Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. Please download your copy of “Manifest Holistic Health” from Sherry’s Enrich Your Life Series. Contact Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements. Listen to Sherry on “A Moment of Change with Sherry Gaba”on CBS Radio.
Often people that develop addictions in their life are dealing with very dysfunctional family histories. Within the family there may have been very little sense of respect and personal accomplishment, instead everything was done to please a parent or to cover up a secret within the family. This leaves the children unable to understand how relationships work. Their negative experience with the most basic relationship; that of a child and parent, is so distorted that the best theycando is to try to sustain the same type of relationship with someone else.
In “The Law of Sobriety” I state that, “Some of the more common relationship boundaries that addicts and alcoholics overstep include extremes of attachment: they either get too close and fused with another person or remain distant and disengaged from that person.” This over-attachment leads to a complete submission to the other person where individuality is denied in order to be just what that person wants. Knowing if you are in this type of attachment issue is important so that you can start to develop and define boundaries that allow you to be you while still remaining a strong partner in a relationship.
Talking to your partner isn’t always easy. You do need to be able to communicate several specific items to begin to set up boundaries. These include:
- What is acceptable behavior and what is not acceptable in the relationship
- How open and honest communication can occur in the relationship
- Consequences for failing to follow the boundaries developed
As the recovering addict or alcoholic you have to find your own true self and learn that you can exist without that other person. You may find that to bring about a positive relationship you have to get out of the current negative one. This means recognizing that you have options in future relationships, releasing those doubts and negative messages, and being open to helping yourself by finding a partner that will honor, respect and love you for who you really are.