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Episode 14

Anniversaries and Milestones

February 26th, 2021

Announcer: Welcome to Addiction and the Family, “Episode 14: Anniversaries and Milestones.”

Casey Arrillaga: How has addiction affected your family?

Female Speaker: It robbed me of my father.

Female Speaker: Addiction's affected my family in absolutely every way.

Male Speaker: It has caused a lot of turmoil.

Female Speaker: It goes back to what I understand is at least three generations.

Female Speaker: It robbed my daughter of her mother. It robbed my mother of her daughter.

Female Speaker: Addiction has made our family quite challenging.

Male Speaker: Addiction has affected my family tremendously.

Male Speaker: It's affected my relationship with my sister where I wouldn't – I'd go for months without talking to her. It's a very difficult thing for everybody involved. It doesn't just affect the one individual. It's a disease that affects the whole family.

Male Speaker: Addiction is spread not only genetically through some of my relatives and I assume ancestors.

Female Speaker: It's generational.

Female Speaker: I think of him every day.

Casey Arrillaga: Welcome to Addiction and the Family, a podcast by and for family members of anyone with an addiction. My name is Casey Arrillaga, and I'm a clinical social worker and addiction counselor at both Windmill Wellness Ranch and InMindOut Emotional Wellness Centers in Texas.

Kira Arrillaga: I’m Kira Arrillaga, addiction counselor intern and recovery coach at Windmill. Casey and I were in our addictions together for over 10 years and have now been in recovery together for almost twice that long.

Casey Arrillaga: I've led hundreds of family workshops, but just as important is that Kira and I have lived the experience of being family to addiction as both children and adults.

Kira Arrillaga: Join us as we offer experience, strength, and realistic hope about how you and your family can find recovery together.

This episode marks our one-year anniversary of Addiction and the Family. In honor of this, we put together a special episode about anniversaries and milestones. In it we look at different ways anniversaries and milestones take on significance in people’s lives and recovery. While many of our episodes include a featured interview, we went big for this one and included not one but two interviews or three if you count us interviewing ourselves, which I do. All this and more after a word from one of our sponsors.

[Commercial]

Casey: Welcome back. People in recovery often make a big deal out of anniversaries and milestones. Why is that? For one thing, recovery is hard. Many people find it difficult to sustain continuous sobriety, so any amount of time seems worthy of celebration. In some ways this may seem funny to anyone not familiar with recovery. After all, many people routinely go months without drinking alcohol, placing a bet, or compulsively buying something, and most people will go their entire lives without using heroin, so they may not think it’s a big deal that someone in recovery went a month or more, and they wouldn’t expect a cake or speeches if someone makes it for a full year, yet these kinds of celebrations are a cherished tradition in recovery circles.

This is because those of us recovering from addiction know that these milestones are difficult to achieve when your brain seems to default to self-destruct. In fact, what’s happening is that the addictive brain has mistaken the addictive activity for survival. If you want a detailed explanation of why this is, check out Episode 5: Addiction and the Brain. In the meantime, I’ll ask you to trust me on this and assume that it is hard to deny our survival instincts for any significant length of time no matter what logic or reason may tell us.

Kira Arrillaga: This is why those milestones and anniversaries are a pretty big deal. Cake, speeches, and tokens are a regular part of celebrating lengths of recovery. In fact, if you’re a family member of someone with an addiction, you might consider checking out a birthday night at a local AA meeting even if alcohol wasn’t your loved one’s primary addiction. These are usually open meetings, which means that members of the public are welcome to come and observe how 12-step recovery works. Typically, the night will start off with welcoming those with one or more months, a year, 18 months, multiple years, even decades of sobriety. Each person who is celebrating a sobriety milestone that month will get up and receive a sobriety coin, sometimes called a chip, which denotes the length of their recovery and then say a few words about how they did it.

