But she struggles with the fact that “alcoholics can be stubborn and we always think we what’s right.” Yet she also admits that underneath her desire to control is a fear that Ryan may relapse.“I try my best to live one day at a time—you never know what tomorrow will bring,” she says.“Essentially, we can bring in our support systems—whether it’s spiritual or someone we trust in recovery. “I don’t need to be in a meeting or to talk to another alcoholic for that.The issue is to put a pause between the frustration and anger before going to the person [we’re angry at]. I still call my friends from the program—even if it’s just to bitch and complain.”“If each person is working their own program, whatever that means for them, a lot of things can go more easily,” says Dr. “There’s more opportunity for balance—with money, with how they spend their time.I continue to see people with less than one year who don’t even have one step under their belt try to get into a relationship. ” For those with time however, relationships can still be daunting.
Though they might have a higher sensitivity to critical comments, they also have access to tools that can help them to be both loving and kind and honest.
But not all sober relationships are of the shotgun nature; for many who find love on the AA campus, sober relationships can mirror the rest of world—meaning they’re hard, scary, and (usually) worth the effort.
Bryan is a recovered insurance agent from Houston who, at 42, is 10 years sober and recently married to a woman he met in AA.
“I love my boyfriend but when it comes to restraint of pen and tongue, it’s so hard for me not to want to tell him everything that’s on my mind—good and bad,” she confesses.
“I just get so worked up about things and then it comes out at him.