Addiction recovery and romantic relationships

How can you choose a mate from a place of sanity in addiction recovery? We explore here.

minute read

Do you keep ending up blaming others and feeling resentment or complete heart ache in your relationships? You have the power to change your relationships in recovery!  More here on how to choose a mate from a place of sanity, with a section at the end for shared experiences or comments.

Choosing a mate from a place of sanity

Are you sick and tired of being over the moon with excitement about a new love in your life, just to find yourself on the floor six months later with a broken heart, disappointed and disillusioned? I understand because I’ve experienced that profound disappointment myself, over and over again.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

Everybody wants love!

More specifically, we want to experience deep love with “another” in divine partnership. It’s a natural desire to receive and express love because our very identity as an expression of God is one of love. No matter what circumstances we might have been conceived under, we were created out of the infinite love of Spirit. However, when we disconnect from the very source of love, we experience what Bill Wilson would call a “spiritual malady,” and then we look for it, and think we’re going to find it in another person.

The result is that we usually enter into partnerships from a place of excitement, and underneath that excitement are feelings of loneliness, fear, desperation and wounds of unworthiness. Once the excitement wears off (and there will always be an ebb and flow of excitement), what we’re left with is the feelings of loneliness, fear and desperation. And here we go again, disappointed, broken-hearted and wondering what the heck just happened.

So, what part of you is doing the choosing when it comes to the intimate partnerships in your life? Is it the inner wounded child (who can only attract another wounded child) or the emotionally balanced, spiritually connected adult?

Bet you’ve never thought about that, have you?

Who’s choosing?

Well perhaps from a place of self-forgiveness, compassion and microscopic honesty, it’s time to give this question some deep and serious thought.

In this past year and a half I have had the opportunity to heal the deepest pain I’ve ever experienced in my life with the exception of my father’s passing when I was sixteen years old – so you can imagine. But the gifts I’ve received from asking myself the hard questions, meditation and the willingness to totally surrender my will and life over to the care of God when it comes to relationships, have been priceless – and because of the gifts I’ve received, I wouldn’t change my journey for anything in the world. However, I would never choose to do that to myself again either.

First of all, I had to come to the very uncomfortable realization that I didn’t end up on my knees in pain after a sudden breakup – but I had a life long pattern of actually entering relationships on my knees from a place of “please love me, please don’t ever leave me, please keep me safe and please validate me.” Sound familiar?

After that excruciatingly painful experience, I said a prayer I had never uttered before. Surprisingly it wasn’t, “Please God, don’t ever let anyone hurt me that way again.” It was, “Please God, never allow me to hurt MYSELF that way again” … by allowing my inner child (the wounded, traumatized little girl who felt unworthy and unlovable), to choose my relationships.

Choosing relationships in recovery

I want to share with you how you can start the process of choosing love from your own embodiment of self-love. First of all, you need to understand that you were not created out of unworthiness, shame, brokenness, or any other definition of dysfunction. You were created out of, and in the image and likeness of God! You were more than likely born into dysfunction and dis-ease (that’s how you learned to treat yourself so badly), but you were created whole, complete, amazing, beautiful, brilliant and worthy – in all your bad-ass glory!

But you forgot.

You embodied the lie that you were incomplete, imperfect, unworthy and less than absolutely beautiful. Yes, your body grew into adulthood, but your core dominant beliefs remained in undeveloped adolescent hell.

So here you are walking around with your adult body, perhaps having had children of your own – at the top of your game in your chosen profession, and you might even be VERY spiritual. Yet, you find yourself in the fetal position from the illusion of betrayal, abandonment and rejection over and over again – when it comes to intimate relationships. If the same old pattern is unfolding in different relationships over andm over again, guess where the problem lies? Yup – that’s right – WITH YOU! You, my friend can change locations and relationships, but you take that needy, wounded child that’s sitting by the front door waiting for his/her mommy or daddy to come home, everywhere you go. And the end game is always the same – you’re on your knees in disappointment and pain, and wondering how you got there AGAIN.

Or, you’re in a partnership or marriage that keeps repeating the same unfulfilled, painful cycles over and over again. If you’re working on that relationship, it’s probably from an unconscious need of “please change so I’ll be safe, happy and fulfilled.” Knock it off ! You will never get what you truly desire from that place – or that person. It’s not their job to fulfill you or make you whole! (OMG did I just say that???)

What you truly desire is YOU! Glorious, whole, complete, amazing, brilliant YOU – and you can’t find your wholeness in someone else, you’ve got to first find it in yourself. Don’t look so sad – that’s actually GREAT news because the same mind that created your pain is also capable of creating your joy from a place of transformation and renewal.

5 Steps to support your sense of self in relationship

Here are a few keys to support your whole and complete sense of self as you choose your intimate relationships.

1. Stop trying so hard

If you’re single and looking for a relationship, STOP LOOKING. The very fact that you’re looking for someone to fulfill you is a huge red flag that you are walking into a situation on empty. Fill yourself up first with self-love, self-appreciation, living your purpose, and creating fulfilling relationships with friends, family and community. From that place, any intimate relationship is going to be a mirror of the wholeness that’s already there. In other words, it’s just the icing on the delicious cake that is already baked!

Don’t try to make anything happen. Instead, allow it to happen.

2.Heal thyself

Be in the process of healing your illusions of abandonment, betrayal and rejection so that you’re not projecting those beliefs onto a potential partner. Remember, what you focus on, you will bring into manifestation.

3. Be clear (but open) about what you want

Put aside everything you think you know about your “type.” God’s highest vision of your beloved may not look anything like “your type.” But if you are attracting a partner from a place of wholeness, the relationship cannot help but be yummy and blissful – even in the most challenging growth experiences.

Of course, it’s important to have clarity about the qualities that are important to you, but here’s the thing – if you’ve embodied those qualities yourself, based on the perfect law of attraction, the Universe has no choice but to match those qualities with an equal partner.

You can’t have what you’re not willing to become.

4. Forgive

Be in the process of true forgiveness of yourself and past partners: healing resentments from the past is a door to a new future. If you attract a new relationship holding onto old toxic resentments towards past relationships – well, how’s that supposed to work? That means your inner wounded child is again in the driver’s seat.

Be willing to grant a full pardon to those you have experienced deep pain with. They did the best they could with what they had (even if they were the biggest jerk you’ve ever met), and so did you. Have mercy on them and yourself. Scripture states: (I love scripture when it makes sense), “You cannot pour new wine into old skin.” Meaning you can’t experience something new and wonderful with an old negative attitude.

5. Deepen your understanding of true love

Stop thinking about what you can get from a partner – I repeat, they cannot fulfill you or make you whole – but they can match you. The love, adoration, support and nurturing you desire from someone else is simply a reflection of the good you already are as an expression of God. If you’re thinking that any one person can GIVE you love, then you are also under the illusion that they can take it away. They cannot. It’s already yours. The world didn’t give it, and the world can’t take it way.

Romantic relationships in recovery: The next step

It’s time to make a decision that from this moment on, you will nurture your own sense of wholeness, i.e., fulfillment, empowerment, worthiness and feelings of being complete BEFORE you enter a relationship. It is from this place, that you are not “getting into” a relationship, but are actually attracting a relationship to your own sense of love and divine beauty.

About the author
Ester Nicholson, renowned vocalist for Bette Midler and Rod Stewart, author, teacher, speaker and former addict uses her own astonishing story as the core of her powerful teaching, book and new Hay House Radio Show: Soul Recovery - 12 Keys to Healing Addiction and 12 Steps for the Rest of Us. Please visit: for more information.
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