Family Therapy Magazine discusses 6 essentials that help individuals achieve lasting recovery:
- Hope: a re-awakening after despair; to have more positive expectations along with greater confidence
- Healthy Coping Skills: developing effective skills to manage the pain, stress and challenge of life.
- Sense of Achievement and Accomplishment: moving beyond one’s addiction toward personal achievement.
- Capacity for Meaningful Relationships: positive support and connection with family and peers.
- Unique Identity Development: the emergence of a healthy and positive identity outside of addiction.
- Reclamation of Agency: an internal locus of control where one acknowledges the choices they have over their behavior.
When healthy boundaries are not established in courtship or committed relationships, those relationships become ridden with rigidness and control. This is more difficult to do in relationships where a partner is struggling with an addiction. In unhealthy relationships one individual dominates the discourse, without open and authentic transactions. In order to sustain and improve the health of relationships, relationships experts such as Gottman and Silver indicated that favorable positive behaviors and interactions must exceed negative ones. Couples dealing with addiction teach them 6 fundamental principles to “Make Your Marriage a Place You Want To Be:”
- Salutary Recognition (Greetings): Individually acknowledge each other throughout the day in verbal and nonverbal ways. Verbal greetings can include saying “hello” or “how was your day?”. Nonverbal greetings may take the form of a hug, kiss, touch of the shoulder, etc. Nonverbal greetings are as equally important as verbal.
- Small Talk: Discuss what your partner would like to talk about no matter how trivial it may seem to you. Set aside topic to engage in these light conversations. They should not be about topics that are likely to lead to tension or an argument. Attempt to maintain equality in the amount of time each person engages in this dialogue.
- Ego-Building Comments (Praise): Notice and praise your partner for the positive behaviors they engage in or for their positive qualities. Examples may include: “I like the way you dealt with the children at bedtime.”
- Exciting Activities: Regularly engage in activities that both of you find enjoyable. These activities do not have to be expensive. All they require is that you block some time off for one another. It could include taking a hike, going out for a movie, etc.
- Expanding Shared Memories: Create positive memories with one another throughout your daily interactions and then reminisce about those memories. Go through your photos, discuss the enjoyable past memories you share.
- Feedback: This entails mutual honesty between partners. There are two important facets to effective feedback: 1). encouragement when our partner does something well. 2) being able to express your concerns when your partner does something wrong. Both of these must occur within a relationship where there is listening, understanding and validation.
These 6 fundamental principles will create a healthy foundation for a courting couple or one that is committed. It will also help create and sustain trust and contribute to relationship satisfaction.
A.C.T. will provide free resource information for individuals and families to help promote education. For more information, please contact Dr. Drecun at Dr.Drecun@a4ct.com or (858) 792-3541. You may also visit us online at www.a4ct.com. ACT serves the Del Mar 92014 and Rancho Santa Fe 92067 area.