and they talk about that stage lasting about two years I mean yeah if you’re an addict it’s like four days but but you know it says I guess that’s an average and I don’t know what that comes from this is what they say in the book but they talk about that infatuation stage lasting about two years and that’s where during that stage like you’ll ignore all those like warning signs of the bad characteristics of this person you’ll blow off all the [ _ ] that they’re doing you know and make excuses and rationalizations and justifications and then once you get through that romantic love stage or that infatuation stage like reality starts to set in and you start to be like wait a minute this son of a [ _ ] is out running the streets every night of the week you know or that it’s this great quality like always hustling trying to make a living such a hard worker and rodeo and then after a while in reality starts to set in and there’s a different kind of like long-term more of less infatuation more realistic form I’m going to call it realistic formal Oh when we got married the pastor at our church described it as what’s called agape love which is Greek I guess it probably comes from the Bible because it was very Christian person and and so what they mean by agape love basically it’s the highest form of love or charity was you know the way they described it it’s the way that God loved man but it’s basically like unconditional love and commitment so you know we get past that sort of infatuation stage and if we’re lucky enough to make it through that you know and work through our issues that’s where the things like the five love languages come in now all of a sudden you know I need to really connect with you in a deep way and figure out okay what does it take to keep feeling your love tank what does it take to keep meeting your love needs and then to be able to say to you here my love needs this is what I need and this is what I expect you to do for me and it’s this you know reciprocation ‘el relationship where we both again ideally in an ideal situation we’re bringing out the best in each other right did the Internet’s ruined me you talked about a Greek word for the highest love and all I could think of was like trips to Greece and just some not so savory ideas that I’ve been exposed to um now I think I think that’s incredible I just I guess looking back at my relationships in recovery and you know throughout my life and just where I was coming from with it which was how good it made me feel right like and I refer to so I had a previous time with some clean time and some step work and I relapsed from that but I refer to the relationship I had then as like that relationship became my higher power really when we were doing well I like floated through the workday it was no effort at all to get out of bed in the morning right all the work that I had to do was not stressful it was just like some like it was like Bob Marley music playing right birds were chirping [ __ ] everything was great and then when we weren’t doing well I spent all the same time I would have obsessed and compulsive out getting another another drug or drink or whatever I spent that figuring out how I could fix us and like it was just mind-blowing to look back and see how closely that resembled my drug use really right that the drug was my higher power the relationship was my higher power how I use them in the exact same way to try to change the way I felt in the moment right and just the concept I think of my take on relationships was I use them the way I used drugs I want to change the way I feel and again I think a lot of my recovery is just get into some accepting point of it’s okay to feel there’s no bad feelings they’re just feelings feel them all they’re all part of it and as a heart that’s like the hardest thing in the world like it’s still hard for me to go through a loneliness or a pain or a hurt or rejection and think yeah yeah I’m feeling cool and I don’t know why that is but that I think is the driving force that makes me chase relationships or validation or anything yeah and I think you know sex relationships especially become whatever you want to call it like the easiest socially acceptable thing once you put down drugs you know because if you’re out you know sleeping with a bunch of chicks all your buddies are gonna think you’re cool you know what I mean and it’s you know socially it’s totally you know fine and great and whatever so and it’s legal there’s nothing illegal about it whatsoever so easy yeah yeah sure is it illegal I think so isn’t that illegal and like grounds for divorce yeah what is it

so it’s easy to fall into that trap you know the like well this feels good and it’s fine and it’s you know I can do this and maybe not even recognize that it is just another form of addiction it’s another thing that’s you know a thing outside of myself that I’m using to validate myself and make myself feel better and give myself that rush of like say adrenaline and and how good it feels so sitting here thinking you know back for a minute and I guess a lot of people maybe fall into this when they first enter recovery I maybe didn’t because I had the experience before I entered recovery was it author might use in like all my relationships were totally just self-centered and self-serving you know and that’s why I never stayed in long-term relationships you know because I never found some chick that would just tolerate all my [ _ ] all the time you know is