My Partner Is Jealous Of AA
This one came out of left field when I first heard it, but now that I know about it there seem to be many examples out there.
I suppose it starts when you’ve had a bit of sobriety and your life is improving. Either someone new comes into the picture (who didn’t know you when you were drinking) or your current spouse has seen enough improvement that they start thinking you are “cured.” In both cases, the struggle to make a meeting gets them thinking you are putting the importance of the group ahead of your relationship.
To be honest, it is hard to make meetings sometimes. There is some self-sacrifice and where there is difficulty, it is shared by others who depend on us. Some of them start to wonder if maybe the meeting means more to you than they do. And they even invent reasons why this might be so.
“Is she talking about me at those meetings?”
“I wonder if he’s seeing someone there. Are there women at those things?”
From our perspective, attending meetings is one of the keys to keeping our addictions at bay and fundamental to keeping any other relationship intact. For us, it’s a simple cause and effect recipe: Go to meetings or risk falling back into a destructive lifestyle. And there is also a debt we want to pay – new members (and some older ones as well) need our support.
So what do you do?
Communicating the importance of attending might not be enough. It is one thing to credit your sobriety to vital group support, another thing to get someone outside the system to believe it. An open meeting is a good idea – it can give a spouse something concrete to see rather than just letting their imagination run wild.
Another good option is sharing the literature with them. The Big Book is full of powerful stories told from our perspective. There are also excellent sites and forums they can visit online.
The best solution I have found is to recognize where the jealousy springs from. The real beef isn’t about a meeting per se, but about time. Your partner is complaining they aren’t getting enough time and attention. In essence, we are being selfish by putting our needs ahead of theirs. It’s all about balance.
One practical idea is to arrange for a post-meeting meeting with your spouse at a coffee shop or restaurant. Make it as much a habit as the meeting is. Show that you are willing to spend time with them and that you look forward to it. The neat thing about this is I find I am usually up-beat after a meeting. This makes the after-meeting meeting even better.
It could also be something like a date night or anything out of the ordinary. Linking it to the meetings is great. “I know I’m taking a couple of nights out to attend AA, how about we balance that with a movie night on the weekend?” Something as simple as this communicates that you recognize the issue and want to do something about it.
Think about it if this problem arises and, like other problems, don’t let it fester and grow. Don’t ignore it.