144: Married and Recovering (Sort Of)


We attempt to tackle the topic of marriage in recovery. Joining us as guests are Jenn and Kim. Jenn is married to Billy and Kim is married to Jason. Jenn is in recovery with Billy, while Kim is not a member of the recovery community. Together, we explore what makes a marriage work whether both members are in recovery or only one member. Are there rules around recovery marriages, such as keeping your recoveries separate, or having different homegroups? Or is that all a myth? Listen in and share your thoughts about marriage in recovery with us.

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Email: RecoverySortOf@gmail.com

Episodes mentioned:

Big Book episode

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Transcript:

recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery 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 attitudes expressed 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 am jason a guy that is at least currently married and i’m billy i’m a person in long-term recovery and we have jen today hey everybody jen is a wife in recovery and we have kim hi not gonna hear that you’re gonna have to be louder

so the topic is as presented to us by someone through spotify marriage in recovery and you know when they presented this topic they said specifically where both people are recovering in the same space we thought it would be interesting to hear slightly opposing views or challenges or maybe similarities and challenges of someone who is in recovery in marriage and someone who is not a recovering person i hate to say addict anymore um so uh just for clarification purposes jen is in recovery and is billy’s wife and kim is not in recovery and is my wife so we have you ladies on the show welcome thank you thanks for having me i’ve been saving this joke is this our two wives episode of recovery sort of wives that’s actually pretty good and if you want to make fun of the aaa big book and their two wives section feel free to check out that episode where we trash the big book um so i don’t i don’t know exactly where we’re going with this maybe we can start with uh since we have ladies on here and we talk all the time we can start with the ladies voices of like the challenges of you know for gen for you of being in recovery and trying to navigate that space of you know you always hear those keep your recovery separate and work on your own program and all that fun stuff which is [ __ ] somewhat um and then you know maybe kim you can add in with what it’s like to be introduced to the recovering from addiction world uh because i don’t think that is anything you were familiar with when i met you uh so take it away i think i want to hear from you first just to hear about what normal people like normal put them normals i’ve been married to her for a while i will do more like you said you were my introduction to the world of recovery like when i met you you were like oh i go to these meetings and i was like okay and you’re like yeah they helped keep me i forget what word you use now but it was like normal or like some you like you know along the lines yeah it was like they’re they’re for my health and i was like okay and then that was like how i got introduced to na and i think i went to your two-year anniversary was like the first one so when i met you you carly had like 18 months clean at that point i stayed out of relationships for a year people no i didn’t when i met you like five months prior to that you were in a relationship did it seem like a weird cult when you went the first time or was it just that’s a good question whatever i definitely felt like an outsider like i didn’t know the expectations i didn’t know like anything about it so i was like fascinated were they speaking like spanish to you no i could kind of like different languages like i was like okay and then i was like what does that mean and then it’s like i would hear it a couple of times and i could use context clues to figure it out pretty quickly but it definitely was weird i feel like i should have been way more interested and answered these questions at some point and i look bad now have you were you ever in a serious relationship before jason yes they weren’t that serious and they weren’t they weren’t people with addiction she was patient no they all needed it probably well see i think it’s fascinating to addicts because most addict people it seems like everyone in your world is affected by addiction so to hear like someone who hasn’t life hasn’t been affected by addiction in one way or another is like wow that seems like the rare unicorn that you don’t ever get to talk to like i mean i’ve heard like i heard of it like my dad um had a degree like and he was like an addictions counselor it was like his but he didn’t do that like that wasn’t his job but that was like what his background was and then like i knew some of his friends like would go to like aaa meetings and they would struggle with like staying in and out but they weren’t like people that i interacted like with me right so it was kind of like you know the people i knew over there so addiction is not in your family other than jason like not openly discussed or actively in meetings or anything what attracted you to jason no if you have an ego like mine you find ways to imagine everyone in her family as some form of addict i’m like oh you just don’t know it’s all the behaviors and the underlying stuff is there just not the use yeah i mean i don’t know what you know what challenges do you feel like you would not have met in a relationship or marriage with somebody who normal quote unquote and earthling right like that you have encountered with me um that you feel like you can blame on you know that part of me i think like the obsessive compulsive part like because it was kind of like you know like i’m a fairly supportive person so it’s like you know when i met you it was like okay i have these meetings okay that’s great but then it was like you know different things would show up and that would be like your obsession and compulsion for like six months so it was like hard to like balance that and then your meetings and then our life because it was like you know like what oh volleyball was at one at one point shockwave when you did that just some different things you were involved in became like front and center and then meetings and then whatever else you had going on and then the family

that’s interesting yeah there’s obsessions that come up how many how often was he going to meetings when you met him like how frequently here i don’t really remember because he was like um was it halfway house you were at oh yeah i was uh i was still technically in prison yeah so when i met him so it was like you know there was like holes and he would go and stuff like that but then once he was released i think he went pretty regularly but i mean it wasn’t like he was at meetings all the time and that created any issues i think during that time period so i had i had come around i had gotten clean i was in meetings like seven days a week and then i had ended up relapsing after about 18 months and then i ended up back in prison and so i was on my way working myself out of prison but was still state property at that point and i was in a halfway house and working at bob evans which is where i met kim um so i really like didn’t have a strong program going on like when i first got out i went back to my neighborhood hampden and i hit some meetings but then her and i ended up moving to parkville and like my meeting attendance almost disappeared but you were also going to class like three nights a week you were and then saturdays like you had like there was a bunch of other stuff that got in the way too it wasn’t just yeah i put a lot of things for my recoveries