basically what it boils down to I mean I’m sure if I found someone that wanted to tolerate it it would have probably been longer but you know it was like I only invested enough energy to be like alright what are you doing for me what do you have to offer me what are you giving me oh nothing okay well then I’m out of here I you know because I wasn’t into like I wasn’t trying to find someone that I had to share my drugs with or [ _ ] answer to what decisions I was making with my life with you know so my relationships up until I found recovery are we’re all just totally self-serving and totally about me and what I got out of them and so none of them were really fulfilling and obviously not sustainable because people get sick of that [ _ ] pretty quick yeah and I think having that experience maybe when I when I came into well exciting having the example of a good loving relationship but my parents helped me to know kind of have an idea of what was healthy and what was not healthy and now we’re back to disagreeing right so my old sponsor definitely we talked many times so I not on a humble brag type Billy don’t judge me right so let me just clarify not everyone it’s just that’s the way it comes off a lot of times like I mean I will say the women that I did cheat with were really high so I I struggled with the concept of monogamy and and maybe still do in my head a little bit and I don’t know if my wife’s gonna kill me we have some open rules about our stuff and have for a long time they’re not really used as often anymore they used to be more so early on and I think we’re both older and just too lazy do a lot of it honestly for my own baby but so my sponsor would always say I just don’t [ _ ] understand it he’s like it’s just not my life I like being with one person I don’t like all the chaos of the sleeping around kind of lifestyle it I don’t get it right he just could not even fathom what in me made me do that right and I don’t I don’t know what made him and I different in that area cos for me I couldn’t fathom why he wanted to not do it right like what makes you want to come home and eat ice cream and sit in your underwear and watch dr. Phil like I don’t just do it for me um but I I had the I had the same example you did my parents were married for 28 or 29 years before my father died like they didn’t stray or or I had the same thing sitting right in front of me a loving monogamous relationship for the most part with some chaos of course um and it’s just not what I got and I don’t know what makes you and I different but I don’t think what makes you what you are in that area the fact that you had that example because I feel like I had that example too and didn’t go that way so I don’t know what the [ _ ] it is right like I don’t know what it’s the same thing so my wife right is she an addict not self-proclaimed for sure is she truly I don’t know but she does like to shop a little bit with abandon and buy things impulsively right I don’t know that that’s addiction but whatever makes her do that in that area she has no interest to do that with alcohol right me I have a huge problem with drugs and alcohol if I picked them up but if you ask me if I have an issue gambling not [ _ ] really it just doesn’t do it for me I don’t know why I don’t know why that particular one doesn’t right but anyway just had that conversation I said the same thing anyway yeah but I get why it does it for some people right I totally get that I just I don’t know why we all individually have our things that work and things that don’t when I got clean dude sex relationships I went from smoking crack to eating crack right it was like I just it was definitely a huge fixation for me when I got when I got here and like obviously for you that never sounds like it was the thing for you you were like I’m in a relationship this works for me and you probably had some other area where the disease might have manifested and I fly like what makes us have our little certain areas as weird yeah and I mean a couple of things to say one I don’t know I mean it’s not that I’ve never thought about stepping out of my relationship or that you know this relationships not giving me what I need so I’m gonna go get it somewhere else I mean obviously you know those ideas have crossed my head whether they’ve just been passing thoughts or lust there I don’t know where they come from per se you know as an addict I’m kind of powerless over the way that I think but I guess I’ve just always made the decision that the commitment that I had in my marriage to be monogamous you know was I don’t know I’m I’m a strongly committed person I do pretty well with commitments that I make right I don’t know why that value is particularly important to me it just is and so I try to really be a person that does what they say you know um integrity I think is the word for that I felt just as powerless in in my in my relationships and choosing to sleep with women honestly as I did with drugs right like I slept with women that were and I’m not trying to judge or put anybody down but I’ve slept with some women that were way less attractive than the woman I was with and then I really said to myself beforehand I don’t really want to [ _ ] do this and I couldn’t stop myself no problem when I’m acting in addiction though I’m not acting in integrity like you know I had all the same values when I was using you know or at least I would have said those were my values but I didn’t live by any of them rude to ask