Girlfriends and Recovery


In the five years I’ve been attending 12 Step Meetings, I’ve observed a pattern:

  1. Single guy struggles with recovery and sobriety
  2. Guy starts dating
  3. Sobriety becomes easier
  4. Guy feels good about his recovery 
  5. Girl breaks up
  6. Guy crashes and burns and goes back to Step 1

So what is really happening?  

What’s important to recognize is that the guy has not been taking the 12 Steps seriously and is not that far into recovery. He has not yet given his life over to the Savior.

So when the girl enters his life, Satan lightens up and allows the guy to feel like he is in control of his life. The need to depend on the Savior becomes less and the guy starts to depend on his girlfriend instead. So when they break up. He is suddenly without any support and he falls back to where he was before.

So what is the solution?  

It would be great for guys to recognize that they need to recover “for themselves” not for another person. And they should be confident that they are farther along in recovery before they start serious dating.  

Ideally, the single guy should have a sponsor, work on recovery every day, go through all 12 Steps, do the action steps, answer all the questions, and learn to depend on the Savior before getting a girlfriend.

There is another version of this pattern:

  1. Single guy struggles with recovery and sobriety
  2. Guy starts dating
  3. Sobriety becomes easier
  4. Guy feels good about his recovery 
  5. Guy and girl get engaged
  6. They get married
  7. Weeks or months after marriage the guy relapses

This is the same scenario as the first, but in this scenario, Satan lightens up until after the marriage. In the meantime, the guy has stopped attending 12 Step meetings and feels he is now in control. And then Satan comes back with a vengeance.  

The guy is not prepared. He mistakenly thought that he had conquered his addiction.  And now Satan and the addiction is impacting two lives, not just one.

The solution:

The solution for this scenario is the same as the first. Don’t get serious with a young woman till you are sure you are recovering for yourself and you have a good relationship with the Savior.

The solution for the second scenario, once they are married, is more complicated. The guy and his wife need to come back to the 12 Step meetings –- the husband needs to seriously do the 12 Steps and the wife should be involved in the Spouse and Family Support program to help her understand what she can and cannot do to help her husband and herself.
                                           

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