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Relationship as a Path to End Addiction

When we make an earnest intention to heal a certain part of our lives, the energies around us conspire to put us on that path. Sometimes help comes from where we least expect it.

These days, I am observing how committed partnership is aiding me in relinquishing my addictions, to food as well as other behavior patterns including but not limited to money behaviors and emotional avoidance patterns.

In the simplest sense, being in a committed partnership is an incredibly accountable place to be. The same way that having a job can hold you accountable to coming in to work at a certain time every day, partnership holds us accountable on so many levels; how we take care of ourselves, how we respond to conflict, how we schedule and plan, how we respond under stress, how we respond when a negative pattern in ourselves is being pointed out, and on and on the list goes.

The beautiful and maddening thing about life is the interconnectedness of all our behaviors. (The title of Cheri Huber’s book, “How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything” has recently been bringing equal parts insight and humiliation into my life.) If one aspect of our lives is unbalanced, it will affect the whole whether we see the connection or not.

So many of us have already noticed this about how we eat. We have perhaps already made the connection that we cannot binge eat and be our best at the same time. As a really personal confession, I’ll share that I used to “solve” this issue by binging on my days off, when I didn’t have to show up as my best self anywhere. But committed partnership ~ especially of the live-in kind ~ demands that we be our best selves all the time.

To the extent that we want to be kind and compassionate, making room for our partner and their hurt.

To the extent that we want to be honoring of ourselves and ~ as an extension of ourselves ~ honoring of them.

It is because of a natural understanding that arises, then, that we seek to transform our addictions in intimate relationship.

Rather than an “I should” approach, we might begin to take the approach of, “I have the golden opportunity to, as a gesture of love.”

It doesn’t mean we make changes overnight, though we might. Lasting changes still may take time, but the impetus now is around not just our own wellbeing but our wellbeing in a broader sense that includes this perceived “other” who is not really an “other” at all, but a long lost part of ourselves we have been given the gift of encountering and becoming deeply familiar with in this very lifetime.

If you have an intimate relationship, you can ask yourself how how desire to honor that relationship can help or is already helping you to transform parts of yourself that have been lurking in the shadows.

If you don’t have an intimate relationship in your life but want one, you can envision how having an intimate partnership might bring to light ~ with love and compassion ~ certain aspects of yourself that would be much more difficult and less likely to unearth without such partnership.

If you don’t have an intimate relationship and like it that way, you can use the other, non-romantic relationships you have in your life in a similar way. Ask yourself how these relationships are testing you in ways you would have never tested yourself.

Importantly, remember the age-old wisdom that it is our enemies ~ and our loved ones in times of conflict ~ who are our greatest teachers, presenting as they do the rub to the soul that awakens our desire to learn and to grow.

Art: “Union” by Android Jones

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