i don’t know i took i had to take pain medication for my shoulder surgery and that i feel like there was some suspect issues oh my god that was awful like he made me hide them and then he would tell me he thought he knew where i would hid them so i needed to move them and then friday he ran out at like three o’clock and made me call the doctor because he didn’t want to because he wanted a refill and i was like it’s friday they’re closed they’re not going to get it and he was like you better find me some and i was like yeah you better suck it up wow it was rough i didn’t want to come off what do you guys uh attribute your long-standing relationship to [  ] stupidity i wasn’t going to stay that’s questionable i don’t know wow how long have you guys been together we just celebrated uh last thursday 15 years of marriage marriage so you guys were together yeah we had a couple years before that so like 17 years so what do you guys attribute that being together what has kept you guys together i’m [  ] amazing jen no i’m just kidding i’m so humble um a lot of commitment if anything i guess we we’ve both been committed to the idea of continuing to try and try again and and work on ourselves i think uh even now like we still right now we we had gotten a family therapist to kind of help with our daughter and like really who goes now is me and kim and we kind of do marriage counseling with her pretty regularly because it’s just like we want to have the best relationship we can have that’s possible um doesn’t fix everything but i i think there’s a lot of trust that we both want to be here and so that helps but there’s that’s now like jesus christ the whole time we’ve been together there’s a lot of [  ] mess so during that time you had sponsors programs people to lean on what about you did you have a program or people or support group or therapist how did you get through um early like early in our relationship um i didn’t really notice um but had a tendency to alienate and isolate because you know he had stuff but i had to take care of stuff at home and um he didn’t always have the best attitude about things um that i was interested in yeah um so i tended to alienate a lot of people early on um and then at one point i remember feeling like i was crazy um like nothing i could do was right like basically i breathed his oxygen and that was wrong um so i ended up finding a counselor that was fantastic and then um i started going to like narnage meetings and stuff so that was um super helpful because then that built kind of like a network of my own but that meeting ended up holding and people like so i don’t talk to i talk to one girl but i don’t talk to anybody anymore if you’ve never thought of therapy as being a useful endeavor what i will tell you right now is uh hearing you describe that portion of our marriage reminds me of my [  ] childhood home and living with my father where nothing could be right right so like the ways our childhoods unconsciously and subconsciously impact the relationships we form and the ways we act in them is incredible and if we’re living in a way that we don’t have awareness that that is going on we just tend to think everybody around us is [  ] wrong and crazy and they need to get their [  ] together so that our life can be happy um and you know i was sitting here thinking i’m like god this episode is going to make me look bad right but really the truth is this episode is going to show what a healthy recovery can help somebody change in their life man because it is pretty drastic from where i was in my life to to who i am today and that’s a product of you know recovery of 12 steps of people who loved and cared about me of therapy of all kinds of different things that have been useful so wow yeah maybe work on becoming aware of your stuff in your life because it’s useful so they often say that in any relationship one person is the flower and the other person is the gardener what would you say in your relationship who’s the flower and who’s the gardener who’s blooming in this relationship and who’s the one taking care of making sure that that is still happening yeah that’s an interesting way to look at it i would say long term i probably was the gardener i make a good flower

i was thinking of you being the flower and me being like the really [  ] terrible gardener just stepped over the [  ] plants by accident oh [ __ ] i matched them again i better replant them that’s what i that’s what came to mind with that analogy i don’t know let’s talk about billy and jenny let’s hear some of their struggles i think in in a relationship with and i’m not gonna generalize our experience just talk about us but we’re both uh obsessive compulsive people naturally self-centered and that does not make a good relationship

so both of us being addicts and then being in recovery um i think that’s mandatory it’s been mandatory uh for us to be in recovery in order to have a relationship and then practice in recovery to the best of our abilities the only thing that has been able to get us through the storms of of life together i dated a girl who had a decent amount of clean time not 10 years like you know you had a bunch when you met billy um or when you guys decided to be in a relationship but i i this girl had like a couple but she was kind of like the i hate to say the it person around my area but like everybody knew who she was people respected a recovery they wanted her to speak places and i was you know fresh into this n a stuff still understanding what the hell y’all were talking about and we had gotten together and i spent a lot of time feeling like i couldn’t argue with her or like my opinion wasn’t as valid even though i felt strongly about it but i was like well she’s got all that time i can’t like maybe she knows [ __ ] i don’t and did you ever experience that i don’t feel like you’ve expressed that you did um was my ego not big enough billy yeah i don’t so i never felt like that with her like really yeah i don’t think do you yeah i think there was a time when i felt like you were in my shadow you know when it came to na everybody knew me well i did in the meeting since but that was kind of okay because i didn’t want a lot of personal attention anyway like i didn’t want to be a speaker i was too self-conscious for that stuff so that was fine like she was like the social person that knew everybody and everybody knew her and like i was okay with that probably when i got three to five years i started to resent it but that’s because i figured i had arrived by then but i just want to sing barbra streisand now it must have been hot there in my shadow

uh yeah nobody listens to this is old enough you know what [ __ ] i’m talking about that’s okay um what went on for you with the whole i mean you know 12 steps where like you don’t pray on the newcomers you don’t 13 step you know give people a chance space to recover and all that how did that affect you any did you feel like guilt about that or and just for people that don’t know i think you had 11 years when we got together yeah we met before that yeah we had met before that how much time i did five years no like three two or three and then he came back he was around for a while and he left and i stayed and then he came back around and then when he came back and i was like oh yeah that dude oh yeah but yeah so he only had three months when we got together oh something like that yeah so yeah just a couple but we were hanging out the whole time you know he had worked three steps he had a sponsor he had a home group he had all that stuff going on for him before we ever hooked up so it wasn’t like some some dude sitting alone in the corner just waiting you know for somebody’s going to take them away from all this because i i see those guys you know they got these moon eyes and they’re like please make my life right and um it’s like no thanks um but really had a lot of stuff going on for me is very committed to his program way beyond me um but there was an understanding with myself and my sponsor that if i was going to go down this path that i had to treat him with the utmost respect and make sure my motives were good because you could kill somebody you know and that if this relationship wasn’t going to go well it wasn’t going to be because i was a shitty person it was like i knew going in that it would only end uh when he said it was over and he hasn’t said it’s been over for 22 years

i wasn’t sure how long forever was going to be when i said that god did so that’s that’s interesting i guess and i don’t know i mean you were clean during a time when i was not so i don’t know what it was then right but during my time in recovery like people get in three months and then disappear and happens all the [ __ ] time i mean god i’ve seen so many people that can get three months or six months or a year was it the same for you were you like i mean were you counting on him staying how can you have the feeling of like hey this could be something real when like you’ve seen so many people walk out the door and never come back or because i didn’t have a vision and i don’t know if you guys had a shared vision of where it was going and where you were going to be in a vision of where you’re working towards but it is really just for today you know um we’re here today we’re doing the right things today and it’s been 22 years you know later so it’s shocking we just had our anniversary i can’t believe we’ve been together this long you know because it’s been ups and downs it’s not the i thought after people were together for this long it was like bore fest you know it’s gonna be like oh you just wake up and there he is okay but it hasn’t been that way it’s been a lot of fighting and loving loving large and fighting hard and crying and um you know torture at times and really great stuff i never thought i’d ever experience or be worthy of having a family and having kids that are healthy and like who i never thought that could happen for me man and see i always uh and this is probably a terrible uh thing to say for myself but i always i look at some of my more not healthy behaviors and i’m like oh yeah i’m a good addict in that sense right i’m like i’ll refer to myself like that and i’m like oh jen you must not have been a good addict like i shared with kim my vision of our retirement on our first date she bought into that you better deliver a good obsessive person i am like i was all in for moment one yeah i tried to get billy to just give me a goal can we just share a goal and he’s like dude no i don’t have any goals i don’t know

what we’re doing and then if he doesn’t say it then i make it up i just like well this sounds good let’s head this way but you had it from this jump you knew what you wanted to do he introduced me to his parents as the woman he was gonna marry i was like um news to me okay that’s so sweet i’m obsessive yeah sweet it’s it’s it’s sweet normal people are like disturbing i’m like oh that’s so charming you kind of like push away like i was like yeah okay yeah i’ll see you in like two weeks i don’t i think we need to break a little creepy that’s normal people that’s healthy right come on strong like a stalker you know and they’re like oh let’s just you know i was like slow down take some distance but addicts are like yes you and me together forever