This serves as both inspiration for those who hope to get there someday and a reminder to those who are further along the path. For the family member there to observe, it can also show what’s possible and give everyone attending a sense of the progression of recovery. Those with a month or two are just starting to rebuild their lives while those with many years can talk about the miracles that have happened for them.

Casey Arrillaga: We know that lengths of sobriety or abstinence from addictive acting out are not the only markers along the way, though. The many events in someone’s life take on new meaning in recovery. This can be just as true for the family members seeking their own recovery as it is for the person with the addiction. Birthdays, weddings and their anniversaries, family holidays and more, these can all become more special and more richly experienced when addiction is not overshadowing the affair. The longer you are in recovery, the more this is true. That’s why in this episode we are featuring people in recovery talking about not only the anniversaries of their sobriety but also the various milestones that they have experienced in their lives while practicing recovery and how these experiences have been changed by that recovery.

Kira Arrillaga: Our first interview is with a man who is in recovery both from his own addiction to sex and love and as a family member to someone with alcohol problems. Our interview took place on New Year’s Day which turns out to have special significance in his recovery for more than the usual reasons. Let’s hear that interview.

Casey Arrillaga: First and foremost, happy New Year.

David: Happy New Year and happy anniversary to both of us.

Casey Arrillaga: Thank you, yeah, for both of us indeed. It marks 15 years sobriety for me, but I know it’s a special day for you as well as I’m sure you’ll tell us in this interview. I’ll start out by saying welcome to Addiction and the Family. Glad to have you here. Do you mind just introducing yourself by first name?

David: My name is David from Boston, Massachusetts.

Casey Arrillaga: Right on, David. So glad to have you here. What we’re talking about in this episode is looking at anniversaries and milestones and how those interact with recovery. Do you mind talking a little bit about what that looks like for you today?

David: Sure. First and foremost, what I would say is that having had multiple people in my life that have been successful in recovery, one of the things that they have imparted to me is the urgency for me to interact with my higher power on a regular basis. One of the things that that entails for me is getting down on my knees first thing in the morning and recognizing that truly all I have is the next 24 hours. Realistically, the only thing I have is that very moment that I’m in and asking for sobriety in that moment. I recognize those milestones, while extremely important to me – they’re important to me for multiple reasons, but at the end of the day, I know that all I’m asking for is another 24 hours of living in sobriety and authenticity and integrity, which I hadn’t had for many, many, many years before. That’s what it means to me.

Casey Arrillaga: Thank you. Any particular significant to today that we’re recording?

David: Today would be the two-year anniversary of my stepping foot into my first SLAA meeting, which is my program. It was Tuesday, January 1st, 2019.

Casey Arrillaga: What’s it like to look back two years later?

David: What’s it like? It’s bittersweet. One of the things that my therapist helped me to realize is that while I happen to have a partner – I’m married, and we’ve been able to work recovery into our marriage, but obviously, because my program is SLAA, there are facets of my addiction that hurt my partner very deeply and personally, and so for me, while it is a celebration of sobriety and not doing the things that I did that hurt many people, not just my wife, yet at the same time, I celebrate what it looks like to actually live in that integrity and honest, which while it was certainly always a goal – I don’t think I ever set out to be an addict or set out to be somebody that was living a lie, it’s also very difficult to want to celebrate in the face of all that pain.

I share those successes and those victories with those people that I’m in relationship with in my recovery, my sponsor, my sponsees, those other people that I see in the meetings, and while it’s important for me to do that, it’s also important for me to realize that I don’t want to put my partner in a position where she’s celebrating something that really is responsible for a lot of pain for her. It’s bittersweet.

Casey Arrillaga: I might point out you said actually a couple things. One you mentioned that you’re in SLAA, and for those that don’t know what that is that’s Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. You also mentioned, though, that celebrating the anniversary of your entering recovery is celebrating the pain, but if you were celebrating your starting to act out in your addiction, that would be celebrating pain, but this is an anniversary of you starting into recovery. I can’t help but think that that’s had positive effects for your family.

