Trust has been broken many times, and it will have to be rebuilt – a process that can’t be rushed.Hopefully, the partner has also been in a 12-Step program, such as Nar-Anon or Al-Anon.Perhaps there were other sober periods that didn’t last, so the belief is, “Why should this time be different?
This reflects the shame that lies beneath the caretaking, self-sacrificing, role of being a super-responsible partner – shame that underlies With sobriety also comes the fear of relapse.
It’s overwhelming to realize that a loved one has a life threatening addiction, subject only to a daily reprieve, over which we’re powerless.
Drugs smoothed over difficult feelings and situations that now must be faced “on the natch.” can drive these feelings, but early sobriety is not the time to address it.
Moreover, if substance abuse started before the addict was an independent, self-sustaining adult, then new skills need to be learned.
This may be compounded by the addict’s commitment to put sobriety first.
The partner may resent that nights out drinking or using have been replaced with nights at meetings.
Addicts may also resent their dependency on their spouse and feel managed by them.
Their partners cling to control and have trouble focusing on themselves.
Top Dog is other-centered and over-responsible, and feels invulnerable, self-sufficient, and loved only when giving.
They both feel sorry for themselves, blame one another, and have guilt and shame, but Underdog feels guilty needing help, and Top Dog feels guilty not giving it.
(Al-Ateen is a great resource for children, too.) There those affected by addiction learned that they’re not responsible for the addict’s drinking or using and that they’re powerlessness over the addict’s recovery.