me to sit down and write a list of what I thought was important you know again growing up in a somewhat healthy household and going to a Catholic school as a kid like I was taught you know what was sort of quote-unquote morally right and what the right way to live was and honesty and you know all those things so I on paper could have told you what they were and in fact for me not living with that integrity is what caused a lot of the internal hatred and internal you know it’s why I didn’t like myself I knew the way I should be living and I wasn’t living that way at all so we can be you know whatever drug-free accident-free and still be a person that lives without integrity you know like that’s integrity is a value or I’ll say a spiritual principle that we learn in recovery oh this is my value so this is how I have to live in accordance to that value because sometimes the way I want to live totally contradicts what I’ll tell you what my values are because what I want to do in the moment is gonna give me that instant gratification it’s gonna make me feel good it’s gonna I’m gonna be happy about it or whatever but a did it conflicts with what I would tell you that my moral value is the craziest part of that was and I thought of this earlier while we were talking early on when I was doing more of that behavior and it was more of the the lies to the partners and lies to the different women and everything I was unable even through step work to see how that was causing guilt and shame in my life right it was like leading me to the same cycle that the drug use did of doing things to get what I wanted that caused me to need more of what I wanted right and I I could not see that early on at all and I don’t know what had me blinded to that and you able to see that like you wanted to do something different and the truth is I mean there’s nothing wrong with people that want to be in polyamory and open relationships and do all that stuff like I don’t try to moralize that that’s wrong I say hey man if you’re all about it go for it do it you know where it becomes I think an issue is when it gets again it’s not the behavior itself that’s the problem it’s the things that go along with it you know are you doing a bunch of lying and manipulation and you know telling people things they want to hear even though you know it’s not true it’s like when you get into those areas that’s where it becomes hurtful and harmful because you’re now you know you’re causing harm to other people to get what you want it’s funny you’re breaking up so my old therapist from years back said it doesn’t [ _ ] matter what you do as long as both parties are consenting adults and everybody’s happy and getting enjoyment out of it it’s great and yet my new therapist is really taken aback by the whole polyamory idea and and it kind of tells me maybe yeah she she really hopes that I see something different I’ll say that and so it’s just interesting to see the different people’s takes right and not that I think one’s more right than the other I think both takes are kind of right in their own way but it’s interesting to see people that I look to for suggestions and an advice and maybe admire a little bit and I to see all these different sides of different differing opinions and it’s like damn how can we all think so different yeah I try not to moralize people to death you know what I mean like my morals and values well one they’re mine and they’re really only mine today because a couple years from now they could very much change really what I mean I mean God forbid something happened to my wife or we do get divorced I mean I don’t know maybe my maybe I would become polyamorous and not care anymore about monogamous relationships I mean I don’t know I do and I’m not I don’t try to put myself in some kind of moral cage you know that’s gonna stifle my ability to like live free and enjoy my life you know I don’t I think not to get off too far but I think that’s what religion does to too many people you know it puts them in this moral cage it’s like if you don’t do this this and this you’re going to hell and you’re gonna die and then they put themselves in that cage and they’re miserable and they hate their lives so then they turn around and try to enforce that same moral prison onto other people and then hate them just as much because they hate their own life but that’s on others I know but yeah if people you know if you’re open and honest and want to be in 15 relationships and they all know that you’re in 15 relationships [ _ ] have at it now enjoy it you know have fun I got that kind of energy to invest go forth you know there’s nothing wrong with that um in my particular relationship I have you know thought about that over the years with like my wife you know I used to think and I don’t know if I think as much now or she’s changed your I’ve changed but I used to think like she’s incredibly emotionally needy she needs more than I have to give and at times I thought either like I don’t necessarily have to leave like it doesn’t have to be someone else to fill that role maybe I can just do as much as I can and she can get the rest of what she needs somewhere else mmm you know and to be quite honest the only thing that stopped me from saying as my [ _ ] ego it’s like I don’t want to say that I’m not enough right it’s hard for me to admit that I might not be enough to fulfill her needs because I want to fulfill our needs I don’t want her to need someone else then somehow reflects