i remember one time i was gonna go away like for a bachelorette party like a weekend or whatever and he like picked a fight with me like when it was time to go and i was like yeah i’m leaving and he was like what do you mean you’re leaving and i was like you can be pissed off and on sunday at six o’clock when i get home we can pick this back up or you can get over it and i’ll see you sunday either way i’m walking out the door and he was like no that’s not how this was supposed to go you’re supposed to stay and i was like no bye and i like left and he was like so shocked because he was like no you’re supposed to stay and fight and make up with me and i’m like yeah on sunday when i get back we can do that so that’s what’s up right there it’s a magic

thing wow i know i’ve offered her money to go on more of them now like go away for the weekend you’re good please so uh you know we i hear the stories of like oh this person went to too many meetings and it took away from their relationship with maybe a person who’s not in recovery which i don’t necessarily think we ever ran into that but more because probably my lack of involvement at times but for you guys like i feel like that’s not a challenge and yet it’s a different challenge like it’s not are we hitting too many meetings it’s more like well now we have a kid how can we still both get to meetings and how can we still both have time for our separate recoveries how how’s that worked out yeah well early on we had the same home group for a while right yeah before we had kids but there was a time when i was like speaking all the time and going out with spontees all the time really like come on and then i had to learn how to balance um that that definitely happened um but we i believe that that staying out of each other’s recovery i don’t know if that applies to everybody i think that if you’re two people in recovery and you don’t support each other in your recovery process you can be almost like strangers you know it’s like my my best friend my i want you know my confidant my supporter he helps me look at different things i mean particularly early on but we did have like some major struggles uh particularly and i know you’ve shared this on the podcast and everything um but billy was like god focused and like before we got married we met with our preacher man who i loved pastor lines he was in ohio um but he made us write down like what do you need from a partner no matter who it is and you know for me some of those things you have to be a positive person because i’m quite negative and um you have to believe in god because this life is hard enough without somebody who believes in god along your side you know i can’t talk people into that [  ] either got to be there or not with me and then um i can’t remember what some of the other things were but billy was totally committed to family yeah committed to family kids he’s all those things up until our children were molested by my stepfather who was a priest and at that time is when he you know we talk about that four-legged table right of recovery one being your sponsor one being god one being your step work and one being the fellowship and if you have them all under you you’re gonna be strong well his god left leg definitely kicked out and um that was a big traumatic time for him and his recovery and that just it was a traumatic time for me and my personal life but i couldn’t really lean on him because he was so [  ] up you know that i don’t think the god leg has completely come back for billy in the same way but at that time it was um that was a big time challenge what does keeping your recoveries somewhat separate look like so that’s always the suggestion but i feel like you kind of just said slightly contrary to that like no like that’s not really i think they’re talking about like keeping like don’t take each other’s inventory or also focus on each other’s inventory yeah we do all that stuff i mean she’s one of my biggest sources for talking about step work or i mean obviously i don’t necessarily share my fifth step you know with her but we talk about most things going on in life i don’t i mean i don’t know all my history but all my current life she knows everything about you have to be in order to have intimacy you have to have vulnerability in order to have vulnerability he has to practice honesty and uh there’s no other way around it man that’s what i’ve learned here anyway but there was something that i was gonna say about uh like billy did the step a year stuff i was like what the [  ] are you doing dude how are you even alive i’m doing a step a year what the [  ] and he would not let me pressure him into like moving it faster um i did the first three really fast yeah and then he was just like he said he got a girlfriend and yeah we had a house and we had kids and a job and yeah no time for that [  ] now got what i needed see i feel like that’s where i’ve struggled with a partner not in recovery i’m like well i can take your inventory i’m good at that right i know but i don’t trust you’re taking my inventory because you don’t even have a [  ] program like you don’t know what you’re talking about right like i i belittle the information because i you know instead of just being able to accept like this is what someone’s experiencing it was easier for me to say well i’m sorry that’s your experience but that’s not really what’s happening you’re just you need to guys

there’s a lot of that because you have all the language of all the feelings as a result of the steps and earth people my experience they just practice that stuff they’re just naturally that way they don’t even know that there’s a word for that you know there’s that way and addicts we’re like no we have to look at like respect and get the definition and then practice it in these situations in areas where we notice that we’re being disrespectful or like acceptance we have to get the definition and then apply it and earth people are just like what are you talking about right we’re getting ready to have a side argument about how respect doesn’t actually exist okay i’m down you know i’m ready jason totally made up all right um no we don’t have to go that way so one of the things um you know we have this concept of staying out of relationships for a year which i don’t know that any of us necessarily believe is the thing i get some of the ideas behind it like it’s a dangerous time in your recovery i heard it came from treatment that’s where i heard it might have been i mean relationships can produce a lot of strong feelings right a lot of strong emotional reactions that we might not be in a state that we’re ready to handle early in recovery i kind of get some of that idea but i don’t know that it’s actually a useful practice but one of the things that has come up in conversing about whether it is a useful practice or a useful statement is the idea that maybe staying out of relationships until we finish a seventh step per se right like get an idea of who we truly are first

well he’d have done them in seven months if you wouldn’t have gotten there but no just thinking about this idea of like how can i know what i want in a partner if i don’t even know who i am yet and how do i know what i’m bringing to the table in a partnership if i don’t know who i am in yet so this is who you are right now jason i don’t know who i am right now i’m constantly changing i can tell you what my values are today and who i am today but that will change i think that whole stay out of relationships for a year sets people up to lie to their sponsors to have shame um doesn’t give them the tools that they need to survive because we all are human beings and sex is a part of that i mean have you ever talked to people i know i have that have taken that year relationship thing and it’s like 20 years later and they’re like i’ve done it so long that it’s been this long i’m so awesome i was like no dude you’re like socially you know um or they’ve taken that and said oh i’ve ever talked to people and i have where they’re like i haven’t been in a relationships for a year but i’ll go buy sex on the corner because i’m still in that’s not really a relationship i can go purchase sex i was like isn’t that a little more twisted than just having an honest relationship with someone the best your ability or the whole thing about um if i’m just honest with a person that means we’re gonna have sex together i’m not going to have any feelings for you and you’re not going to have any feelings for me so we can kind of stay in this year thing but isn’t that socially i don’t know um i can’t use that word oh yeah i’m using it i got it