David: Undoubtedly. As I mentioned, there is no question the positive effects and impact of recovery have been enormous and multiple. What that looks like on a day-to-day basis and how it manifests itself is legitimate honesty with my partner. It took recovery for her to actually genuinely get to know me. That doesn’t mean she didn’t know anything about me. She certainly did, but at the same time, there was a lot there that needed unpacked and a lot of beauty that we continually get to share with one another on a regular basis now. We had our own respective careers, and the pandemic has made it so that both of those respective careers, we were unable to continue with. All of the sudden, we found ourselves actually seeking employment together, and had it not been for the gifts of recovery and honesty and being able to be rigorously honest with my partner, we would never be able to physically work in the same space together day in, day out literally shoulder to shoulder probably 20 hours out of a 24-hour day. That’s an amazing gift to us.

Casey Arrillaga: That’s beautiful. Now, you’re not the only person in your family who struggled with addiction. Am I correct?

David: That is correct. I first came into the rooms of recovery by way of Al-Anon because one of my children was dealing with self-harm and suicidal ideation, and the counselors that were helping her mentioned that they had seen a lot of success in the self-harm world by entering a 12-step program. My child went into AA and found success, and she is over seven years sober now from any kind of self-harm, which is a huge victory for her. Then as life would have it, just within the past year, my adult son has come to the realization that the very same addiction that I struggle with in SLAA is something that he finds himself struggling with as well, so it is in fact a family disease.

Casey Arrillaga: You’re coming up on the first anniversary of your father’s death. As a man in recovery, what do you do to prepare for something like that?

David: In anticipation of that, one of the gifts that recovery has given me is the ability to journal and work with feelings that I think for many, many years had been buried. With looking at that anniversary coming up, there were a lot of firsts, if you will. Just recently to celebrate New Years – New Year’s was a big holiday for him and my mother and how they imparted that to us as children within that family structure, but what that looks like is love and admiration for somebody that I know really struggled with addiction of his own and while he didn’t ever admit to it, everybody in the family had issue with his use of alcohol. For us, seeking our own self-care for that, that’s one of those things that I found that Al-Anon genuinely helped me with. Even though I entered into it for an entirely different reason – the care and relationship with my daughter is the reason why I thought I was entering into it – I found that the relationship with my father was one that found healing through that as well, so that would be seven years in that program enabling me to offer a lot of mercy and grace where I wasn’t capable of it prior to recovery.

As that anniversary looms, I think that that mercy and grace that I was capable of offering my father and I have been a recipient of in the rooms of SLAA – yeah, I can’t say enough about those things because they are genuinely present in my life on a daily basis. Even without his physical presence, my ability to posthumously offer him mercy and grace instead of walking around with a heartload of bitterness and distraction to what I think he’s responsible for – I don’t live with that anymore. There’s beauty in that.

Casey Arrillaga: Thank you so much for sharing that. You’re coming up on the first anniversary of his passing, but you’re also going through the journey that a lot of family members have when they lose somebody and especially somebody who did have their own struggles with addiction in that you have the first Thanksgiving, the first birthday, the first Christmas, all those sorts of things without that person. How has recovery impacted how you moved through those events?

David: It has afforded me the opportunity to recognize that just as I didn’t wake up one morning hoping and praying that I would be a sex and love addict, I know my father didn’t set out to occupy every hour that he wasn’t physically working with alcohol. To be able to look back and – not rose-colored glasses by any stretch of the imagination – acknowledge that there were hurts and acknowledge that pain existed but to be able to revisit old memories and see them from an entirely different vantage point with that mercy and grace that I spoke of earlier imbued into those memories and recognizing that the very pain that I know sits at the root cause of my addiction, some childhood trauma and the things that I wanted to escape in my own personhood, I have a lot of empathy, not sympathy, but empathy for my father now in retrospect.

