The Person I’m Dating Has A Drinking Problem

I was asked to write a response to the above question in the Thrive Global article series, "Asking for a Friend". This is a question that many people struggle with, not knowing what to do when there is evidence of a drinking or other drug use problem with the person they care about.

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Couple Recovery Theory and Gottman Research: A Perfect Recipe

It has been a remarkable journey. I developed the Couple Recovery Development Approach (CRDA) in 2002 for my doctoral dissertation on couples in long-term recovery. The model is based on my research from the Family Recovery Project housed at Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California.

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Alcohol Became a Problem: Jerry and Carol’s Story

Jerry and Carol (not their real names) came in for couples therapy. They stated that they had a good marriage, but that they needed a "tune up". Jerry talked about how he felt that stress was impacting their relationship, Carol agreed, but also expressed concern over Jerry's alcohol use and wanted him to better control his drinking, like he used to.

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Defining Recovery: What is Your Focus?

Some years ago I remember leading a family group at a drug and alcohol treatment center. I opened the group with the question: What does it mean to be a family or couple in recovery? Some people struggled with the idea that the non-addicted members of the family had some part in going forward in recovery.

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How Can I Heal From My Partner’s Addiction?

Initially there’s a collective sigh of relief when a partner or loved one gets sober. Partners feel hopeful that a sense of normality can find its way back into family life. However, relief is almost always followed by increasing levels of resentment, anxiety, fear, anger, and a host of other negative emotions. Making sense of these co-existing oppositional feelings is confusing. You’re probably thinking, “Shouldn’t I feel better now that my partner is finally sober?” But often, it’s not that simple.

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Redefining Codependency

In my article, "Trauma is Not Codependency: Learning the Difference", I address the importance of acknowledging and understanding that active addiction creates trauma for both the person with the addictive disorder as well as for partners and family members. It is important for couples to recognize and accept that the impact of addiction often follows couples and family well into recovery. This is normal and to be expected in most most circumstances.

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Couple Recovery: Looking Ahead

I remember as a kid we would be on vacation. At scenic observation areas on the way sometimes there were those coin-operated binoculars. I also remember being absolutely fascinated with those things thinking how cool they looked. They were all metal and indestructible. Those beauties, made by Tower Opticals, could swivel to move the viewing area vertically and horizontally. All it took was an available binocular and 25 cents. 

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Trauma Is Not Codependency: Learning the Difference

When a partner gets into recovery all sorts of emotions tend to come to the surface. These emotions may at times feel in opposition: hope next to fear, relief side-by-side with anger, and so on. If you have experienced these swings then you know how confusing and overwhelming emotions can be, sometimes rapidly go from one feeling to another.

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