By Christian Castaneda, LCSW, Program Director at Promises Malibu
Addiction recovery is a vulnerable and healing time when people must learn new ways of creating healthy relationships with themselves and others. Singles must remove themselves from unhealthy sexual encounters and refrain from starting new romantic or sexual relationships for one year. But what if you are in a marriage or partnership?
Not all of us are going to be making dinner reservations and trading heart-shaped boxes of candy with a significant other this Valentine’s Day. Some of us are going to be struggling to deal with the aftermath of a relationship that crashed and burned or never really got off the ground.
A woman posted on a social media site for those with addictions that her former partner called her and showered her with hateful commentary ranging from her appearance, body size and tattoos, to her habits and even the way she breathed. She remained on the call to hear the entire litany. Despite her distress, she didn’t turn to her drug of choice, but instead, to cigarettes, tears and the shelter of the group. She was offered support to ameliorate her pain, as well as kudos for her decision to refrain from using. Many encouraged her with the reminder, “That’s why he’s your ex.”
By Elizabeth Davies-Ulirsch, MA, CSAT-C, Primary Therapist at Promises Young Adult Program
When it comes to relationships we can often trace the problems of a current intimate partnership to family patterns that go back through generations. Addiction and other mental health disorders often find their genesis in the family tree as well. Just because addiction is in the family doesn’t mean you will become an addict, but if you have unresolved issues with an alcoholic or drug addicted parent you may indirectly look for those traits in romantic partners. Why? Because we tend to date and marry our “unfinished business,” often with the subconscious desire to fix what went wrong in childhood.
Commitment phobia. Commitment-phobe. Fear of intimacy. We’ve all heard these phrases used to describe the reluctance of one person to settle into a long-term relationship with another person. While the terms are often used interchangeably, each means something very different.