I’m grateful because as you mentioned, coming up on that anniversary and having gone through a couple firsts like his first birthday without him being here, his first Christmas without him being here, and being able to recognize the fact that there was a lot of pain in his childhood that he continued to carry around with him even as a grown man and to be able to identify my heart with his gives me the opportunity to really offer him that same grace. I got to do it – because I entered recovery two years ago, and he only passed a year ago, I got to offer it to him while he was alive not just after in my memories. I’m very grateful for that.

Casey Arrillaga: That’s beautiful. Before we wrap up, I want to check and see are there any other thoughts that you have about recovery and especially knowing this program is going out towards family members. Anything else that you’d want to say around recovery and anniversaries and milestones?

David: As family members, I think it is a gift to be able to incorporate those celebrations into family life. As we are all too often aware of maybe only one family member or one or two enters recovery, and the rest don’t necessarily see the need at the time, but being able to offer the gifts of recovery to others and not in a way in which I would preach or demand their presence in the rooms, but to be able to offer the things that I see coming that authenticity, that honesty, that grace, and that mercy, to be able to offer it to everybody around me in my family without demanding step work from them because that’s not my place.

All I have is the next 24 hours, and that’s a walk with myself and my higher power, and I know that each of my family members and everybody else’s family members have their own higher power, and their respective higher power has their backs, and maybe they’re not there now, but we know from reading the big book that they’ll get there when they get there. For me to be able to offer that listening ear, that open heart and hopefully some words of comfort and grace can be theirs if I’m just patient enough to recognize it.

Casey Arrillaga: Thank you so much for sharing that. Once again, I want to congratulate you on your milestone and anniversary and wish you the best for a new year in recovery.

David: You as well.

Casey Arrillaga: That’s our interview with David. What’d you think, Kira?

Kira Arrillaga: It was beautiful. I really liked his focus on things like mercy and grace as opposed to bitterness or pain or blame. That was really cool.

Casey Arrillaga: Yeah, and I think that’s one of those things that can come out of those anniversaries and milestones that, as time goes by, we get to see things in different like, but also with recovery, we get to just consider what those anniversaries or milestones mean in a whole different way.

Kira Arrillaga: Yeah, I’m sure his wedding anniversaries are very important to him these days, too.

Casey Arrillaga: I won’t speak for him but I’ll speak for him and I’ll say that I’ve often referred to my wedding ring as my favorite sobriety chip as recovery has already more than tripled the life expectancy of our marriage.

Kira Arrillaga: I also really love the fact that he was able to have a relationship at all with his father because of his own recovery and forgive his father and be there for him when his dad passed away. That was a really big deal. He seems very aware that he wouldn’t have had that without his own recovery.

Casey Arrillaga: Yeah, I think of a lot of things that I wouldn’t have without my recovery.

Kira Arrillaga: I also like David called to our attention that he, what did he say? I never set out to be an addict. I never set out to be someone who lies and all that kind of stuff. He said the same thing for his dad later on in the interview, that he came to the realization that his dad had never set out to be an addict and all the things that come along with that. That’s really helped me to be a more forgiving person. I trust everybody to be exactly who they are. If someone is in their addiction, I can expect to be lied to. If somebody has years of recovery under their belt, I can reasonably expect that they’re not going to lie to me.

Casey Arrillaga: Absolutely true.

Kira Arrillaga: I also love that he’s gotten to have not one but two children that are in recovery now. My dad died young and I was still in my addiction and I had not gotten to forgive him and he had never apologized. He also didn’t live to see me as happy as I am. He did live to see me get married but we were still in our addiction. Dad and I weren’t speaking for years. We barely saw each other before he died. Although I did do a lot of forgiving, it wasn’t on the level that I did later when I was in recovery. That made such a difference for me.

Casey Arrillaga: Yeah, and I wonder the anniversary of his death or his birthday, what does that mean to you today compared to what it might have meant back then?