then i can say that um because that has been me where i’m like the whole cart in front of the horse thing in relationships where sex comes first you know that’s how most of us live out there it’s like relationships happen if the sex was good if you know i still liked you the next day then maybe we would you know have a relationship so it’s like that whole year thing i don’t know where it really came from i know it’s not in our literature but i’m a sexual harm reductionist and that means to me give people the tools and talk about it talk about you know we can’t get good at something unless we practice it you know and for practicing it with principles honesty respect you know um humility it’s it can be a part of our and it should be it shouldn’t be something separate or on hold there’s no magic wand for at one year you’re gonna magically know how to be involved in a relationship because you’re magically gonna know yourself it’s like no it takes work and and that work can happen from day one it can happen in the relationships you’re in it can happen in the people you’re attracted to um you know you can do this and you don’t have to hide and be afraid or ashamed there’s a cliche cliche you don’t hear often anymore whenever two people get naked in a bed feelings are caught i used to hear that all the time like there was no feelingless sex that didn’t really exist you bring up a concept in uh some of the s programs like the sex and love addicts anonymous they have these you know they set their own bottom line about what behaviors are not they’re not going to participate in for a certain amount of time and for some people that might be abstinence for that entire span of time right it might not be it’s adjustable but they they do encounter a problem where people say okay i’m gonna stay out of dating and relationships for a year i just need to focus on myself and get healthy and then at the end of that year they become very hesitant to get back into that right there’s like this new fear of what will happen if i open this door again and they they call it sexual anorexics right this idea that like you will now go three and a half years when really your only goal was to go like six months but you just don’t know how to jump back into you know that normal behavior you know so you bring up an interesting idea though so okay so my theory going into this was like okay i want to get a good idea of who i am at least at this point in time in my life right what i can bring to the table when i offer to a relationship and i want to get a good idea of what’s important to me and a partner right like maybe i can tolerate that they’re not the most organized person but if they don’t give a [  ] about people who are struggling i probably won’t like that so much so i need to at least have some ideas about what matters to me and my partner but the way you describe that because we already always are ever growing and changing hopefully relationships are really just a total crap shoot like we’re just [  ] guessing like hey you’re cool today you might not be in five years you might not be in five days aren’t they in high school too i mean when you meet somebody at 17 and then you get married and spend the rest of your life together you don’t know what that person’s gonna be i agree but i guess i just can you imagine i don’t even know what i was gonna say buying a car but that’s not even as long-lasting as a marriage but like can you imagine behind a car and being like might drive over the next week might drive over the next year who the [ __ ] knows right let’s go like i like to have some kind of idea that when i’m getting into a relationship like there’s something there that it’s built on that’s not gonna change too much yeah it requires the cooperation of the whole other person you know i’ve seen and been involved in relationships you can’t it’s particularly in recovery man people use you know you don’t know if they’ll ever come back right and not many do you just don’t know like it’s going to be grateful for if you have something that has been uh long-standing with somebody that you still love and they still love you and you guys still have the same goals and dreams that’s something to be so super grateful for um i’m so glad that you’re experiencing that together

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so i’ve always had this opinion when people come into recovery and they were already dating somebody while they were using and now they come into recovery and attempt to continue with that same individual i’m like that’s never gonna [  ] work right because in my head there’s this idea of like you know the whole birds of a feather flock together or water seeks its own level like you have a a mental health number somewhere between one and ten and your partner is probably somewhere in that vicinity right if you’re a three they might be a two or a four but generally that’s why you have something in common and some relatable space and if you come into recovery and grow and you’re like a seven now and there’s still a two or a four or a three that [  ] is never gonna work right which i ran into in my struggles with a person not in recovery and i don’t even know if this was true but the story i told myself was that i am [  ] growing and becoming a better human and you are not like you don’t have a program to grow so you’re just there and now i’m way healthier than you and i don’t know i guess that that same struggle could exist in two people in recovery like if one person’s not working on themselves as much as the other one or you know they talk about growing apart or growing in different directions like it just seems like a scary idea like i don’t know right now i’m like why the [  ] would anybody ever want to get in a relationship that’s terrifying well i think for us anyway like recovery and the values of recovery are the basis for our marriage and how we raise our kids and how we live our life like that’s the basis for what we do i don’t i guess for normal people i don’t know what relationships are based on i don’t think people change as much as people who are in recovery do i mean all the people that i know that are earth people they stay pretty much the same they don’t go through big overhauls like we do you know we go through overall after overall after overhaul in recovery but like most of the people that i know that are normal they stay pretty on an even keel they don’t really change that much at all unless there’s something drastic that happens to them but like i think of your family my family members are all well my family’s all earth people i mean they stay the same you know graduate from school you get with somebody they’re still married 50 years later they go to college they have jobs they retire they have kids um so i was right you haven’t changed

well that was going to be kind of my question for kim is like do you feel like you’ve grown and changed over your relationship and has that anything to do with like stuff you had to say learned from jason because he loves to teach us lots of things but but anything that like gives me seen through like recovery or has that been stuff you’ve done on your own or do you feel like the same person um yes um like when i met jason i think i saw potential and like so because he’s a he always likes to throw that out that i’m probably like a two on that one to ten he’s like well you’re you are probably a two when i met you and so you’re probably still a two and i’m like you know um but i mean i have changed but it a lot of it is like growing through him like stuff like with him i guess like with um

like you know just different stuff that we’ve been through like learning but i don’t think that i’ve gone through major overhauls like he has um and if i did they’re definitely not as noticeable or as visual visible as his yeah that’s crazy you’ve seen like noticeable things in him like big overhauls oh yeah huh i’m literally sleeping with my mouth tape shut really because i believe that nose breathing is the answer now and i just have to support all this crazy [  ] that comes out of his mouth so every other week when i read a new book i’m like this is the one and i’m like okay jen doesn’t say anything with me she tolerates me and my podcast stuff all the time my gosh and i don’t know how scientific this was but it’s somebody with a degree so maybe there’s some relevance to it but they they observe that people in recovery tend to choose to date a very different type of person when they first enter recovery versus later on in their recovery which i don’t know kind of to me fed into this idea that we we do pick different people we’re into different things right but i guess if both people are growing or changing that doesn’t matter and i guess that happens like you said or neither whether you’re in recovery or not like there’s still challenges that you can choose to like face and grow through or not right that’s always an option it’s not recovery world doesn’t have a a lockdown on you know the only people who grow even though i like to think that for a long time because it was what i was doing but i i guess it is just this idea that like do we end up growing in the same direction or not and maybe that’s where what you talked about with the intimacy and the vulnerability right if if i’m keeping my program separate from my partner and i’m only talking to my network and i’m becoming more like those guys right you’re the average of the five people you’re closest with or whatever that theory like that doesn’t necessarily include becoming more like my partner and maybe we do tend to grow apart whereas if you guys are sort of involved in each other’s network and you are intimate and vulnerable about that you become one of those five people that would you know for each other and you do grow more in the same direction yeah i think that i would have never lasted with billy if i dated him when i had three months clean i mean water seeks its own level i think it took me all those years to get in a position to even you know be you know able to be in a a committed honest relationship i mean i was horrible at all relationships and my sponsor once said jennifer if you’re at the convention and you’re on the dance floor because this is back in the you know late 80s dancing you know when you see the man of your dreams i want you to turn around and run away you will die i was like oh my gosh yeah i mean i had so much relationship hard i i just was not in any position that was like and i heard it explain like i was going through people you know it’s like normandy you know nobody’s on the beach just rolling through people you know and i had to get through all that stuff to even get in a position to appreciate and be able to be a person that would could be in a committed long-term relationship um and billy just had so many qualities coming in the door of n a i mean he was you know he was i don’t it wasn’t you know he’d been to jail and all this stuff but he had some really serious i think it came from the catholic church the beliefs you know that he would live by yeah that shame runs deep and even over this whole relationship time i mean he has held some of those things um i know i keep getting him trying to get him to talk about sex more and he’s like i was hoping we were gonna talk about that today i was like come on bailey let’s talk but i’ve been the crazy one a lot of times in our relationship so even though we’re both in recovery i’m the one that’s like all right you don’t have any goals well then let’s sell the house and let’s go by let’s go get an rv and drive around the country and work at different campgrounds let’s talk about i mean one i just heard her say you’re way healthier than her by the way for you but let’s talk about how hard it is to be the person that thinks they’re the problem in a relationship because that’s a [  ] pain in the ass to have plagued my brain well then i got better and then i realized he was a sick

