57: Relationships – To Date Others in Recovery or Not? (Sort Of)

11/15/20 Is it wise to date other people in recovery? While they are on the same journey as us, we also run the risk of losing everything if they relapse. Do we even consider these factors when getting into a relationship? When deciding to get married? When choosing to have children? How do you know, once they have relapsed, whether to support them or protect yourself? We talk to Stacey about all these questions and more in this episode.

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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss 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

welcome back it’s recovery sort of i’m jason i’m a guy in long term recovery i’m here as always with my name is billy i’m also a person in long-term recovery i just want to thank a couple people some of our our key people have reached out to me recently and thanked us for some really good episodes lately the last couple in particular and i appreciate that that means a lot to us always feedback about it and and how it introduces more conversation for me throughout the week with some of these individuals like stephanie and and jenny it means a lot to me it furthers my recovery for one but two sometimes we’re sitting here and i’m like are we only talking to ourselves are we helping anybody like is this really even useful and so to get that feedback it just always brightens my day a little bit and reinforces that i can’t wait to show up next sunday and do this again yeah for sure it’s definitely encouraging yeah so today we’re going to talk about relationships a little more it’s a topic we’ll probably explore for the rest of the time we do this podcast however many months or years that ends up being because it’s so relevant it’s everything relationships in general of course today we’re going to specify more about romantic relationships i guess but how that works was somebody who entered into a relationship with somebody in recovery as well and ended up with the marriage and the kids and what kind of thought was put into what might go wrong if any and and what can go wrong and how that influences you from there on and in your dating habits and what you decide to do i don’t know i think it’ll be an interesting episode you got any thoughts about it before we get started no other than i just think it’s such a hard topic you know relationships are so many people struggle with them when you look at divorce rates and things in this country anyway that for addicts we’re doomed yeah yeah i mean we’re [ __ ] doomed anyway and there’s one it’s at least 50 divorce rates so at least half of relationships don’t work already and then you’re taking in the possibility that we’re completely self-centered or we might pick up and use drugs again which makes it even worse and yeah and the divorce rate doesn’t even count the ones that are just terrible that people are in that they feel either stuck or aren’t leaving for whatever reason kids money career whatever reasons are stuck in them so it’s probably like 25 of marriages are good if you just took a microcosm of your own life how many relationships have you been in and so if you’ve been in 10 only one of them worked obviously right like nine of them didn’t and so if you look at that ratio that’s everybody’s life everybody’s right 15 failed relationships and one that worked so that’s not a good average but i think there’s just the age-old debate at least in my head at all times of do you date in the program or out of the program you know obviously we know there’s good and bad to each but which one outweighs which if any and i like to keep exploring that from different perspectives and see what that means to other people yeah and i’m i always fall into that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence you know right i’m in a relationship with someone in recovery so i am painfully aware of the issues that come along with that so obviously it must be easier if the person’s not like it’s so easy to assume that with no basis of experience all right so we’ll get ready to bring on stacey and we’ll see if she has that same take

so we’re here with stacy and stacy is going to talk a little bit about her relationships and having children in recovery and and relationships in recovery and how that works when you have relationships with people who maybe are also in recovery or not in recovery but to start off we’re gonna let stacey introduce herself and tell us just a little bit about how she got here hey guys so i’m stace i am an addict that matters so how i got here was obviously because i was an addict i came in actually with another use an addict i had 31 years clean i came in when i was 19. i am now 50. i have been here the whole time i’ve been in recovery the whole time i should say have not dabbled with anything i’ve been lucky enough to come in and not use since then and i don’t know if that’s out of desperation or what it was but it came in and it’s funny because relationships is probably what brought me here because i really just hated me and i was thinking about this laying in bed this morning this is really crazy about all the sexual relationships i had where i was looking for real relationships and what i was thinking i don’t know why it came to me this morning but there was not even a chance for any relationship because most of my relationships were based on sex and i used to think that it was them just wanting sex from me and then i thought about it and i was like all of mine were really i didn’t really care to get to know them that well i just wanted to have sex i don’t know how to explain that i guess if i went through my story more but i think it started out that i thought i always blame it on 70s porn because you know they hook up they have sex they don’t talk right they [ _ ] maybe that’s where i thought it all came from i don’t know but that’s how it all started they come at me sexual i’m all about it i do the best i can and maybe they like me maybe they won’t i always gave it up to them so came in with an addict and i guess they were looking for the same thing and it didn’t work out because they found someone else it was always about pick me pick me pick me you know i always felt like pick me one you know i felt like it was like a game like back when we played volleyball pick me pick me you know am i good enough am i good enough and you know and if i wasn’t picked i felt like i wasn’t good enough and i think that’s where most of it came from so go a little bit forward you know i had many relationships in n a a lot of the same feelings am i good enough am i good enough so i met my husband my major relationship my real one like where someone got to know me and i got to know them because the rest of them were just based on i don’t even know what they were based on if i cry in this i’m gonna be really pissed off because i feel it already so i guess i had nine years ten years when i tell my story i talk about i came here with a guy from florida i came to baltimore because i’m trying not to find me and i found myself in florida i moved back to maryland and i found it with a guy that i met in a bar who stopped drinking because he loved me and in my mind at the time i guess he stopped loving me because he started drinking and it got ugly