Betrayal in addiction recovery

How can we cope with betrayal in addiction recovery? Words of wisdom from Dr. Louise Stanger.

minute read

Double cross – betrayal

As a verb: Deceive or betray (a person with whom one is supposedly cooperating)
Synonyms: Betray, cheat, defraud, trick, hoodwink, mislead, swindle, deceive, be disloyal to, be unfaithful to, play false
As a noun: A betrayal of someone with whom one is supposedly cooperating

Have you ever experienced betrayal? Have you ever been doubled cross? Have you ever felt that someone you knew and loved was not the person you thought them to be? That their actions were diametrically opposed to who you thought they were?

Recently, I was faced with a situation which left me speechless. I thought the world was going one way and now it went disastrously another.

In Falling Up, I wrote, “Sometimes I wonder: Is life a series of falling ups? Dotted Swiss cheese holes of stability followed by a series of falling downs – a maneuver perfected by Humpty Dumpty.”

…and here as I approach my 70th year I find myself again at a crossroads, devastated that the trust I placed in someone was violated and shook my very core.

Self-doubt is part of the process

I wondered what was wrong with me? What signs did I miss? Was it blind faith that made me miss the mark? Was it that I always wanted a son to replace mine that died and so I took this person unwittingly into my heart?

Surely, I had a part to play.

We all have a part to play and surely I should of known better. And yet, the signs were not there swimming on the surface. Was it greed or the belief that I was being taken care of?

I don’t know.

We have two choices

I do know that when we are faced with betrayal we have choices. One to let anger and resentment fill rent in our head. But this makes us sick and full of righteous indignation. Living in anger does nothing but eat away at our soul.

The second choice we have is to follow the 12 Step program, step up the number of meetings we attend, readings we do, reach outs to others, work the steps, and to do the footwork to take action. To show compassion to our betrayer and pray for them

The Serenity Prayer is my mantra

In my situation I am reinvesting myself in meetings and Step 1. I am talking to confidential advisors and to people in the program, gathering at and doing the necessary footwork to take care of the situation.

On an emotional level, I know that underneath anger… betrayal is grave sadness.

I feel like there has been a death in my family, the death of a trusted loyal loved one and I know I must do the grief work so I may move on tattered with a hole in my heart and ever resilient. That, perhaps, is the most challenging part to bear my soul in sorrow.

Have you ever felt betrayal? What does that feel like to you? What steps do you take?

Let me hear from you.


About the Author:  Dr. Louise Stanger LCSW, speaker, author, trainer and international interventionist has developed and refined her invitational method of mental health, substance abuse and process addiction interventions using the well established research methodology of portraiture. She has performed thousands of family interventions  (http: throughout the United States and aboard.
Louise has published in the Huffington Post, Journal of Alcohol Studies, Addiction Blog , Campus Recovery , The Sober World  etc and various other magazines and scholarly publications. The San Diego Business Journal listed her as one of the top 10 Women who Mean Business and she was ranked as one of the top 10 Interventionists in the Country. Louise is a gifted speaker who immediately connects with her audiences. Her presentations lively, informative, customized and invigorating and participants say they walk away with, new strategies and knowledge   about families and addictions. Foundations Recovery Network, 2014 Moments of Change Conference, proclaimed Dr. Stanger the “Fan Favorite Speaker”. Falling Up- A Memoir of Survival is available on Amazon.
About the author
Louise Stanger, Ed.D. is a clinical social worker LCSW and Certified Intervention Professional CIP with over 35 years experience in substance abuse and mental health disorders, grief and loss. She has been a university educator (SDSU & USD) and researcher. She is active in the Network of Independent Interventionist and Association of Intervention Specialists and is also a Motivational Interviewing Trainer of Trainers. More at All About Interventions .
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