Couple's Recovery Workshop
The Partner's Contract
Establishing the Contract
The following contract is to be personalized, printed and signed by both partners. Each tenet should be discussed to the point of mutual understanding and initialed by you both — once you both agree to abide by it. The purpose of this contract is to provide direction, stability and control in what can often be a volatile time in recovery/healing. These are the 'ground rules' for a healthy couple's recovery.
The Partnership Contract
I, _____________________________ do pledge:
To take personal responsibility for ending addiction in my life.
To not allow any excuses, obstacles or challenges distract me from this responsibility.
To make the transition to a healthy life a top priority — above even saving my marriage/relationship.
An understanding that there are no guarantees inherent with recovering as a couple. That the decision to continue the relationship has not yet been made. That a healthy decision can't be made until two healthy individuals merge from this recovery or it becomes apparent that such health will not be achieved.
To invest the next six months (at least) of my life developing new life management skills and learning how to effectively use them.
To continue to evolve the skills that I learn (on my own and as a team), long after the workshop has ended.
To make decisions based on long-term health, not short-term advantage.
To encourage my partner in her healing efforts. Not to hijack or manage those efforts, but to support her management of them.
Not to seek/assign blame for the problems in our relationship but rather, to acknowledge that there are problems and work together to solve them.
To construct a value system that consists of no less than eight active areas of my life that are capable of generating meaning and purpose (e.g. marriage, career, kids, hiking, music, etc.)
To mechanically monitor my life as laid out by the Recovery Workshop for at least six months. This will involve one month of (less than five minutes) daily monitoring and five months of (less than fifteen minutes) weekly monitoring.
To never consciously deceive my partner as a means of minimizing personal responsibility for my actions or 'protecting' her from pain.
That I have shared everything about my addiction to the best of my recollection/willingness. And that anything I continue to hold on to, I am doing so because I am not ready to share it openly.
That I have no hidden relationships, accounts, magazines, files, etc., that I have stashed away. All of them have been either destroyed or acknowledged.
That I will not allow a single compulsive urge to go unchallenged. I may not be able to control these urges, but I will never allow them to evolve into destructive action without putting up a conscious fight.
That I will immediately share with my partner, support system and/or recovery coach any ritual that I do not manage successfully.
To communicate to my partner and/or support system those times when I recognize complacency, confusion or conflict settling in to my recovery.
To monitor my recovery for signs of 'going through the motions' and take action when such signs are observed.
To seek as a privilege, not a punishment, opportunities to develop my emotional maturity and life skills.
To learn and respect the evolving values of my partner.
To accept all consequences of all my decisions. That includes any decision to withhold information, to engage in secret behavior, etc. I understand that it doesn't matter if the consequences are reasonable or just. Just as I have chosen to engage in the behavior; others have the choice of how they will respond. I am responsible for my actions.
To accept all consequences from having violated my partner's boundaries. This, as dictated by my partner's observations, not my own.
Keep mindful that my partner is imperfect and deserves understanding and patience. That she will make mistakes — some in direct contradiction to what is healthy.
To discover, acknowledge and eliminate all destructive communication rituals that I engage in.
To never use violence, emotional abuse, coercion or other threats to manipulate or otherwise control/repress my partner.
To respect my partner's boundaries surrounding sexuality: including a refrain from unwanted sexual advances, sexual pressure, sexual expectation, etc. I recognize that any sexual activity between us during this period of recovery must be mutually desired.
I, _____________________________ do pledge:
To take personal responsibility for healing from the trauma that I have experienced. I have both the right to heal and the right to live a healthy life. To surround myself with healthy people.
To allow myself to feel the pain of this discovery without shame or embarrassment. I did not cause this addiction. Our marriage did not cause this addiction. Both have merely been caught in its web.
Understanding that there is no path that I am 'supposed to' follow. That whatever I feel, is natural. When it becomes destructive to my own life or others (e.g. neglecting my kids, my career, my friends, etc.), it is my responsibility to take action. I am accountable for the destruction that results from my behavior — even if that behavior is directly related to his addiction.
To hold my partner accountable as a mature adult, not a child. That his skills may be immature is not a sufficient reason to lesson my expectations of him acting like an adult. I will be compassionate as he develops this maturity, but will hold him accountable for what he does during the development.
To share my feelings, thoughts and experiences openly — using healthy judgment as to when, to who and how I share them.
To rebuild trust in my instincts. To use these instincts in guiding the gray areas of my life. To develop the courage to act on these instincts.
To separate my healing needs from my partner's recovery needs — acknowledging we have different paths to travel as individuals, but respecting the importance of both.
That I will make a decision to stay with my partner based primarily on my love for him and his ability to meet my most important needs; not because I feel pressured/stuck in the relationship.
To build a life of my own, capable of sustaining meaning and fulfillment regardless of my partner's commitment to his recovery.
To acknowledge that challenges existed within our marriage/relationship prior to the discovery of this addiction.
To not use avoidance as means of managing our relationship.
To acknowledge that I have made mistakes in my own life, in our marriage/relationship and will continue to make mistakes.
To not settle for sticking my head in the sand. I do not want to sweep this crisis under the rug, nor do I want it to just go away. Instead, I want to take the time we need to fundamentally change our relationship.
To establish a boundary system that is clear and healthy; to teach my partner those boundaries; and to work together to enforce them. This means providing ongoing feedback, support and encouragement to my partner as he recognizes those boundaries.
To encourage and support my partner in his effort to change his life.
Understanding that my partner will not achieve perfection in his recovery. That he will make mistakes — some irrational, some selfish, some immature — that could serve as grounds for destroying any progress that has been made. I will instead place these actions in the context of addiction recovery, not perfection.
Within reason, I will accept gradual progress in my partner's recovery when it is accompanied by sincere effort.
To seek out changes in my partner with objectivity and optimism. I want him to succeed. I want him to become healthy.
To keep perspective between the ideals and the reality of my partner's recovery. For instance, while I would like for him to experience no urges, I know this is an unrealistic ideal. In reality, I will separate these urges from his response to them.
To provide my partner with a safe environment from which he can learn about his addiction, pursue recovery and transition into a healthy person.