and i had been away from na for a little while so i hadn’t done much work and i found myself coming to n a again finally doing some work and got into another relationship trying to fix myself and again it was meaningless it lasted for a year but it was meaningless once again i didn’t feel picked you know what i mean it didn’t work out like i was like don’t you know who i am what i’m gonna be you know i was young and younger than him and school and and then i started doing step work i really don’t know if i could have lasted this long without step work i can’t even tell you where i’d be i would probably be been beaten up better wife better woman who knows where i would have been without step work i do not know so i was getting over a relationship i thought and i didn’t want to be with anybody else so i just really dove into step work really hard started finding my worth other people started seeing my work which felt really good you know and i mean and i don’t mean sexually or relationship wise or anything like that i mean you know people started asking me to sponsor them and i started making my network got bigger and i just started feeling better about myself and when they say you will love you until you can love yourself i really believe that’s the truth because i used to always say if they love me and they are so [ _ ] awesome then maybe there’s something there maybe there’s something there so you know just continuing to do step work i did i found out who i was then i started like me and i did a lot of affirmations which i spot i sponsor a lot of women and and i feel stupid because i used to think my spouse was so wanky like you’re a beautiful child of god and i’d be like oh my god don’t make me but i was willing i’ve always been willing so i did it i tell girls this 30 years later same thing just say it in your head you might think it’s stupid you don’t have to say it out loud just say it to yourself you know i remember wanting to be in love so i just want to be in love i just want to be i just want to be loved i just want to be in love or i love myself or whatever i would say and i feel like it just started it just happened i guess positive prayers or whatever you put out in the universe see i bought this program can you tell i like bought in oh 100 i bought it so my husband comes around this is like the perfect story the perfect storm he comes in he’s cute as can big he’s four years younger than i am he just gets out of jail just gets out of jail shy [ _ ] cute as [ _ ] and you know he’s built because he just got out of jail and he’s in a halfway house and i am really involved in recovery and i’m involved in h and i am h i chair at this time i think you know you should flirt with guys just to get them involved in hni that’s how i used to get all my panel leaders you got to use what you can right i don’t know it was a very slow process and we started talking and he went on a first date which i’d really never been at on a first date after all this time i’m 28 or something takes me to the aquarium and one of those first dates that lasts forever it did last forever he didn’t go home that night but it wasn’t because he moved in or we had sex it was just because we like we enjoyed each other’s company and it was like that the world tells you to do it we dated for a year which you know i loved him even though he’s imperfections like he had a rap sheet you know it wasn’t too big he was young i was 28 so he was 24. we dated for a year we moved in together we got engaged we bought a house then we had kids and i don’t know what happened you know we had our own separate home groups you know i never really looked outside of n a well i think i did have a couple one night stand outside of n a but like work or something but most of the time i was looking for a relationship inside of na i really wasn’t i don’t know before john there really wasn’t a whole lot of that went on but he was he was the one who said he saved me i saved him it was one of them things that was perfect and um i thought it was perfect he thought it was perfect his family thought it was perfect my family thought it was perfect you know a lot of n a thought it was perfect we bought the house with the fence you know the way picket fence it actually did we had our babies quit my job and stayed at home it was just [ _ ] perfect you know he had a sponsor i had a sponsor he did recovery he did step work he went and worked out for his mental health you know it was just what it’s supposed to be i don’t know what happened one thing is that he had a secret that i knew about that nobody else knew about and he couldn’t share it and i think that’s one what if you can’t get past that fourth step you know it’s really hard because you hate yourself a lot and two is that i’m not perfect i think years after we were separated i still had his hopefully he can’t hear this but um i read his journals and he loved me and when i had kids i think that he wasn’t my main focus anymore i mean none of you guys can identify with that yeah you know and he used to say in any like i’m stacy’s husband i’m stacy’s husband it wasn’t like he was john he was stacy’s husband you know i had already been here for a while and had already been involved you know when i introduced him and people knew him he was stacy’s husband so he found his strength and work and he got to be making around six figures by the time it was over with by the time we got to where you know we ended up selling the house and buying a new house but what happened was so i had my second child the first one like even we were good teams even throughout everything and uh so i had a bad epidural when i gave birth and um i guess a weekend maybe a weekend the doctor called a nurse calls and i answered the phone and she said you know the doctor had got your message and said that he cannot refill your prescriptions anymore until you come in and visit them and i was floored because i’m a good addict you know i try to take stop taking them when i can he said that i he had filled a couple prescriptions already because my husband had called the pain line and said that i needed him i was in a lot of pain and i needed him but first thing i did is i called him his sponsor and i was like what does this sound like because they are really still really good my his wife is my best friend and we’re still really good friends and i said what does this mean and he said sounds like he’s using and he’s got to get clean i said like what if he doesn’t want to get clean you know like and that is something i had no idea what to do with i was taught you did not live with a views an addict you know it was like against the rules for us i guess it was like i don’t i don’t even know how to describe i didn’t know anything different like not like today where you i see successful relationships where the other person man or woman is on suboxone methadone or whatever and they live happily ever after or i did do al-anon you know it was the first place my sponsor sent me where you know you learned that you can still live your life in your recovery and focus on you living with an addict i couldn’t be more than one of those and i probably don’t want to step on each other i’m saying aa bird that’s got a husband who’s an alcoholic or something personally i couldn’t do it i’ve seen it happen it