Kira Arrillaga: My dad’s been gone for 25 years. I think of him on his birthday and I think of him on my mom’s birthday. It’s just like, hi, Dad, happy birthday. There’s no drama. There’s no baggage anymore. Yeah, I recommend forgiveness. I really do. I had to be ready for it. It came more fully as I was longer in recovery. David is a Rockstar of recovery in that he has worked incredibly hard. The marriage was in bad shape. Family relations were in bad shape. He just put his nose to the grindstone and did the work and did the work and did the work and continues to do the work.

Casey Arrillaga: For those listening, I can’t help but point out that that expression, nose to the grindstone, refers not just to somebody who’s working hard but somebody who’s really diligent and paying attention to the work and really noticing, are things going a little off track? How do I get them back on track? It’s a beautiful way to put it.

Kira Arrillaga: Thank you. I did that on purpose. Okay, I didn’t do it on purpose, but maybe subconsciously I did it on purpose and maybe my higher power put it in my brain so that I could share it with you all. You never know.

Casey Arrillaga: I’ll go with that. That was beautiful, a wonderful interview, and we’ve got another great interview coming up. First, let’s take a short break and hear from one of our sponsors. Then we’ll come back and hear our interview with Brian and Tamara.

[Commercial]

Kira Arrillaga: Welcome back. Our next interview is with a wonderful couple who reflect on some of the milestones and anniversaries they’ve had and some they see coming up as a couple in recovery.

Brian: My name is Brian.

Tamara: My name is Tamara.

Casey Arrillaga: Thank you guys so much for being with us. We’re talking about anniversaries and milestones. If I may ask, tell us how long have you been in recovery?

Brian: Okay, so I started my journey August of 2016. My sobriety is June 4th, of 2017. There’s some stumbles and falls. I celebrate four years on June 4th of this year.

Casey Arrillaga: That’s fantastic.

Tamara: My name’s Tamara. My sobriety date is October 7th of 2011. I just celebrated nine years in October.

Casey Arrillaga: Congratulations.

Tamara: Thank you.

Casey Arrillaga: How long have you guys been together as a couple?

Brian: We’ve been together since the movie Peppermint came out in the dollar theaters right after Halloween ’18. We got married April 18th of 2020. We’re a COVID marriage.

Casey Arrillaga: What I’m going to ask you guys to do to start off is just to reflect on some of those milestones and anniversaries looking at what each one of those anniversaries and milestones has looked like.

Tamara: We were introduced by a mutual friend of ours in recovery. I told them at one point, I’m ready to start dating. I asked them if they knew anybody. He said, as a matter of fact, I do.

Brian: I think one of the most amazing things for me was we have been through so much crap and relationships that we knew what not to do. One of those things was not to swarm each other and drown each other and OD on each other. At about a year, we were still really good friends, and I think probably about a year, a year and a half, is when I started to really get comfortable and think this woman she might be my wife.

Casey Arrillaga: That beautiful and inspiring. A year goes by for a couple in recovery and it’s not just a year in the relationship but it’s also another year in each one of your recoveries.

Tamara: One of the cool things about dating somebody else who’s had a healthy recovery is that we both had built strong foundations separately.

Brian: Yeah, I have to agree with her. I think by a year in, we had been a little bit of trial and error, but also [27:53] recovery and we noticed things that they didn’t, like they didn’t get involved in each other’s recovery. They didn’t try to sponsor each other. They weren’t going to all the same meetings. It definitely evolved organically for us, but at the same time, we had a blueprint. I’d say it’s been over two years now.

Tamara: I think so.

Brian: Yeah, I think we’ve completely pretty much settled in. I bought her a chip for her birthday. I look forward to doing that. As a matter of fact, I bought her a poker chip. They have a chip with Bill and Bob. They have masks on. Trying to live recovery lives and keeping God first in our lives, I think that actually enhances our relationship instead of it being a detriment.

Casey Arrillaga: Yeah, so he proposed in March. You got married in April of last year. There’s that big milestone right there. How do you think that your recovery and growth together influenced all of that happening?

