Tonight, Mark, Joe, Aaron, and Russ gather and discuss relationships. We discussed how to determine if relationships are healthy, toxic, and how to disengage if they are toxic .Joe began the show by reflecting on how relationships can be helpful in recovery. By being in the fellowship, Joe learned how to have fun. He thought that when he first came into the program, his life with fun in it was over. Being able to talk and relate with others have helped him in recovery. Healthy relationships have taught Joe how to live.
Aaron shared that relationships have improved since he came into the program. He now hangs around with crazy AA people he now calls friends. Friendships outside the fellowship have improved and increases. Mark shared that friends inside AA have helped him by challenging him. When Russ first came around, he had no idea what a healthy relationship was. At first, Russ made a few very good and close friends; all his drinking buddies fell away right away. Aaron shared that when he first came in, his old friends still wanted to hang out. Aaron said he had to separate himself from these toxic relations which was very difficult. Russ said that he first began healthy relationships at meetings. Russ old idea of having fun with friends turned out be very dangerous for him. Early in the program, Russ began to share what he thought was feelings with other men for the first time. At first, the only feeling he was aware of was anger. Russ’ social life began by attending sober parties, playing cards, and he even learned how to play backgammon. Mark could relate with only allowing anger to be felt as a feeling, but the program taught him that anger was a mask covering deeper feelings.
Russ shared that when he becomes obsessive with someone, this is a red flag indicating a toxic relationship. When someone demands all his time, this is a toxic indicator. Russ said that he makes mistakes all the time when it comes to being able to detect toxicity in a relationship. With time, he discovered that he had a 6th sense when it comes to bad relationships; now he pays attention when these feeling bubble up.
Aaron said that when he looses a sense of self in the relationship, this is bad for him. Also, when a relationship becomes a deterrent to the fellowship, this is a warning sign for him. Russ and Aaron both indicated that a toxic relationship is determined by how they react to a person, not necessarily how the other person acts. Joe shared that figuring out people is very difficult for him. Joe said that when he first same into the fellowship, he thought that his relationship with his father was toxic. But after some time in the program, Joe has a healthier relationship with his father. The program helped Joe work through some issues around his father which allowed him to be more loving, patient and tolerant with his father, which has been positive with his relationship with his dad.