happens and um i couldn’t do it so i called him and i asked him and he gave it up yeah i’ve been using and i think once a cat got out of the bag it made it easier for him to use like i said you got to get clean so my story is six years of that off and on you know he tried to get clean he didn’t get clean instead of going to meetings he’d sit at the bar find out he was selling drugs through his work like the guys he worked for he was using them and i don’t even know the whole story i still don’t even know the whole story but to find out you know like when he would get clean he would tell me parts of the story but he you know he was sending guys to florida to pick up [ _ ] cocaine and using it through work like there’s business down there and he would it’s just crazy [ _ ] and i’m sure that you know when we’re using we think that we’re like rock star drug dealers and [ _ ] i’m sure he thought that you know so he wasn’t coming home there was one night he didn’t come home at all with my car and of course you know the fear that we have is we’re blowing up their phone and [ __ ] they’re not answered i don’t you know i don’t know if you guys have ever been through any of that if you’ve done it if you haven’t done it but it’s really shitty on our side and i’ve been on the other side as well so i tell people this you know we don’t realize what we’re doing to our families until you become that family you know and it sucks and it’s hard this episode has been brought to you by voices of hope inc a non-profit grassroots recovery community organization located in maryland voices of hope is made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity and respect of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment support resources and mentoring please visit us at www.voices

and consider donating to our calls and when he finally did come home it’s crazy i think i just laid down the law i was like you will never ever not come home you know what i mean like i believe that i married you forever all those things that we say through sickness and health i sometimes i think there should be an etc like except for when you [ _ ] become a drug addict [ _ ] and you take everything and you steal everything you know what i mean i don’t know because it’s a decision that’s really hard to make you know we were like i said we were good even our kids are like you know i remember this i remember that but it took a long time for me to make a decision and i see people who go through it now and i’m like you know you never know until you know like you just get to a point where you know you know we sold the house and bought a new house or built a new house and uh that was all property and prestige you know i said to him we shouldn’t do it because you know you’re using and we can’t get along and you know and i resented you know he would go to meetings and like i said he wouldn’t go to meetings and i’d be resentful because he was doing a 90 and 90 was always you have to do a 90 and 90 every time and he wasn’t doing it and i wasn’t doing meetings i’m staying here with two kids so it was just it was horrible and i would wake up every single morning when he would leave i would call my sponsor every single morning i would call her and i was like in a date what do i do today what do i do you know like am i supposed to focus on him are am i supposed to focus on them i’m supposed to focus on me what do i do you know usually when someone’s using you just want to it’s all about that person you just make it all about that person and i played the victim for a while i went into meetings and i would share you know my husband’s using he’s lying he’s whatever and i probably owe him an amends for that because i didn’t have to beat him up and that made him scared to come back to na like i made a lot of mistakes you know and of course if i live the steps i will rectify them so that went on and you know he went to he even went and lived in a halfway house for a while like what are you supposed to do all you know are the things that na tells you to do we went to therapy you know and find out and he lied through therapy the whole time he just did it just to fix things you know what i mean for the time being it was all he knew how to do he didn’t want to stop using but he didn’t want to give up his life it got so bad that he had a sexual addiction as well so he would just it got worse when he was and i didn’t even know about that until the cocaine came like that cocaine showed that you know like it was visible so he would lock himself down in the basement but it ended up being where i moved down the basement because he wouldn’t leave our house was big enough to where i could do that and it got like [ _ ] crazy to where i’d be sleeping and he would be standing over top of me like just crazy [ _ ] things that i don’t even want to mention for other people to hear and um he would call me at work and i didn’t really even work i was a volunteer because i was staying at her mom and i went to at the elementary school and you would call the school and be like you have to put these things in your name because i’m going to cut them all and then so long story short is i don’t know how much of that she wanted to hear but finally asked him to leave he wouldn’t leave i finally went and asked the cops to give them what’s it called uh restraining order thank you and so when i talked to the cop they’re like it probably won’t happen but you can try it anyway you know at this time i was fearing for my life and the kids it was very [ _ ] up like i didn’t realize cocaine could make you that crazy i knew crack could but i didn’t know cocaine could and they gave it to me and that’s where the process started so it was really really ugly very very painful i don’t know if he’s clean today i think he’s clean he lives in another state but he did a lot of jail time it took him away you know it took him away from the kids it took him away from everything you know he ended up getting locked up first stealing because that’s what we have to do you know and he ended up putting neal in his arm and he became a junkie and house to house to house to house a house like it was always a different address you know he took the kids to cop and it’s just crazy crazy [ _ ] but it’s what drugs do to you so i don’t know if that’s his story or my story but i dated a couple guys after that in recovery but it was the same story somehow along the line i had still looking for the same thing you know maybe it was because i wasn’t fixed yet dated a couple guys online and you know a couple guys that drank and i let myself be subjected to that like why do you always have to drink i have to always drink and once again i was still in the mindset where they didn’t pick me i still felt like i was right and then i don’t know i found mike and he was a nice guy and i got to know him so i think really would i date another guy in recovery yeah maybe i don’t know hopefully i’ll never have to everybody’s got [ _ ] right i mean i sponsor a lot of women who are married and a lot of are married to a lot of men that are in recovery and they still got [ _ ] and it basically just about working a program being the best you can be you know my boyfriend is not recovering he respects us and he listens like so i said to him this morning today his birthday and i said you