How to Keep Consistent in Your Recovery
We’ve talked before about ways to begin recovering from sexual or pornography addiction — but what’s the next step? In addition to sticking to some of your original goals, there are some additional things to keep in mind as you or your partner work through the recovery process.
Empathy, or the ability to understand someone else’s feelings, can help you understand why your partner feels the way they do. This can help you avoid making addition transgressions. Instead, put yourself in your partner’s shoes — would he or she like that I’m doing this? Would they be hurt by it?
- Healthy disagreements
Recovery does not mean you agree with whatever your partner says. Instead, find ways to disagree and resolve conflict in healthy ways. Remember a few things: you are allies on the same team; the goal is to come to a compromise, not to win; only argue for set amounts of time and after that, agree to continue at a later time; do not attempt to hurt the other person (name calling, threats, ultimatums, etc.)
- Show, don’t tell
This one is simple — don’t tell your partner you care about them and want to change; show them. Work to be honest, not to prove who is right. Expressions of regret are nice; however not doing something to make up for regrets will not work. Adopt a daily model that demonstrates you will do what is needed to make up for things you regret.
- Remember trust
Infidelity often leaves your partner with a sense of betrayal and broken trust. You cannot build trust overnight, and yet, this is the bedrock of the relationship. Keep trusting and trustworthy in all aspects of your relationship.
- Anticipate hazards
In the same way you would look downriver while boating to see if there is a tree, you should keep an eye out for hazards in your relationship. What might trip you up? Potential setbacks could include: overconfidence; denial; isolation; blame or rationalizing. When faced with these, the best course of action is to talk with your therapist or accountability partner.
You may be concentrating on rebuilding your relationship, but that’s not all. You should also rebuild your relationship with yourself. You can’t give to someone else if you’re empty yourself. Don’t forget to do something healthy that makes you happy — watching football with friends, taking a vacation or pursuing a hobby.
That’s the whole reason you’re here, right? You love your life the way it is, and you want to keep it. Be thankful the life you and your partner have together, and don’t forget to let them know!