badly on me you know to myself like and I don’t know that that’s true I think you just took us right back to the relationship topic that frequently we do put so much stock in a relationship that we are looking for one person to fulfill all our needs and that can be I believe pretty unhealthy for a lot of us what I want one person to fit everything I need them to be in my life because that’s what happens for me a lot I get in a relationship all of a sudden I forget I have friends I don’t see anybody else I don’t have time for anything else I’m in this relationship 24 hours a day seven days a week this is it right we’re all in and I’m looking for that person to be everything and I want to be able to share my hopes my dreams my fears my concerns well how the hell can I do like even even just from a very practical rational standpoint how the [ _ ] can I share my concerns about you with you right so just in that level but yeah nobody’s everything to everyone right and I do need some people over here and generally I can get a lot of what I need from platonic relationships I guess you want to call them right but I don’t know so what I’m really curious I guess and because we’re getting to a point where we are gonna have to shut up at some point what kind of blanket suggestions do you think for the early recovery portion relationship or maybe just healthy getting into relationship suggestions are there do they have like are there certain ideas that we just should focus on early on that that maybe we don’t so much or maybe this information isn’t given out in meetings oh wow I mean just me personally like the number one most important what I think everyone ignores is safe sex it’s not having [ _ ] kids you know that you’re not ready for and not prepared for or in a relationship for three months and the sex is great so you become you know totally you’re responsible and have some baby that doesn’t deserve to be in that situation I know that’s not exactly kind of what you were going no one talks about it you know but we all know you know and I hate to use this cliche but it’s like the girl in the halfway house who’s been around for six seven months and all the sudden she’s pregnant you know what I mean by the dude who’s in the other halfway house who you know they haven’t even [ _ ] figured out what they’re doing yet right and it’s great that I mean I have no problem with them being in a relationship but now you’ve sort of wreak some collateral damage that you know it we hope that it works out great but the odds are that it’s not your odds are very much stacked against you that’s a totally difficult situation but more I think what I would consider advice on the other side of relationships is trying to be trying to open up what I wish I had done early almost been more open communication wise about my feelings what I was looking for in the relationship my desires like those kind of things like it’s I’m really good I love to talk obviously about what I think and what do you think about this subject and that subject and get my [ _ ] opinion on all this stuff but it when it comes to talking about how I really feel how I feel about my relationship with you or my relationships emotionally like emotional communication is really difficult for me and I think that’s key in if you’re talking about a long-term committed relationship like that emotional communication is key because when our emotional needs aren’t being met is when we start stepping out on our relationships right I think for me one of the things that I learned that was really important for me that I was not aware of for sure early on is is the level of honesty I needed right first and this kind of look I can only I’m only capable of so much depending on how much recovery I have at any given point because I was only capable of so much honesty at any point right I think that’s a lot of our first step we talked about needing to be honest but first comes like the self honesty right like just me realizing who the [ _ ] I am and what I’m doing and thinking and feeling and then the brutal honesty of saying that whether that’s nice to hear or not sometimes right not not brutal is it I’m saying it to hurt people right because honestly without compassion is abuse to some extent I agree with that but I do need to be honest about where I am even if I think people aren’t gonna like it all the time in a compassionate way of course and then the third step of that honesty for me that I really was lost on was so I got to a point where with these other women it was like okay I’m not gonna lie to get what I want from him right and so I didn’t lie in words I was clearing words like hey I don’t want any more out of this I don’t want a relationship I only want sex are you okay with that right it was real blunt to the point but my actions definitely misled people right like I spend every day all day texting you for a week and a half and then once you give me what I want I’m almost non-existent because I was putting in all my actions said hey I care I’m here right and then my word said I didn’t so I thought since I gave the wordly disclaimer right I was free of shame and like just that amount of honesty is what I needed I needed to be honest with myself about what am I really doing honest in words but then I also needed my actions to follow those words right and so that I could be clear with people and at least in my pursuit of learning and understanding what relationships were for me I wasn’t hurting