know how you got me because you were a nice guy he adopted two kids that weren’t his and he’s raised them and the mom is nowhere around mom or dad i figured that was a respectable thing to do so and he was didn’t make moves on me like i think i finally made the move and we got to know each other but you know he was a little shady character he’s from baltimore you know what i’m saying a little shady i say to him you’re a scorpio i didn’t realize you were a sneaky [ _ ] because scorpios are sneaky he just laughs but it’s funny because this whole covet thing he works i don’t know if it’s called under the table i guess where you have to claim your own taxes self-employed or whatever i said you know what [ _ ] you should have claimed unemployment this whole time we’d be sitting pretty because he works he said he does work and uh he said i can’t i live with you i have to do the next right thing like so he gets it you know what i’m saying like that’s funny it is funny and he i’ll say something to him like i mean something on the side of the verse and i said we should pick that up and take that and he goes that’s stealing we can’t do like he gets it like he almost keeps me in check which is [ __ ] cool it’s just good it’s good you know it’s like i don’t sponsor him or anything like that because he it’s not like that well see this is a thing jason and i go back and forth about all the time i tend to tell them that non-addicts don’t need to work a bunch of steps to learn some of these principles on how to live like they just get them through life like i think

i think everybody should get it i swear i would give this 12 steps to everybody you know my parents are non-addicts but they don’t have the principles that we have my dad is a sneaky son of a gun he has you know he will work the system to his best ability and look at all these other people working the system that aren’t addicts how many people are collecting unemployment my daughter says she said there’s so many people out there who have side gigs that’s what she calls them sidekicks hustles right so i don’t know there’s only a very few normal people that i know that are amazing i think everybody could use a program and i can’t tell you how many normal people come to me with a lot of their stuff so i’m curious i think there’s this and maybe it’s only in my head but kind of this age-old debate of do we date in the program or do we date out of it and of course you know if you run down the list there’s positives and negatives to each direction i had an experience dating in the program with somebody i really liked we ended up using together it didn’t work out well so i vowed to go the other direction which i have and i’m married to an earthling billy on the other hand is you know married to somebody in the program and there’s definitely cool parts and and not so cool parts about each but i think that overwhelming fear of the outcome like i know bad things can happen if you’re dating an earthling too but just that devastation that you just kind of described of what can happen to someone who doesn’t stay in recovery was that ever a consideration during the get-together dating marriage have kids process did you ever think god this could really go bad who thinks like that we our addicts we live in the here and now what feels good think about any of that you know like this person is going to break my heart this person is going to hurt me shoot if i would have thought like that i wouldn’t have been in all these little mini relationships right right i think it’s really about water seeks its own level if you’re a good person you’re going to attract a good person if you’re a shitty person you’re going to attract the same shitty person because you’re accepting that in your life you know just like i said with jenna what i accepted from her and her behavior she’s going to give it she didn’t get away with whatever she can and when i put my foot down and said that’s not going to work anymore it changes so i think it’s really about water seeking its own level well and it sounded like in the beginning i guess he was working a program and doing all the things he needed to do i mean how long did that last like was that a while or was that a couple years so i want to say john had six years clean when he relapsed maybe you know when i got pregnant i was devastated because we were living the life i mean we had bought the house we were doing some traveling you know it was like we were good how many couples have you seen that come in and they they go hard together with the recovery you know what i mean you see them then they’re hard and then life happens and one person’s doing hard the other person’s doing what’s responsible or whatever and it just if you do not be vigilant i really believe or this is what my sponsor says sometimes you just want to use more than you want to stay clean or you want to stay clean more than you want to use i’ve never forgotten what it’s like when it comes to dating outside of recovery i’m thinking about all my friends and i look at them because i get what’s it like you know what’s it like dating somebody is using or i don’t know anybody who’s dating anybody who’s smoking crack and i don’t know anybody who’s dating somebody who’s shooting heroin do you know what i’m saying right right do i know anybody who dating somebody who doesn’t use it all that nobody uses i don’t know normal people do you know anybody normal my parents aren’t normal my dad’s a pill popper if i look at every relationship i know i can pick out a behavior that i relate to an addictive behavior it might not be drugs i mean i my mother has always had a weird relationship with money and shopping and debt like that i’ve considered an addictive sort of behavior so i think we all have something personally that’s my kind of take on it hell yes so perfect good job my boyfriend lives on marketplace he wakes up and grabs that phone to the time he goes to bed and if he hasn’t bought something every single day or shows me something that i want and that would be his fix if you come over here and look at my garages and see how many tires and whatever because he it’s crazy you know i’m gonna fix this up and sell it i’m gonna mechanical he’s mechanical so yeah that is his my mom is a pvc shopper one thing they did was money and they could spend it and if i had the money she spent on [ _ ] i could live good but she said finally she just came to this conclusion like hit her bottom that she did it because she wasn’t happy with her life finally she had that aha moment like i don’t need any of this stuff i just do it because i don’t like my life i’m not going out and traveling and i’m not going out and doing all these things so i just spend and you know that aha moment yeah my mother’s a home shopping network person what about even good stuff fishing well some people are obsessed with the fishing yeah you know is it good is it bad does it make their life unmanageable how about hunting right now hunting fishing working out yeah i would say it has made my life and the people who’ve i’ve seen do it to the obsessive level it does make it a little unmanageable but is it bad i don’t think my life was bad it was a little chaotic but it wasn’t necessarily bad like yeah i probably missed a meeting because i was at the gym an extra night or or i missed