or something for that but his like courses

i i feel like what you just expressed to me and and maybe this isn’t what your experience is but for me it is very much this like opposite extremes of like i struggle with thinking i am the perfect partner and i got everything right and everyone else is the problem to to flip flopping back to the other side of like god how can i be so horrible it is hard to have a mentality where it’s like hard to just see myself as just a human or just an equal or just a part of this relationship instead of being like either the monster or the angel right and that is a struggle just to be in that space i don’t even know how the hell i can have a relationship with any human at times out a lot with that is a constant application of steps six and seven in my life and a re-evaluation of those steps a new application of who i am now you know um yeah the steps steps through the way i don’t know i still feel like a horrible person some days um what do you think it would have been like for you guys if you had dated or married a partner not in recovery how do you feel like that would differ from the challenges you’ve had having a partner in recovery i totally not go to meetings anymore really i don’t know for sure but that justifies what i’m doing i don’t know about that because i’ve definitely looked at you been like ah you need to go call somebody or go to a meeting or like do something because yeah recently no not recently just curious just checking on myself at different parts in time just getting some feedback there if i was with an earth person i probably would have been committed to a mental institution before now um because without having somebody that understands like the insanity of step two you know um my will versus god’s will um shortcomings meditation amends and you know if i had somebody that didn’t know that stuff um i probably would be feeling like i was sitting alone with some of my you know obsessive compulsive and self-centeredness but just having somebody who understands that and understands the tools like have you talked to your sponsor and uh you know seeing him working on his stuff that this can be similar to mine and seeing him get better and talking to me about how he gets better through the application of those principles i just feel like if i was with an earth person i just can’t imagine them hanging out with me for very long because i would just be like they’d be like whoa you are way too much now or that um at times in my recovery so then and you know could be now that’s interesting and that’s i mean even now like say she’s a big motivator to me of just her connection you know consistency in recovery and you know keeping staying in that process like i’m a i’m a fatty kind of person like fat f.a.d like yeah yeah if you hear the latest and greatest thing and all we got to do this diet and i got to do this exercise you’ve got to take you got to do this thing yeah apparently i got to tape my mouth at night that’s it it’s a new thing and i can get so easily kind of lost you know with the best intentions thinking oh this is what i need to make me better now um so yeah that’s what i think would happen to me if i was with someone not in recovery if they didn’t keep me kind of in check or grounded to be like no you’re self-centered and you need to be over here yeah because addiction is not drugs i mean that’s a symptom you know and then i put them down and then i have me and the way that i think and view people and the world and life and god and all those things that’s the stuff that gets is so sick on its own and just talking about me um that i go back to drugs or i’d go to sex or work or some kind of fix um you know so that is a serious issue to have bring to a relationship it’s like i’m gonna become at times really obsessed with you i’m going to sometimes i’m going to want to [  ] you all the time and then other times i’m going to be like no i want to go you know do something else and but i’m really trying to get out of myself i really need to talk to you about my real self my real feelings i don’t know i’ve never been with an earth person very long to know is that the kind of conversations you guys have i guess the one thing that comes to mind when we’re saying this is that and i don’t know if this was some buying in on my part of just like practicing this this trust in this relationship or in this individual really but somehow along the way i felt like it was safe enough to share the ugliest darkest parts of me and and not feel like it was going to be held against me and that has been a [  ] saving grace so many times really like just to be able to have that person where i can be like look this is what the [  ] is in me right now and not feel like they looked at me the way i look at me because of that i was like whoa that’s pretty powerful so i don’t know if that’s something you did that allowed me to do that or some [  ] god-given thing or universe given ability but that is like save my life probably that’s beautiful that’s the magic of earth people

i do

i know one of the struggles like for me is you kind of touched on it earlier like if i would have told you to like breathe through your mouth or breathe through your nose like whatever it took like you’d been like yeah whatever you don’t know what the [  ] you’re talking about and then like you know billy will tell him and he’ll be like well billy said to try this and so now i gotta try this and i’m like dude i said that last week and you’re like yeah but you don’t know what you’re talking about he does and i’m like so because i wasn’t in that network i never knew what i was talking about no regardless i’m in the network and billy says the same [  ] to me he’s like yeah now it’s good but youtube said okay okay so then it’s just you but i do usually admit when she was like yeah you weren’t right i should have listened to you but he never remembers that the next time it’s always the same thing you don’t know what you’re talking about so i i guess i thought uh the surfacy surface these struggles of a non-recovering person relationship would be the bigger struggles at least it felt like it early on like kim kim drinks not frequently but she does and one of the things i guess i notice is that she enjoys when she does right and it’s like yeah yeah but you usually encourage me to over indulge people get wasted i do it to my sister like now i’m good and he’s like what do you mean you’ve only had one and i’m like i’m good i’m driving tonight have a few more yes i’ve actually changed on that it’s awful to be around people i don’t know i don’t want it at all i ever indulged when they needed to actually take care of me and that was yeah after that he’s like you know i think you’ve had enough and i’m like good i don’t want it i don’t want to be the gardener anymore [  ] your flower um no but yeah so i had that like we hung out we met at bob evans we had co-workers we went out to bars and stuff and i guess i had like two years or something around that and most of the time it felt fine but there was like that one occasion where i remember or it was like i just wasn’t in a good mood and we were there and i’m like everybody else seems happy i want to be [  ] happy i should drink too right and i don’t know that i mean obviously i’m probably not at a bar if i’m with a recovering person but then even like on our honeymoon we went to an all-inclusive resort and that’s what everything is is drinking right there’s a beach bar there’s a swim up pool bar there’s a [ __ ] kayak up bar whatever like you can get a bar anywhere and i’m like there was a point in my honeymoon where i was like she was getting ready thank god for women taking forever to get ready by the way because she was getting ready uh for us to go to dinner and i was like i’m drinking tonight this is dumb i’m here i’m just doing it and then you know i had talked myself out of it by the 45 minutes later it took her to get ready but yeah i don’t know that those thoughts happen as much like i can’t imagine being on a honeymoon with somebody in recovery and thinking i’m just gonna tell them when they come out of the shower that i’m gonna have a drink like i’m probably like i’m not saying that to them yeah but is there more of a danger if one of those people uses and trying to get the other person to use with them too like that’s a whole nother thing like if i were to use you know what i tell her