people at the same time because I heard a lot of people write myself included but I heard a lot of people and I regret that yeah and and some of those I mean honesty is definitely one of those that it’s important in all our relationships like it’s just one of those spiritual principles you know we talked about in our readings honesty open-mindedness and willingness you know those are things that like those are always good principles to live by in your life in general you know and in relationships I think honesty is important commitments important empathy compassion understanding patience tolerance like those are principles that are going to help in any relationship but I think what makes you know a romantic or your you know one-to-one partner whatever you want to call that relationship I think there is an emotional bond there an emotional intimacy there that is needed to keep that the primary relationship I guess you would say right I would also suggest for anybody that’s maybe a little earlier on or maybe just getting out of a relationship I don’t know that there’s a certain amount of time or a certain amount of steps that make you healthy and ready for it right but if my fixation is on getting in a relationship where my fixation isn’t is on a relationship with myself right I’m not learning more about me when I spend all my time thinking about who could I possibly hook up with at this meeting right and so I would just encourage people if that’s where your fixation is to question why right why do I feel like I need this outside thing so much what is it about it and really encourage people to I can get a relationship with you right and I hate to talk into you terms right I want to get a relationship with me that has been the best thing I’ve done in recovery is learn who the [ _ ] I am and try to do it on purpose and that didn’t happen when I was chasing relationships and what my first sponsor told me when I got into my relationship early of recovery because I think I had four months at that point he just said you know make sure you don’t allow that relationship to become your higher power that you know anything that you put in front of your recovery you will lose right and so when I went into that relationship I didn’t cut back meetings I didn’t cut back step work I didn’t cut back my service commitments like all those things were still a main focus and a main priority in my early recovery and I didn’t allow that relationship to give me the justification to dismiss all those things and I think that was key in a my recovery you know my staying in recovery and be just building some of the basic tools that I needed to be someone who was worth being in a relationship with right right and don’t get in a relationship with somebody in your [ _ ] home group for what is a worst idea ever I did that and hated my home group after my life was in my head I did it and then we broke up I thought it was like but we were in the same homegroup for a long time yeah I guess it works when you’re I don’t know it didn’t work for me though they were still in that new love phase the infatuation face well we do it when we were in the infatuation phase and then we weren’t in the infatuation phase we were broke up and it was terrible right well and my wife had whatever 12 years clean I think so I probably just gave in to whatever she says oh yeah she knows I mean I don’t know [ _ ] I’m done for months clean what do I know right oh we didn’t even talk about 13 steppin and and how so I just a one little thing I do want to say about it it’s kind of sad as as much as we can joke about it it is a little sad that we’ve given up this title of 13th step which kind of makes it funny and okay yeah when it’s it’s kind of a predatory all right yeah so I don’t want to won’t save that for part two I guess just be wary when you get in get with people who really have only your best interests at heart because it’s good for you not because there’s a way to get in your pants and and I think one of the big suggestions were here at least in our Fellowship is that you know stick with people of the same sex allow them to help you in your decision making again no one in my male support group ever said don’t get in a relationship or don’t get involved with her talked me out of it they just tried to give me some helpful advice and some tools and support so that if [ _ ] did go sideways you know I wasn’t gonna use I get confused about the the men with the men women with the women thing in this day and age because we’re not all the way we think we all are supposed to be we’re not all cisgender right we don’t know just like the same or the opposite sex and so I stick with people who aren’t gonna be dangerous for you right like if I think I might want to [ _ ] my sponsor I should probably get a different sponsor or network yes it’s not gonna work so yeah that’s a that’s what we got for this week on part 1 of the billion parts of relationships if you’re on Instagram or Twitter our links are in the show notes if you want to be a part of this we got an email of course and you can leave messages on this podcast specifically to give us your ideas we’d love to hear him have a good week that wraps up this episode please subscribe rate and review this podcast on your preferred platform if you have ideas for topics you’d like us to talk about or just want to add an opinion contact us through Anker email us at recovery sort of at gmail.com or find us on Twitter at recovery sort of