an hour with my wife and kids because i went to the gym but it didn’t really play out to where i was terrible i guess so how about when you’re taking care of yourself like that john used to say that the gym is where he felt like he was meditating he felt like that’s when he got with his god you know some people do it driving you know some people just get on the road and just drive different people different things so okay so someone who paints or does artwork and stuff when they’re locked up in a room by themselves and they’re not spending it with their family is that i mean what what where do you draw the line on any of that wherever it’s comfortable i guess i guess it’s whatever’s acceptable and again what behavior is acceptable to you how many times you hear why i say you’re not spending enough time with the family we’re not doing enough of this we’re not doing enough of that is that a red flag my wife and i can get into that debate argument whatever you want to call it over recovery stuff because she’s got a good amount of time clean she sponsors a lot of women she gets asked to speak a lot of places and if she’s not paying close attention i mean she could be gone four nights a week you know and when we had younger kids that was a lot you know now our kids are older so it’s not as bad and it’s funny you were talking about the recovery going hard stuff like we’re getting back to that side of things now so we went to a lot of meetings and did a lot of stuff early in recovery then we had kids and all that slowed down and now our kids are older so we get some time together but yeah i would get resentful actually of the program because she would be asked to go out and do all these things and i would be home with the kids and it was a just recovery could be the argument and i think john could have resented that as well because it was the same now though i tell you my boyfriend’s like go go and i think that’s because he needs that time for him you know go i one of the things that i regret and that i uh wish that i could make up is i did a lot of that going remember i’m a single i was a single mom i did a lot of that running when my kids were little i feel like i’m trying to make up for that now which is really weird because they’re 18 and 20. you know they don’t want me around as much but they still need me because they’re heading out in the world now and you know the world’s a lot different than going to school all day long and then coming home and have dinner and you know doing your homework and going to sleep i try to be home for them now or be around for them more it’s really something i regret because i was always there for the big stuff but a lot of the little stuff i feel like i missed i feel like now i still [ _ ] them up even i was in recovery the whole time yeah i think we all tend to pass on a lot of that like recovery doesn’t make us better overnight or great overnight so it’s like such a process i’ve given my kids 10 years ago i was giving them a much what i would look at today is a much uglier part of me and then today yeah i get to do a little better with the information i have but i wasn’t capable then i didn’t even see it right it’s helpful but it’s not the solution for sure my daughter said to me when we were fighting she said why don’t you start journaling again you used to be so spiritual she said it’s been helping me because she’s picked up a lot of stuff from my recovery she said and it wasn’t a nice thing she was saying she was saying you could be so spiritual why don’t you start journaling again has been helping me and you know i think some of that was her state of mind as well because she was very angry with me but i just i don’t know i just want to make it all right i want it to be like if you see it on tv my family hmm hallmark yeah which is [ _ ] how much do you think that incredibly painful experience that you’ve related to us today how much do you think that informed you for dating away from the program afterwards like do you think that was a big deal like i don’t ever want to go through somebody using again i don’t think there’s a solution really like i said i dated a couple guys that i found they were still alcoholic i think i fell in love with juan right before mike and he was a true [ _ ] alcoholic i mean i wish i could have gotten him clean but he was wishing he could get me drunk before we were electric but that wasn’t working i thought i could do it i don’t know you know i think i could save someone obviously it didn’t deter me i dated a bunch of guys after my husband that were in recovery right but again i was doing like unacceptable stuff so you know what do you i don’t know what would you say you’re married would you would you date again in the recovery would you date outside of recovery what would you do both of you i mean for me it would be terrifying to go back to having to worry about for me and i’m always like oh if they had like 15 20 years clean i wouldn’t have that fear but it’s not true like those people can get high too and i’ve seen it so that’s just terrifying to me i i can’t imagine having that but i do understand what you’re saying where it doesn’t even matter if it is somebody that’s not in a program it might still be that type of person that can lose it anyway like they don’t have to be in recovery to go back they could just be back there already and i’m not aware of it until it comes out i don’t know that i would date in recovery again i would nah probably not that’s funny because you just said both y’all in recovery you’re both getting involved more and that’s funny we are it’s i don’t know i i i have a very optimistic view of healthy people i know there’s a lot of sick people out in the world but i think there’s healthy people that have good morals and values not that my wife doesn’t she’s an amazing woman and i love her to death it’s just we’ve been on that roller coaster over the years there’s times she’s doing well there’s times she’s not doing so well and then vice versa you know how much we’re working on ourselves and how much we’re invested in our recovery and that ebbs and flows for each of us throughout the years and the times that we’re both like working on ourselves and doing well seems a lot less than the times that we’re not i think that everybody entire world has that evan’s love that’s how we have our stories i mean my sponsor had a relationship group when i first when i was engaged to my husband and there were people there who had been married 20 years 15 five whatever and everybody had a story there was infidelity there was money issues they were broke up and moved back together and that’s when i learned like there’s no perfect world there’s nothing and these people came back together they worked through those issues together and some were in the program somewhere in al anon some were you know her husband at the time wasn’t in the program and and that used to make me think like should i have stayed dude i stayed six years i sometimes questioned should i have stayed would it have worked out could it have worked out but at six years i gave it my best shot i did everything i could save that relationship and who was suffering me and my kids were suffering and well i mean i moved on because it was dangerous at the time and it just never came back together and so that