when we’re old can we get drunk when we’re at the senior center together i don’t want to get drunk i may or may not depending on if i got scammed have a silas ivan chocolate bars on the way to my house so shut up we talked about i said i can’t be the person to like watch you when you have a babysitter i don’t know what i’m looking for i would sure be in there with you that’s what i said i was like i still know what i’m looking at and i would be wanting

i don’t know if i feel comfortable enough with any of my co-workers i don’t know i think you need to sign up for that johns hopkins uh i tried that they they didn’t accept you maybe you should go to um washington state don’t they do that there i don’t know a lot more frequently yeah but i think if we’re on an earth person that used and they were i would think that i wouldn’t be too serious about them you know what i mean like i couldn’t be you know like yeah we’ll have fun right now but you gotta go later if i’m gonna stay alive and they don’t understand that this is my disease i have to take responsibility for it they can’t they can’t prevent me from getting high but i can’t be around people who consistently use you know like i will change my mind about i’ll do the same thing i’ll be like yeah it’ll be okay we have probably had alcohol in our house most of the time we’ve been together i mean there’s like five bottles of wine sitting on our counter now that don’t tempt me they just annoy the piss out of me because they block my yeah i can’t get to the microwave the way i’d like to uh but i find it fascinating because i know who i have been in my life and to be a guy who like never even thinks about that in that aspect it’s not like oh there’s wine should i drink that when i don’t feel good i’m like oh i don’t feel good maybe i want a marshmallow doughnut i don’t ever think about the alcohol until it gets in my [ __ ] way and it’s annoying that it’s sitting there but that you don’t know what day you will and that’s my philosophy it’s just for me is i don’t know what day i will you know and if it’s right there chances that’s just one extra step i don’t have to and for me like alcohol doesn’t yeah do it for me you know what i mean like it’s not i’m not like oh yeah go get drunk like that doesn’t sound funny but it was like like if i was around smelling weed all the time i mean i’m outside i smell it at the neighbors i’m like where is that coming from i gotta know who’s got the good weed like you know so that would be a lot harder i do think it’s interesting you brought up the challenge of if one person in recovery wants to use does that endanger the couple of both using i mean the girl i was saying that i felt like i was uh not as good as uh she did end up on pain medicine for something or other and then we used together because she asked me if i wanted to and uh yeah i guess that is a an issue when you’re both in recovery like will i go because i think for me and i don’t know if this is universal i was probably not just gonna go get high on my own but if there was a partner in crime that didn’t feel so bad like that felt okay well probably for the first i’d say five years of our marriage i pretty much thought oh if she ever used i would leave i would have to leave like i don’t that would just i don’t think i could stay clean or you know be a good partner to somebody like that like now it’s different because we’ve been together so long i don’t know what i would do but hopefully you would leave something like trying to get me i really said that like if he ever used i would leave like if they stay using sponsors yeah but it’s but see we’re so slick we’re like we’re good first it starts off as you know i really don’t need those meetings right i don’t need them at all in fact i have this and this instead and it’s like yeah i’m not doing i’m not only meet with a sponsor because i’m good i’m past that and now i don’t need i’m not involved with service and then that that becomes the norm it’s just telling my story yes shut up and then then it’s like i can socially use i can use a mushroom bar

to be okay and it’s going to be totally fine and it’s [  ] scary as well and that’s what’s scary about it because he’s very good at manipulating me and knows what to say so he would probably empty the bank accounts before i figured it out and he’s very good at manipulating his own self yes you know what i mean and then he’s neat putting you and i’ve seen it so many times dude and around now for what this next month will be 33 years um but you know i’ve also seen people who use uh that don’t go off the deep end um that doesn’t happen as often you know but for me it’s just like i know where i came from and i l there’s so much i love about my life and billy’s one of them that i’m not [  ] playing man um you know what i mean i have so much to stay on the path for i have so much to lose that me trying to tell myself that somehow i i’ve got the angle now is just terrifying um and that’s what he can call me out on if i’m not going to mean that people can’t call me out on that stuff it’s just me and i mean i’ll start calling out

or like foreign was the last time you talked to your sponsor when was the last time this and he’ll be like don’t worry about it you’re not in recovery that’s not for you

so jason you thought this was a podcast but it’s really an intervention yeah right i’m i’m assuming you’re talking about that from previous times yeah so and it’s interesting look i i do not hold the monopoly on knowing everything i guarantee that um the more i learn the less i feel like i truly know which is i think is a beautiful part of recovery um and and maybe five months a year five years from now i come back to this table and say damn man jen had its spot on all them people that said that were totally right but it really at this moment feels so much different and i i try to evaluate is this like a self lie i feel like i’m going about it in the way that feels responsible for me i’m including people in my decision making process and in letting them know exactly where i’m at i frequently ask people for like reflection of me hey keep your eyes on me because i stopped taking my antidepressant i want to make sure i don’t do anything [  ] loony like if you see something please i’m inviting you to say something to me and these are people that i’m around you know a lot of days of the week and it’s it’s more born out of a place of really feeling like i’m tired of the [  ] merry-go-round i’m on you know i become very internally nervous system survival state just like my childhood reactionary to my life my kids do some [  ] that is what kids do i want to [  ] scream at them and you know punch them in the face and have trouble regulating that so i’m like i need an antidepressant and so i get on an antidepressant and it solves that and then six months in i’m like i can’t [  ] feel i can’t cry i can’t connect to people anymore and now i gotta get off of this [  ] and then it’s like this [  ] and this is a cycle i’ve been on for 12 years and i’m [  ] tired of the cycle like i know i’m tired of does it work yes it has kept me okay but i’m tired of going back to these same solutions that i already know where they go and it’s like i’m trying to trust in this this new research and these new understandings and and to go about it as safely as i can and and i hope i’m not wrong i do not want to throw my life away right but i also don’t want to keep living a half-life i hear you and you know it’s it wouldn’t be me to not challenge right i’ll get you but i appreciate what you’re saying though that um you know desperate times call for desperate solutions you know and i think it’s good that we continue to look for things that are going to make our lives better you know i think some of the things that come for me at least like i am terrified of the actual experience like i’m hoping for the results i’m really not looking forward to going through with the actual experience i i which seems [  ] ridiculous to say but i’m not i’m scared of it i’m like i’m so used to being me and me and my body that i don’t know what the [  ] i’m gonna feel like when i’m not that terrifies me awesome you should take billy cause billy needs that [ __ ] too he needs to get like separation from his body