Brian: The comfort that we had, it didn’t take long once we got the idea in our heads because we were so confident in each other’s recovery and confident in [29:07] teaches you about yourself and teaches you about other people. I’ll be saying these things in a meeting and then [29:15] people outside of the rooms. I will watch the sponsees and the love and care [29:20] I was like, this is a genuine, authentic woman. I would say [29:27] for my marriage, it made the marriage transition so smooth. It wasn’t like, oh, we’re getting married. This is what we’re supposed to do.

Tamara: The thing where recovery has played into our relationship is we have a very strong mutual respect for each other individually and together as a couple. By the time we got to when Brian proposed to me, because we tried to put God first in our relationship from the very beginning and because we respected each other’s individual recovery and we bring that into every part of our life, it just flowed so easily.

Casey Arrillaga: Of course, when you’d gotten married and your first year of marriage, you have a whole bunch of little milestones and firsts, first Thanksgiving as a married couple, first Halloween depending on how into Halloween you are, first Christmas, first New Years. Did you notice anything in any of those?

Brian: I’ll say that one. I’ve never cut my own turkey. I was either in prison or my dad would be cutting the turkey or I’d be at another man’s house, other family, and he’s the head of the household and he’s cutting the turkey. This past year, my mom cooked a turkey, my mom and my cousin. We were going to do a big family Thanksgiving but COVID’s here and so my mom, God bless moms, right? She prepared me this giant, I’d say it’s probably two foot by two foot box. It was like the Thanksgiving starter kit. Everything was prepared, ham, turkey, potatoes, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce. She had this big old box and the turkey was whole. I really felt some type of way, Casey, when me and her, even though it was just us in the house together, we fixed it up and she laid everything out and I cut the turkey. That was a first. It’s my first time being married, first time in my own household, carving the turkey, the first – there are so many. I’d be here so night. The first that we experienced as a result of this is awesome. It's like we got to do a bunch of first things in sobriety, like the first time I got this, first time I got a job sober, first time attending a wedding ceremony, yada, yada, this and that. Being in a relationship is like a new sobriety. We’re having all these firsts all over again. These are the things we’re able to experience in recovery.

Tamara: We really get to enjoy them, too. They don’t just pass aside. We live in a lot of gratitude on a regular basis. We really take time out to pray and to thank God for the blessings that He gives us.

Casey Arrillaga: Thank you guys so much for sharing all of this. The last question I’ll ask is we’re heading into a new year now. I wonder, in 2021, what are some of the anniversaries and milestones that you’re looking for and what do you want from those?

Brian: Okay, so we have June 4th, that would be my sobriety date. October 7th would be her sobriety date. Of course, we have birthdays coming up. I think we haven’t been able to travel – have we traveled anywhere by plane?

Tamara: We did.

Brian: Where did we go?

Tamara: We went to Houston. We didn’t go very far.

Brian: Is that where we went?

Tamara: I think so.

Brian: We’re looking forward – I want to take her home. She’s from Alaska and has a lot of family and just stuff that we’re looking forward to first things. I’m from Maryland and DC and so I can’t wait to take her. Once these restrictions and safe travel, I think those would be some landmark firsts that we’ll be doing. We’ll be taking a lot of pictures.

Tamara: I think just enjoying the COVID-free life is really going to be the big party in 2021 when it does come around.

Brian: Not to mention we had a COVID wedding, which was my friend who is a pastor who also happened to be my federal supervisor [33:55] officer back in the day. This is crazy. It was him, my mother, my father, her family via Zoom. We had a small COVID wedding, took great pictures. It was awesome. We had quarantine wedding. We took pictures with toilet paper. I proposed to her with a roll of toilet paper. We had masks. We just had a lot of fun with it but we’re also going to have a wedding, it’ll probably be in 2021, it’ll be a celebration we can invite our friends. That’s another first that we are looking forward to.