was one of the questions i was thinking about asking and you’ve kind of already answered it you know how do you know when to support that person further and try to assist them versus when to i don’t want to say call it a day but say i’ve done the best i can and i need to protect myself and my loved ones now and you kind of mentioned that already that it was you know basically you know when you know but i’m assuming during that six years you were thinking this guy’s gonna get back on track he’s gonna get back to meetings did you think that after the six years two like even after you left did you just kind of assume he would get it one day well i sat and watched you know i waited so i was in limbo for a long time i was in limit so i bought my house for a long time i was like whomever i ended up with we’re gonna live where they want to live it was always about giving them the power and when i bought my house i was like fine like [ _ ] this i got this this is all about me now and that’s when it all came together for me but i just kind of sat and watched if he would have gotten clean i don’t know people ask that question a lot people have always asked would you and john cause we were good we were very good together you see couples like that every once in a while but i can’t say i don’t know i mean there was a lot of [ _ ] went down i mean i don’t do i know if he was if he cheated i don’t know i mean i know that he accused me of it a lot so they usually say when someone’s accusing you it’s because they’re doing it right who’d say he’d come back to me i did i threw him under the bus man i made them look bad i didn’t give up the secrets or anything but i just who knows it’s a sad thing but so much is about maturity and growing up and not to get too deep into we kind of already have statistics and understanding of how kids are affected by a parent that disappears or isn’t around as much anymore or when the situation changes but since he’s left since that six years obviously they were probably witness to some not attractive things during that period of time when things went downhill but since then what has his involvement with the kids been if at all well he’d been in jail for a long time so there wasn’t much he saw him afterwards he saw him a little bit which i enjoyed because then i got a free time but then it got to be where i found out that i think one night i got caught in the middle of the night from one of the guys at the halfway house and said that john had gotten picked up and the kids were asleep he had gone out so when i had to go and pick him up that night jenna was really angry with me i mean jenna they were still so little they were in elementary school and she was so mad she’s like mom why can’t you just let me be you know let me stay with that i said because your dad’s locked up in jail you know we can finally so the story was with my kids they didn’t know that their dad was an addict they thought that i stopped loving him i took the whatever the fall and said that mom he doesn’t love daddy anymore and that’s why we’re not together so for years that was it until they saw his drug addiction you know daddy fell asleep on the toilet ha ha ha ha they seen hit the needle and jenna said she’d seen the needle and stuff in his drawer and you know she remembers times when he left her in the car and cop i didn’t keep him from him he could come see him i’d invite him over he could spend the night at christmas and get up but you know what there was a time when he was down and out and i let him spend the night you know [ _ ] was stealing mine he would ask me can i take your car and go get some dip 2 in the morning [ _ ] stealing my bank card getting money out of the bank every morning and then you know he’d come back and act like nothing and when i got i think i had 20 years clean i had around that time i let him stay and i had a ring he had bought me a eternity ring fif infinity ring or whatever it is expensive ring when he was trying to fix things and he stole it and hopped it and you know the [ _ ] that’s unacceptable comes into your house and takes stuff so he wasn’t allowed around the house anymore and then he got locked up left and right you know he’s paying child support now i’m just getting some but they knocked off all the child support from him being in jail he was in jail for years i mean he just got out a couple years ago two years maybe it hasn’t been long so you’re locked up for a good long time it’s so tough i mean we know a person in our neighborhood who got into a relationship with someone you know and planned kind of like you it was just the fairy tale they planned to spend their life with them and because of using they had to split and he passed away this past year and my daughter’s mother has passed away at this point like she died of an overdose a couple months ago and it’s just devastating it’s devastating what it does to the lives of the families and you know how do we navigate that i don’t know i miss the fact that i think people who are in recovery together in relationships they can like go to convention weekends and hang out and i don’t get that but at the same time recovery is kind of like my respite to get away from my family when i need a break too so maybe it’s better that way mine will go he’ll go the problem is he gets bored because i’m too busy talking a million people and he’s standing there with his thumb up his ass you know and he’s like you just go and have a good time you know he’ll go he goes to almost heaven and the what we do now is we take the motorcycles up and we’ll ride together you know and then he’ll sit in a meeting with me or he can go do whatever he wants so so michelle’s my best friend she’s got plans for us 24 7 all the time like she could spend every day and a lot of times like we went camping two weeks ago all the n a girls and mike you know i mean and they say they appreciate them because he keeps the fire going he sets the camper up like he helps like when we’re kayaking and somebody can’t get out of the spot he helped you know like he’s a good doobie so i don’t have that issue there was some of my kids so i was gonna tell you this real fast i have done more damage to my kids than my husband has not been around you think so absolutely and jenna will tell you so so one of the things jenna brought up was the guys that i dated and if i ever had a relationship and my girlfriend say to me like she has a problem with you trying to be happy or you know it was your life or whatever it is but should i have not had guys around her because obviously none of these relationships lasted very long you know so i don’t know what i was teaching her what i wasn’t teaching her matt what was i teaching matt so i’m the one who taught them what they got they got all that stuff from me not from him he wasn’t around to do any of that the things that i see that them do is like the way that he smiles or matthew smiles like him or laughs like um but their [ _ ] comes from me that’s a very self-critical view of it i do appreciate it and i understand like yeah you’re around so his damage that he’s doing is the damage of not being there whereas you have the damage of the everyday i’m here all the time but i think you know to mitigate that you also have all the only good input too like he didn’t do any good being away you