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My Partner is Sober Now But Something Still Feels Off

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Many people, often those who are new to the Alanon fellowship, think that the holy grail of the program is that “that” person in our lives will get sober. While this is often a wonderful breakthrough for that person, those of us who have been around for a while realize that it doesn’t solve our problems. In many cases, new problems can arise.

Let’s look at some of the ways that the thing that was supposed to change everything doesn’t change anything.

I Thought It Would Be Different.

Holding onto the hope that someone is going to stop drinking is often akin to feeling like things will be better when I: get that job, get that promotion, get that new car, get a raise. The list goes on. As we often find out, if you didn’t feel good before that thing occurs you’re not going to feel good after it does. You might have a momentary sense of relief. But you will eventually go back to the level of happiness and well-being at which you were prior to the change somewhat quickly. That is why in Alanon we do our best to live our own lives and preserve our own serenity whether the alcoholic is drinking or not.

They’re still gone but for a different reason.

Many of us felt, when our partner was drinking, like they were having an affair with booze. It’s because they were. Well now it feels like they’re having an affair with the program of AA. Daily meetings, new friends, a sponsor who they talk to more than they talk to me? You might have thought you were going to get your partner back when they stopped drinking only to feel like you lost them to something else. This is not uncommon. But remember that AA is vital to their recovery and ability to thrive in this world. Maybe it’s an opportunity for you to dive into a program of your own.

They expect that everything is fine now.

It’s not uncommon for the alcoholic in our lives to expect everything to be fine now that they’ve stopped drinking. But we know that you’ve got a lot of hurt that you still need to process. Remember that it is not your responsibility to come to terms with anything or forgive on someone else’s schedule. Take the time that you need to process what has happened. Focus on your own recovery and sense of well-being.

Well if it’s not the drinking then maybe there is something that I need to change in me.

It’s not any accident that we end up in these relationships over and over again. It’s a pretty tough realization for many who come to Alanon to accept that there are things within us that need to change before we can start living life differently. But this realization is an opening to change and an opportunity to start to recover. And it stinks. We’ve become so used to blaming our problems on others that without someone else to blame we can feel a little untethered. Don’t worry. We’ve been there before and Alanon can help. And what a relief it will be to not have our serenity dependent on the behavior of other people.

In closing, anyone getting sober is a great thing, don’t get us wrong. It is fantastic for that person and everyone that they come into contact with. However, for those of us close to that person, we often realize it’s not the answer. There’s still work we need to do on ourselves. We still need support. And it takes time to heal. That’s okay.