another thing that weighs on my mind and we are way off the marriage topic for a minute but like in dealing with some of the people i work with and seeing that medicine is not working for them either and it’s like how the [ __ ] can i help you and it’s so hard to sit here and not be able to have something of use to offer you well i’ve never done a ton of research but what little i know about ssris and antidepressants is not good you know none of it’s very good so so to bring us back to marriage uh and away from other things like this is interesting because it’s definitely not where i thought we were gonna go i thought we were gonna talk about the little particulars of like this kind of stuff happens when you’re both in recovery and this kind of stuff happens when you’re you know one partner is not in recovery or this is these are like here’s the rule list of ten commandments of recovery relationships and this is what you gotta do you focus on your own recovery and you let them do them and you have separate home groups and and it wasn’t none of that basically like the one thing that was said that i thought was really i don’t know about useful there’s a lot of useful stuff but that piece of like it’s just about being intimate and vulnerable and and hoping for the best and never knowing but being open to this will work or it won’t work and it works today and that’s awesome and let’s keep trying like that’s what i heard yeah i’m just glad i found somebody that we were on a similar path or on a similar path and that sort of always gives us a direction and a focus to kind of come back to because like say i do tend to get off all the time i do tend to go in different directions and think you know different things and having a foundation of what morals and values and ethics we’re living our life by and running our marriage by is really really helpful i feel like my big question now is did you happen to meet somebody where you two were kind of on a similar life trajectory or is it because of what you’ve done in relation to each other that you’ve managed to stay on that similar life trajectory that’s my question

you know he’d have shared values right isn’t that what it’s really about no matter what pathway in recovery our recovery maybe it’s just you have shared values like billy and i both have strong family values and loyalty and honesty um commitment you know commitment is huge he is like above and beyond commitment so it’s like he takes these spiritual principle values and like but they’re all the good ones so i’m just like yeah this dude is you know awesome i could learn a lot you know from him and and he has helped me to stick by those values in my weak times you know um and if he wasn’t so strong on them i don’t think we would have made it through you know so it sounds like you guys have a lot of those same shared values though you might not put them in the same context like the same wording that we use but it sounds like it’s the same well it’s i mean i don’t know how much it makes a difference like i grew up in a household not necessarily the healthiest household but like my parents loved each other and had a lot of those shared values so i saw a lot of that growing up you know there wasn’t like abuse in my home or neglect my parents loved each other were committed to each other you know my dad was pretty much home every night still question yeah do we have shared values i think so do we think so i feel like all the things question my values or you want to know how deep they go all the time just to try to show how they’re different than yours but well jen just lifted off a bunch of these shared values that she believes they have and they’re all these spiritual principles that most of them are things we’ve done an episode on so far and all of them i’ve been like i don’t even know if i really think this is real every time we do a spiritual principle i’m like one i’m not sure this is actually a real thing right and two if it is i don’t think the goal is to do it all the time i think there’s this nice middle path of like this is how much honest you’re supposed to be in your life so it was just fascinating to hear that and i’m like well what values do we share because i feel like the only value i share with anything is i just want to question everything the only thing i find important i think this is the stage you’re going through is it oh yeah is it a stage i think it’s more like i think maybe you’re just more comfortable being vocal about questioning everything instead of like thinking you’re weird to question it oh self-acceptance i think it’s too much school i definitely think you guys have shared family values i don’t think it’s too much school i have more school than he does and i still don’t do all that well that’s because you’re a normal person you’re not an addict you don’t overthink things he gets frustrated with that that i don’t overthink things like he’ll be like what do you mean and i’m like i’ll say whatever it is and he’s like yeah but i’m like okay and he’s like like because he gets frustrated because i don’t delve into that same level of self-centeredness having to break it down to every little yeah that’s self-centeredness and it’s just it’s not a choice it’s just the way we are you know and earth people are not like that i don’t know i don’t know self-centered is different than selfish yeah but i i still i don’t it’s analyzing horizon figuring it out well what if it like this and what happens with that and i gotta figure it out for me are you self-centered probably i kind of think everybody is and that’s what i was going to say i think everybody to a degree is because that’s kind of like what self-preservation is is you’re still worried about how often do people wake up and think i want to be the supporting actor today in somebody else’s life every day with you

