Psych Central

The Amends Process in the 12 Steps

By John and Elaine Leadem

Making AmendsThere is great disagreement in the recovery community about the best path to follow when we have wronged another.

In an effort to avoid the discomfort of direct amends, there will be those who claim that “living amends” is more important than acknowledging the specific nature of our wrongs. Living amends are certainly important because there can be no lasting change without them, but they cannot take the place of telling the exact nature of the truth, if that is possible. All too often, “living amends” become a way of hiding from the truth of our wrong.

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Your Past is Part of Your Story

By John and Elaine Leadem

Your Past is Part of Your StoryThe true “back-stories” about our days when we were still lost in life’s challenges or in our active addiction is very important to explore and acknowledge. We each carry our stories with us.

Many times the struggles we are experiencing in a romantic relationship, for example, have their roots in past life experiences that evolved into some pretty ineffective ways of coping with discomfort. Those coping strategies (or defects of character) will usually follow us into the new life we are trying to build in our recoveries. They do not just disappear because we have decided to turn things around or have surrendered our respective drugs of choice.  Those defects can do a great deal to undermine the integrity of a romance.

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A New & Healthier Way to Cope. It Can Be Done!

By John and Elaine Leadem

silhouette fight“You’re wrong!”

How many times have you felt attacked with these words from a loved one?  In response, how many times did you recoil in anger or hurl back an equally insensitive accusation?

When we behave in this way within our relationships, we are making a decision to cut off communication and opportunities for personal growth.  Our behavior looks and feels childlike because we are, in essence, throwing a tantrum.  Children respond this way because they are not aware of alternatives.  They have not had the opportunity to develop more appropriate ways to deal with their emotions and the reactions they have to others.  As adults, we may also find that our choice of alternative behaviors is lacking so we resort to childlike attitudes and actions.

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Money and Love

By John and Elaine Leadem

Economic Insecurity vs Romantic SecurityThere are many who suffer from truly devastating financial difficulties. Others however, do not suffer from actual financial insecurity as much as they suffer from fear of financial insecurity. Regardless of whether it is founded in reality or not, the fear of financial insecurity can be crippling to those who suffer from it!

Unfortunately the fear of economic insecurity can also seriously undermine another very important security: the security and integrity of our romantic relationship.

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“This Too Shall Pass” – How to Weather Our Emotional Crises

By John and Elaine Leadem

Emotional Support

When we are in emotional pain, it is sometimes so difficult for us to remember that there was a time when we were not in pain – and it is even harder yet, to envision our current pain ever coming to an end. The pain of the moment, if left unattended, can wake up all the pains of the past. These awakenings of pain make it difficult for us to imagine life without pain, since the past and the present have now become joined.

The past can become fused with the present at blazing fast speeds!

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The Serenity Prayer

By John and Elaine Leadem

Serenity PrayerThere is so much to do and so little time to do it!

All of us have known the disappointment of wanting more out of life than it can deliver. We have also known the frustration of having life deliver more than we have ordered, or so it seems. We have been “whelmed” many times in our recovery by the demands of life as we tried to determine what the priorities should be.

Where do we start? How will we endure?

At times the drone of life was deafening and the frustration of trying to manage “all the stuff” left us emotionally toxic (and miserably ineffective!).

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Applying Program Slogans to Your Relationship

By John and Elaine Leadem

Applying Program Slogans to Your Relationship

 

Our last few articles have been focusing on popular 12-Step program slogans and how they might apply to your relationships, romantic or otherwise. Thus far we have reviewed these four slogans with the following applications:

  1. One Day at a Time. Challenges threatening us in our romance can quickly begin to feel overwhelming to us. The truth is, if we address one challenge at a time we all possess the strength and resources to handle today’s relationship as it is in the moment. The seemingly impossible challenges we face with our partner can indeed become possible, if we tackle them One Day at a Time.

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Should I Really Ignore What Bothers Me in My Romance?

By John and Elaine Leadem

How do you go about the responsibility of being of service to your partner while also practicing letting go of control?  There would seem to be a bit of contradiction in the two.  What should I address with my partner and what should I ignore?

Every day these, and many similar questions, are presented to our staff by couples working to rebuild a romance that has been shaken by addiction.  In their therapy “home-work” we ask our clients to borrow some of the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer were they will see that each of them can only really change himself or herself.  We encourage them to consider the idea that being of service to his or her partner cannot be designed to change him or her.

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“Let It Begin with Me”: the Secret to Healing in Your Relationship

By John and Elaine Leadem

Let it Begin With Me

How often do I look at my partner and think, “Gosh, I wish the nagging would stop!” or “I am sick of the mood swings and the outbursts!” At these times it seems so obvious that my partner is the broken one.

We can hear our sponsor’s voice saying, “What about the spiritual axiom that says whenever we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us?”  But we are quick to rebuff the voice by establishing the certainty that while we are “somewhat at fault, our partner is more to blame!”

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Keep It Simple …and Loving

By John and Elaine Leadem

Keep it Simple

The effects of alcoholism or other addictive disorders on a romantic partnership can be devastating (understatement). We assume that the damage done is going to take time to repair.  Most of us imagine that our relationship will survive; we understand however, that there are no guarantees.

The fear of a failed relationship after entering recovery can be overwhelming.  This fear may cause you to delve too deeply into the wreckage of the past at a time when the relationship is still too fragile for this level of exploration.  Far too many “why” questions are asked of our partners and of ourselves.  When asked why a particular event happened in the past, the answer, if it is honest, is far more than many couples are ready to handle without a good deal of intense work.

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Elaine Leadem, MSW, LCSW & John Leadem, MSW, LCSW are authors of many books, including One in Spirit & An Ounce of Prevention.
Check them out!


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Recent Comments
  • Stephanie Kay: I found your article quite interesting. What I have found is that people tend to use the same coping...
  • John and Elaine Leadem: Hi “rileyann” – thank you so much for taking the time to comment on our...
  • rileyann: oh, so a man can hurt, lie and betray a woman about his feelings for her, and she is to “ask...
  • Love bites: Hi How Yes those deflecting answers really hurt. I’ve also tried the ‘let’s be adult,...
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