did all the good being there i hear that a lot um my girlfriend said that to me that didn’t raise their own kids like somebody else raised them they say that you were there for everything you didn’t miss it you did this but when you’re fighting with your kids you know she’s got it jenna’s got it matthew keeps it to himself but she will say now that she’s older because it used to be we don’t have this we don’t have that everybody has this everybody can do that you know how kids are everybody’s got whatever yeah there’s times when she’ll blow smoke or tell me whatever like you did the best you could i know you did you know you get it all just like we did for our family how many times did we come in saying our families were dysfunctional yeah i was the dysfunction they were fun if i would have like backed off and did the right thing they wouldn’t have been dysfunctional my dad wouldn’t have done the things he did he wouldn’t you know what i mean things wouldn’t happen i wouldn’t have wrecked all the cars or got been in his face saying [ __ ] that i should you know so did i come from dysfunction i don’t know did i i won’t answer for you so i’m saying like did my kids me and jenna we’ve been into you know i’ve chased her up the steps to like go after her is that dysfunction did she come from dysfunction like did i teach her that what do you know what i’m saying when i say all that like she never has any memories of her father chasing her around trying to grab her hair or you know i mean or yelling at her or yeah but she doesn’t have any memories of him coming over to hug her or get christmas or birthday presents or take her out to eat or any of that either my kids don’t even think about it they don’t even think about it they have never been like they really call him dad because they know that he’s her father like he says she’s like what’s he got for me that’s how they feel i mean they spend time with them they try to get to know him but they don’t know him would you say your overarching relationship experience or thoughts on it are it really doesn’t matter if they’re in the program in recovery struggled with drug addiction before or completely separate from any of that that it really only matters how much work you’ve done on yourself because you’re going to attract someone at that level wherever that’s at at the moment and so yeah we can say the fears of addiction are terrible but we can attract just as much ugly outside of the rooms or recovery as well if we’re not in a good place ourselves yes that’s exactly what i’m saying good job i mean that’s a very i mean it’s almost a political answer but it’s a pretty good answer because i feel like that’s like do you date in the program do you date outside the program i guess if you’re not working on yourself it really doesn’t matter much at all i mean if you want to date what are you looking for in dating if you want a date and have a good like i could date somebody and we’d get on the boat we’d have a great time or i could go you know away to vegas and we could have a great time do i want to be in a relationship with that person um it’s a whole different story do you know what i’m saying i’ve never dated without the intent of hopefully relating at some point so when right before i met mike that’s where i got and that is the best so i dated online i found him on plenty of fish and i found a couple other things that i threw back or they threw me back or whatever it was but i always say now that god did for me what i couldn’t do for myself but thank god that i did not end up in those relationships because i friended them on facebook and i watched and i watched and thank god that i didn’t end up there because you know i was settling i was settling and that’s because of where i was with myself but i learned to date okay we’re gonna go to our comedy club that sounds like a lot of fun you know and if i wanted to see you again we saw i saw you again if i didn’t but what i learned was i had my own power i wasn’t letting you make the decision no more i got to make the decision do i like you oh i don’t know maybe let’s go out again do i like nah it’s okay thanks it was it was fun thanks it took me a long time 45 years to get there and i wish and that’s what i try to teach the girls that i sponsor now you don’t have to pick him because he likes you do you enjoy or you have fun together do you laugh what is it you like about them you know so many people just settle money issues like do you want to be in a relationship where the money is there’s like he’s bad with money so but you have a lot of it so you just keep

i mean that does even out yeah well i didn’t find that one

no but it works it’s good he’s my road dog and that’s what matters oh so this is the thing i was won recently with the girls i sponsor i said to them so just if something happens to mike we don’t we break up something happens i don’t know anything where would i be would i be back to pick me pick me somebody looking for something to you know do i want a relationship or would i be okay with just where i’m at because right now i’m very okay with where i’m at so what would that be i can say all these things now because i’ve been with them for almost six years right if i were back to square one what would the situation be that’s the real deal am i still okay with whatever am i gonna wait for someone that meets me at my level and i would like to say yes that i would unless i was looking for something something but at now i think that i’m very i’m very okay and again that’s the work that i’ve done it’s not i would probably date in or out of the program either or and if i liked it if it worked then i’d do it again i do appreciate you coming on and sharing stacy i think there was a lot to get out of what you said today i i really enjoyed it yeah thank you very much i think you answered all the questions i had while you were just sharing your message it was beautiful i didn’t even have to prompt you i’ve really had a good time guys we did too we did too i really appreciate you coming on stage well thank you so much it was nice talking to you

i think that was awesome talking to stacy i mean i think she had a lot of input i think she has some really relevant life experience it’s one of the people that i’m familiar with that has one of the more difficult stories to hear i guess because it’s just it’s hard right you have that perfect or what looks like a perfect scenario for you and then it comes crashing down and it’s you know it makes me wonder about like the the yin and yang it’s like did it was so great did it have to also be terrible like is that just how the world equals out or but just to hear it and what i found extremely tough was to hear her take so much blame or or credit for the tough stuff that’s happened with her kids and the damage done like that’s tough and i and i don’t think she you know walks around and self blame or shame about that i think she’s got a pretty realistic view of it but that’s gotta be really rough to know that the other party wasn’t even there we know that’s damaging because we talked about it last week with the aces but just to know that they didn’t really have the input on a daily basis and the effect that you did is really hard it was hard to hear her take that on yeah that was difficult you know i i wanted to sort