but isn’t that that to me that’s kind of the goal like that’s what i think at least even looking into like nervous yeah well just being connected to a community and a part of something bigger than just me being here doing what i want to do i agree but i think that actually happens because of self-centeredness i think we we go on and go on and go on and we try these things of service and we start to learn that they feel good for us like i don’t go feed the homeless because it’s good for them i pretend that’s why but the truth is i feel [  ] good about it afterwards it’s the only reason i continue to do it like we oppo we operate on biological internal reward systems yeah it feels good to be part of a community self-centeredness is something different that’s like altruism or whatever isn’t it like well i do good things because good things come back to me well and this is the idea of you know how selfishness is different i argue that everyone is selfish because we only do what feels good for us period and if that happens to look to the world like oh you do great things for other people that’s wonderful but it’s only truly because of how it makes you feel well selfishness is different than self-serving self-centeredness is the state of my thinking but um i am selfish where i would rather stay home and watch netflix than feed the poor you know um but it’s knowing that i could if i have my way i’ll be doing netflix every day with childhood covered strawberries and really you know every day all the time and um then i get a feeling of worthless when i get what i want there’s a sense of worthlessness in it it’s like i’m feeling this hole so what i’ve learned through the steps is that service is actually fills that hole with um a feeling that is bigger than what i was looking for in the first place that’s the paradox of the program right um which so that’s why i do it but it doesn’t come to me naturally well see i agree with that but i don’t think it’s any less selfish i think you just raised awareness about the after effect of what you usually do to meet your needs in the moment and now the service raised your awareness about the after effects of doing this thing that doesn’t necessarily feel good right this second but feels great later it’s still i’m still searching for that selfish fulfillment piece it’s not really about being a part of the community i’ll just say his last piece it doesn’t matter what you think or feel it’s what you do doesn’t matter what you think or feel doesn’t matter you know when they talk about you were born here and you died here and there’s that dash it didn’t nobody’s gonna give a [  ] what you thought and felt didn’t [  ] matter what did you do were you a good man were you a good man to your wife were you giving were you honest or were you just like sitting there thinking about it so so i spent my life thinking about it and then i did nothing where i just served myself but here’s the counter argument to that uh sentiment which i have heard from people in our programs and i don’t totally disagree with it but i think the counter argument would be what you do is what you’ll be judged by other people for yeah they’ll judge you by what you did during that dash but how i like what good does it do to be this great moral upstanding guy who lived his whole life thinking about others out of some catholic guilt or shame right people might judge me well for that but if i was [  ] miserable my whole life then that was a poorly lived life in my mind so it’s a whole lot about what i think can feel chess piece on that check it is that you know have you ever said i said sit to my family i love you you know and i wanted them to judge me by my intentions even though i stole from them i’m like i love you um but you know none of my actions portrayed that what i found out when love is in word indeed no matter what i think or feel what i get back is love so it’s that whole thing of what i do what i do no matter what i think or feel it’s what i do that brings me the results i’m a good mother not because i love my kids it’s because you can see my love and and it doesn’t matter if i do any whatever i feel but if you can see it because i’m spending time with them i’m honest with them then that’s what they receive they receive a good mom too often we addicts ask people to judge us by our intentions you know i loved you right even though i didn’t show up for you and i didn’t tell you the truth but you know i loved you right and expect that kind of result and be so disappointed when we don’t get the results of those intentions so recovery has taught me that it’s only in what i say and what i do that makes my life and that is who i am not who i think i am but who i am is what i say and what i do and that’s what really affects the world and the people that i love in it and and i don’t disagree with that i just i guess i work with people and i i think of my mom right the person who will go out of fear to buy and send someone a birthday card right because the fear is i’ll feel guilty if i don’t as opposed to being able to live in a place that’s free and act from love like either i love this person enough and i have the time in my life and i want to send them this birthday card or whatever happened in my life this year and i love myself enough that i need to go home and rest and not spend my time going to the store and get the groceries and getting the birthday card right it’s not an action out of love it’s this if i’m only focused on what i do that can be motivated by fear and fear of the way i’ll be ashamed of myself if i don’t do things too right so it’s not only about the things i do it’s also about where are they coming from what’s that motivation behind it because if i i gotta think and feel from a place of healthiness or it doesn’t matter what i do people can judge that for being positive we talk about this all the time so yeah i’m more of a depressed person right my tendency is to not want to tackle [  ] around the house right he’s more of the anxiety person whose tendency is to deal with his life by tackling jobs around the house society will say he is the better human we both experience the same underlying discontent there’s no difference right great his actions look better but it doesn’t change the way that we both feel [  ] [  ] about it but why does it matter what you feel it totally matters what i feel man i matter that’s why that’s why i went to drugs because it [  ] matter what i feel i don’t want to feel what i want to feel doesn’t matter what you guys [  ] feel i want to feel what i want that sounds like a rough way to live just [  ] my feelings i’ll just do the right thing by doing the right things is how it’s the process of the steps for me that gave me the joy it didn’t seem like it would service does not feel like it’s going to give me joy working these principles i’m like i’m just going to do it because they tell me i do it because i can’t live the other way and then i get got there i got to this place where i felt love i felt one taste of freedom and joy it didn’t it wasn’t until i had like 10 [  ] years that i really felt it and every 10 years after it it levels up but the fact that that feeling even though i might have had it for just a moment at times was better than any drug i ever been on that’s why i’m still here but i think it comes back to that buddhist thing of the middle path like there’s a certain amount of selfishness i need in my life or else i’ll be consumed by the world and then there’s a certain amount of unselfishes that i need or i’ll be isolated and alone you know like i gotta find that middle and it’s the same with my feelings like yeah i need to my feelings matter but and again maybe this is just for addicts or maybe not but as an addict like i can take that out to some whole other place to where only my feelings matter and no one else’s do and then i’m wreaking havoc i’m not sending you birthday cards i [  ] feel like it i felt like i i could sit here and i felt like i sensed billy’s uncomfortability that we were going back and forth but i was like he’s going to say something because he is really uncomfortable and what did he say there’s a middle version there’s a middle pad no we all just get along we have a lot so people are probably hearing it and it’s interesting i i yeah i know we’re probably boring people to death and we’re way over time but uh it’s interesting that like we just went out to dinner i feel like our people are gonna love this we’re both speaking from the experience of what got us to where we feel like we’re good humans right because my experience has been i did the recovery thing for like 10 years and tried to do the actions in spite of how i felt and was [  ] miserable and through some really um exhaustive therapy things that i involved myself in outside of recovery the way i felt changed and from that place of feeling better i was able to be better and so it’s like i guess we get to the same place but mine definitely it i needed to feel different in order to be and do different and like i just i was [  ] miserable trying it the other way around so i’m hesitant to say like yeah just do the right thing screw how you feel i’m like that’s not how it worked for me yeah do you think there’s something to be said for serious mental health i mean because they’re matched no matter step

it yeah like 10 years before i was diagnosed as bipolar i mean i had been diagnosed before my recovery but it wasn’t until i had 10 years so i was in the bed crying for three days straight that my sponsor’s like look you gotta go to the doctor you know what i mean and um so i’m saying you can’t outstep mental health right you know what i mean but the two together make the best situation for me you know um but one you got you can’t do none on one and none on the other you know what i mean it’s got to be a balance and only and that balance is so individualized that there’s no prescription you can write for one person is going to fit everybody you know so now that we’ve talked about everything except marriage uh any final thoughts on marriage i guess for my take like whether you’re both in recovery whether one is in recovery and the other isn’t vulnerability being emotionally connected right learning and raising your awareness about where your triggers come from and your childhood environment that leads to the way you feel today a lot of times and your reactions like the more awareness we can build of that the better we’re going to be able to recognize ourselves and recognize our partner and just be able to connect with them instead of saying doing the whole attachment dance of one person’s pursuing and the other ones going out to the garage to work on something to get the [  ] away from them like hey i’m really feeling like you’re not invested right now and i just i know that sometimes is my story can you help me feel a little reassured that like even though we’re not talking right this minute you still want to be here like and those kind of things can inspire connection and keep us together as opposed to just that same old story of like oh they didn’t text me back for three hours they don’t give a [  ] about me i mean what everybody else got you know a lot of people got together early in recovery and stayed together i mean they have kids there’s even a joke you know what is it the uh six month key tag got a man nine month key tag you had a baby by the man or whatever a year now you’re broken up or whatever so i forget how it goes but it’s pretty funny but i think it’s because you know even the rehab romances right when people get into the program and this is like the first time that they’ve been around people who are honestly sharing their feelings and their thoughts and there’s like this open-mindedness and this closeness that naturally occurs um

oh man that sounds sick but and so there’s relationships that can start off early on and even if you’re in a couple like for couples that somebody comes to the program and one person’s not an addict and they’re going i can imagine they would feel a lot of jealousy and insecurity because they there’s a lot of close connections it’s like the first time that people really opening up and i think relationships can form for a lifetime i can think of so many couples that got together in that first year that are still together now you know decades later and just by chance they met in their early part of their recovery but i think that’s definitely been a benefit for me and billy i don’t know if it’s been a benefit for you guys but um hopefully we can keep that stuff as we go on in recovery keep that belief that there’s more to be learned and felt and discovered with our partners that we can really grow together and not have a boring you know relationship with that there’s new horizons you know that’s wild that’s so contrary to what we hear about not getting in relationships in the first year to hear that experience that’s all thanks for having me on i’ll be back on for the sex one sexual health and recovery it’s coming one of these days all right uh everybody uh stay married or not married whatever makes you happy and we’ll see you next week did you like this episode share it with people you think might get something out of it check out the rest of our episodes at recoveryswordof.com also while you’re there you can find ways to link up with us on facebook twitter instagram reddit youtube anything we’re always looking for new ideas got an idea you want us to look into reach out to us