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Couples Stories

Our Story

Our couple recovery began the day we walked into our first RCA meeting, March 4, 1990. At that point, we had been married for eighteen years with three children. We had each begun our own individual recoveries in 1987. However, our relationship was floundering, and we felt emotionally divorced. Even though we had been trying to use many tools from our own individual recovery programs, from counseling, and from other support groups such as Marriage Encounter, the way was not clear.
Pat's Family

Pat came from a large family of nine children. Her dad owned his own business and was a chronic alcoholic until he died at age fifty-two. Since Pat was second oldest, she had become a good caretaker, not only of brothers and sisters, but of her dad, too. Dad could only have emotions while drunk, which was daily. Pat's mom would leave nightly to escape confrontations with her drunken husband, who was physically abusive with one of his two sons. Pat's parents had a very passive-aggressive relationship, which the children learned along with blame, dishonesty, denial and hopelessness.
We were still in our thirties and still in our first marriages, which were not very fulfilling. At that time phrases such as "family-of-origin" and "dysfunctional relationship" had no meaning to us, nor would they for some time to come. We were both into our work, which we used as a means to isolate from each other.

Our relationship began with a chance meeting one evening at a local bar and restaurant. We were each with friends from work and we would deny that we were looking for someone that evening. But meet we did, and we followed it up with an agreement to have lunch the next day. There was no doubt in our minds that we were meant for each other, and the lunch led us to an affair that lasted the next five years. As a result we eventually divorced our partners and got married a few months later. We were full of optimism that this time we were going to do things right.
Our first step [story] began in our families-of-origin. They determined whom we would look for in a partner as we began to date. We met early in that process while still in high school.

Mark was raised in a minister's home. His father was extremely strong and controlling emotionally, a very public person, admired greatly by the congregations he served. His mother was extremely passive, quiet, and shame-filled. While Mark's dad had little trouble sharing his thoughts and feelings, usually with religious interpretations and without boundaries, his mom usually talked to no one and shared almost nothing about herself.
A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Joy and a little boy named David. Both of them came from families that were not quite like other families. When they grew up big enough to get away from home, they went off to college.

David and Joy met each other, fell in love and got married. They were going to have a wonderful marriage and for a while it was. They were very much in love and they were going to have a child of their own and have their own wonderful family. Things would be different in their own wonderful family, not like their childhoods.
We have been married for four years and can say that we are really doing well as a couple for the first time. It has been a long and very painful road to where we are now, but it has been worth it.

We both come from alcoholic families. One is a survivor of incest (possibly both of us are), and both of us have had to endure the brutality of being raised in our out-of-control homes. We are in recovery for our individual addictions and attended the first RCA meeting in 1988. This is our story.
When I (Gabrielle) met Cheryl, I was not looking for the big "R." I was involved with a variety of women at the time and so was Cheryl. We were open about our non-monogamy and comfortable with it. On top of that, I lived in Los Angeles and Cheryl lived in San Jose (about four hundred miles apart). I had no expectations of anything serious coming out of our relationship. After hundreds of dollars in phone calls and plane fares, I started to feel a twinge in my heart, and I promptly ignored it by dating someone new.
Freedom From Bondage

Beth's Story

I am thirty-two years old, and have been in relationship with Stephen for three years. We have been attending RCA meetings together steadily for a year and one-half. Prior to meeting Stephen, I was sober in Alcoholics Anonymous for almost three years. God willing, I will soon celebrate six continuous years of sobriety in that program. Little did I know when I first got sober what other addictions awaited my discovery and my recovery from them!
The Search for Intimacy and Commitment

"Her Story"

Chuck and I met on a blind date for a fraternity party. I was instantly attracted. I guess it was mutual, as we started dating.

I was in nursing school; Chuck was in college. He went home for summer break. I stayed and pined for a letter or a phone call, all to no avail. By the end of summer, I had finally given up any hope of hearing from him again, when a letter came a week or so before school was to start. I was instantly hooked once more.