Tamara: Definitely.

Casey Arrillaga: Very cool. I guess I should check in as far as milestones and anniversaries. Is this your first podcast as a married couple?

Tamara: Yes.

Brian: Yes, high five, baby. Our first podcast, yes.

Casey Arrillaga: You never forget that first interview. My hope is it’s not your last interview. We would love to have you back some time.

Tamara: Yes.

Brian: Definitely do it January 4th next year [34:58].

Kira Arrillaga: That was Brian and Tamara on their first podcast as a married couple.

Casey Arrillaga: I remember our first podcast as a married couple.

Kira Arrillaga: It’s been a year.

Casey Arrillaga: It has been a year.

Kira Arrillaga: Happy anniversary, honey.

Casey Arrillaga: Happy anniversary. It’s been quite a year.

Kira Arrillaga: It has been quite a year. Yes, it has. We just went through stormaggeddon here in Texas. That’s just finishing up. Still can’t get milk and eggs at the grocery store. We’re finishing recording this in February and hopefully soon I’ll have milk again and eggs.

Casey Arrillaga: I have to point out. We started out first podcast shortly out of that COVID hit. Now we come up on our first anniversary and we have snowmaggeddon. Makes you wonder what we’re doing around here.

Kira Arrillaga: Maybe we should quit. Maybe we should just stop. We’re having a terrible influence on the world if this is because of us. Do you think this is because of us?

Casey Arrillaga: I don’t think it is. In fact, I think it’s one of the recovery principles where we have to just push through and then it gets better.

Kira Arrillaga: Right, and another one of the recovery principles is that the world does not revolve around me so perhaps this is not in fact my fault.

Casey Arrillaga: I have faith in that.

Kira Arrillaga: That’s good. Speaking of faith, one of the things that seems to be working for Brian and Tamara is that they put faith first. God is first. Gratitude is first. Sobriety is first.

Casey Arrillaga: Pretty inspiring. I like those guys.

Kira Arrillaga: Yeah, it was really sweet how he mentioned that he watched how she was with her sponsees. That was when he felt sure that she knew she was.

Casey Arrillaga: Yeah, that does say a lot, how we treat people that come to us for help says a lot about who we are as people, I think. You get to see that a lot in recovery fellowships.

Kira Arrillaga: I feel like they definitely live in their integrity. One of the things that I liked that I believe she said was that the relationship is like a new sobriety. I know that sobriety involves work. Relationships involve work. To go in knowing that you’re supposed to work is a great attitude in a relationship.

Casey Arrillaga: I have to say, man, I think that’s served us pretty well, too.

Kira Arrillaga: Yeah, and I also thought it was really sweet when they were talking about things that they look forward to this year, they talked about trips to see family and vacations and stuff, but before that, he mentioned both of their sobriety dates.

Casey Arrillaga: Yeah, it’s one of those big things that they say. If you put your recovery first, everything after that will be first class.

Kira Arrillaga: Cheesy but true. It’s nice to hear interviews of couples that have made it work in different ways. We had David talking about the saving of his marriage, secondary to the recovery in the conversation, but certainly it was a relationship that needed to be saved. It was going off the cliff and if he hadn’t worked so hard, they wouldn’t have been able to save it, and if she hadn’t been willing, nothing he did would have mattered. It’s a two-person thing. Then it was really nice to hear Brian and Tamara, they met in recovery and they already had all these tools.

Casey Arrillaga: That is pretty cool. It has been another wonderful episode and a great way to cap a wonderful year of running this podcast with you. I look forward to the next year and can’t wait to see what we do for our second podcast anniversary. All right. With that, we will wrap, folks. Thanks so much for being with us for a year of podcasts and can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

Thanks for being with us through another episode of Addiction and the Family. As they say in many recovery meetings, take what you liked and leave the rest. Go out and explore the possibilities for recovery in your life and give your loved ones the space and dignity to make their own choices.

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