of chime in and start giving advice and then i felt like i should just shut up and let her you know that’s her life i’m not who am i to start giving her advice on that but i did feel the same i felt like you know from our conversation last week on the adverse childhood hood experiences and stuff that our kids really were already on the one just from their dad not being around you know they that’s they get a mark just for that and you know they’re going through some tough stuff and it’s hard to see how like when you’re the only one there you have to take all the blame i don’t know if that’s necessarily true you know i don’t agree with that because there’s some harm done and some damage done when they look at their life and realize hey one of my parents isn’t here and everyone else in the world has you know that’s the way it looks to a kid everyone else around has this other person to support and love and fill in gaps of time and different emotional needs i’m trying to think from my own perspective like i don’t take that on like i i know i take on that i’ve done some damage to my kids and honestly i might over estimate how much damage i’ve done i really don’t know i just know i feel i’ve done a great deal at times when i wasn’t as informed or you know as well as practicing spiritual principles in my parenthood but i don’t take it all on like i know for sure their mother not being there has done quite a bit of damage to him and i don’t mitigate that at all like i’m like yeah that’s [ __ ] that’s gotta suck i can’t imagine but i’m not taking on what she did by not being there at all like that’s gotta really mess with your self-esteem and everything else yeah and it her story a little bit got me to thinking too about you know how i would deal with my kids if if my wife used or you know if i would tell them that like i mean i’m i’m always a person that always goes with honesty i don’t know that i would take fault i mean i obviously i would like to hope that i would be a good enough person not to like bash or throw her under the bus but i don’t know if i would be dishonest i’m not really sure that’s so hard so i when i when it happened that i took my daughters from their mother because i found out they were using i didn’t see any other choice because i was like i’m not gonna let them see her it’s not just you’re coming to live with me it’s you’re coming to live with me and until i see something different out of your mother you’re not gonna see her and so i had to sit him down and tell him and like you said i thankfully through this process didn’t bash her whatsoever along the way like and i feel really good about that but i was always straightforward with them and let them know the deal like this is what’s going on and this is why you can’t you know we can pray for something better but i i can’t put you in danger yeah that might have been just me trying to save myself from being blind might not have been a a great reason behind it yeah that’s who i mean parenting’s tough you know as it is let alone with an absentee parent or you know someone who’s not helping you or making things worse i mean so much harder what do you think about the take that it really doesn’t matter if the partner is in recovery or out of recovery it’s really all about where you’re at and what are seeking its own level like i in general i believe that i think water does seek its own level and we meet people who are as healthy or unhealthy as we are like that’s what i you know kind of it’s a magnet almost to an extent but i guess for me i’ve always said well yeah but people in recovery can continue to grow and if you’re in recovery and continuing to grow and the person you met outside of recovery stops growing or never had that continue to grow even though everybody grows to some extent you grow away from them but i i don’t know i guess i agree with the idea in theory and yet if you tell people that end up with a sick partner that they must have been just as sick i don’t think people want to hear that like that’s kind of rough that would hurt my feelings no and i always like the water seeks its own level because i only had a few months clean when i met my wife and she had 12 years clean so i always like to look at the optimistic side of that is that i was doing way better than i came in here so much better than most of you people but uh no i i i kind of wanted to ask and i feel like i know the answer to this and i didn’t ask it just for sake of time but it’s like i think that in my relationships i’m and this is personal and otherwise i mean it they say in the literature and i can’t remember the exact saying but it’s like we all grow at different rates and different paths of recovery and like you said we outgrow friends or sponsors or you know whatever just through sheer staying clean in the work that we do and the commitment to the recovery process but you know in relationships in my marriage like i find it’s going way better when i’m taking care of myself and focused on my recovery and i’ve actively engaged in you know steps and meetings and connection with a sponsor and and those things you know service work like when i’m at my best version of myself i am so much better in my marriage even at compromise or looking at the other person’s point of view or being open-minded right and so i wondered how that would affected stacy in her partner choices like did she have these ebbs and flows in her recovery and if was it like could you see a correlation of like well you found this new guy who’s healthy was that because you’ve been working on yourself more recently and and gotten better at that i just i think it was incredible i i loved her honesty that it’s taken so long to be okay with herself and that’s like why she was reaching out and what she was looking for in a lot of these relationships and at the same time i for me i think that’s true too like that was definitely a big part of my relationship seeking or sex seeking it was about validation it was about not liking myself and so i just think it takes an extremely like i thought we were i was going to get through the 12 steps and i’d be fixed or i would get a couple years and be fixed and that portion that really deep-seated portion of not total self-acceptance or self-love i just think that is such a lifelong process and happens so slowly i’m like god i i can’t get a healthy relationship by 10 years clean like come on like i don’t know i i mean but i definitely appreciated her honesty about it and that that’s just a long long process yeah it’s amazing but yeah that about wraps it up today so like rate subscribe all that great stuff share with us your experiences we we’d love to hear more about what you guys think about relationships feel free to reach out with us however you do on social media and if you think this podcast will help anybody you know or they’d appreciate the topics and appreciate staying in a spiritual mind frame during the week go ahead and share it with them and and tell them we exist and we’ll see you all next week if you enjoyed this podcast please feel free to share it with people you think might benefit from the conversation look us up on facebook twitter and instagram to join the conversation also and share your ideas with us we’d love to hear it


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