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Sobriety Contract?

Old 03-01-2018, 05:53 PM
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Sobriety Contract?

Hi all. I wanted to get some opinions on this idea.

My husband has been living in a sober house for the past two months and is now a little over 2 months sober. Hes been attempting and relapsing for a year prior.

He is hoping to come home soon and the counselors at his program think hes in a good place mentally, hes embraced spirituality, etc. I obviously have my reservations. I was reading on here and saw a relapse contract or something of the sort mentioned.

What has this looked like for others? We have a relapse plan that we made with his counselors of what to do if I come home and hes drunk, but a contract sounds interesting. I am not sure how I would feel about our relationship if he came home and relapsed soon after.

Thanks for your input!
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:48 PM
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As an addict talking, I'd sign your 'contract',while laughing about it in my head. As a guy with a bit over a year sober, I wouldn't sign or agree to any contract that does not pay me. Kinda like the addict me,but sober. It's a piece of, non legal binding, paper and that's it. To me it seems pointless. What if he 'voids' the contract? Is there some 'punishment' written on it that he's not already been told a bunch of times? I think codies have a hard time accepting that the situation is out of our control. No contract is going put you in control of his problem.
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Old 03-01-2018, 09:31 PM
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Hi Carter,

I can't imagine what that would look like. I've seen it mentioned as well but I can't remember any details if anyone ever provided any.

Thing is, adults shouldn't need contracts. He is either going to do what he says and mean what he says or he's not and no piece of paper will make a difference to that.

I think it's great that you do have a relapse plan in place. It's probably a good idea to think about what you, personally, might want to do in that instance. Hopefully he stays sober but what if he relapses?

You kind of need a plan. If that might mean you want to get out of there for a while have you put funds aside for that purpose? Do you have a place to go? Longer term if needed (that might just mean looking at rentals available in your area).

Although since you have discussed relapse you might have some of those practical actions in place, if they should be needed.
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Old 03-02-2018, 04:50 AM
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DontRemember- what’s what I kind of figured, but had seen it posted about here and was wondering if something that magical existed
I think what I’m aiming for would be something that spelled out “consequences” like rehab or more separation while we are both of clear minds, since the event isn’t in our faces right now.
“Wouldn’t sign it unless it’s for money” haha exactly what my AH would say! Thanks for the input!
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Old 03-02-2018, 04:59 AM
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Trailmix- thanks for your response!
I am fortunate that my parents live about 30 minutes away and have offered me a place to stay as well as friends in my area who know what’s going on. I haven’t been setting aside money yet, but that’s a good idea. I wonder how people do that when sharing finances with their alcoholic spouse?
If things got out of control again (lying, sketchy behavior, etc) then I think I would have to be done with the relationship. I understand relapse can be part of someone’s journey, but mentally I can’t handle being lied to and gaslighted anymore. I got to a low point when I told him to leave in December and it’s been great for him and our relationship (aka I like him again lol), I just don’t know that that will happen again.
One relapse though and he tells me? Not quite sure what that would mean...
Anyway thank you for your response! Many things to think about!
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Old 03-02-2018, 05:33 AM
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Carter.....he has only been in the sober house for 2 months and HE is wanting to come home, soon....You say that he h as been sober only "a little over 2 months" (total?).....and that he has embraced spirituality.....
The "spirituality" part reminds me of the guys that become "born again" while in prison and forget all about that when they return to life in the outside world.

I, like you, have some reservations about this short time period...about ten weeks....
My husband and I owned an Oxford House, once...and, the average stay was 6 months to 1 a nd 1/2 year. (they got passes for visits with family)....
The fact t hat you have no idea what you would do if he relapsed after coming home.....don't you think that means that you need more time, yourself...to work on yourself....?
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Old 03-02-2018, 05:37 AM
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it reads like ya have to have boundaries more than a contract.
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Old 03-02-2018, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by trailmix View Post
Hi Carter,

I can't imagine what that would look like. I've seen it mentioned as well but I can't remember any details if anyone ever provided any.

Thing is, adults shouldn't need contracts. He is either going to do what he says and mean what he says or he's not and no piece of paper will make a difference to that.

I think it's great that you do have a relapse plan in place. It's probably a good idea to think about what you, pers
onally, might want to do in that instance. Hopefully he stays sober but what if he relapses?

You kind of need a plan. If that might mean you want to get out of there for a while have you put funds aside for that purpose? Do you have a place to go? Longer term if needed (that might just mean looking at rentals available in your area).

Although since you have discussed relapse you might have some of those practical actions in place, if they should be needed.
Any kind of contract is, IMO, silly and unlikely to be "an incentive" or "promise" or anything, as far as this alcoholic thinks.

I never quit drinking til I - JUST ME- wanted to be sober more than I wanted to drink, or to be anything else.

I am also wary of "planning for relapse" as I don't think about relapse- it's just not an option. I am certainly on the far adamant end of the scale about my sobriety being my absolute priority.
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Old 03-02-2018, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by DontRemember View Post
As a guy with a bit over a year sober, I wouldn't sign or agree to any contract that does not pay me. Kinda like the addict me,but sober.
impressive growth in a year,DR- a year plus ago ya would have mentioned a signing bonus.
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Old 03-02-2018, 06:29 AM
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He may be sober two months but he's still an alcoholic and thinks like one. Real change takes a long time and is hard work. What kind of program does he have? He can be spiritual today and drunk tomorrow. I would give it more time.
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Old 03-02-2018, 06:45 AM
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Since you have zero control over whether or not HE relapses, with or without a contract, I would say maybe just a contract/boundary you set for yourself is the only instance where you have control over whether or not a contract is honored. What will YOU do if he relapses? I WISH there was a magical contract that could be drawn up with an alcoholic! That would be great-but in my mind my AH already broke the marriage contract, whats a different contract going to mean to him-probably nothing...
Good luck!
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Old 03-02-2018, 06:50 AM
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Hi Carter

If it's a contract you'd like, have you considered making a contract from and for yourself? At least you would know the signer could honor the conditions

Maybe write down the things you want in your life, the things you don't and make an agreement with yourself about what will and wont happen as a result of certain actions, in-actions and behaviors?

Good luck, dealing with addicts is never easy, no matter what.

hug
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:13 AM
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Thank you all so much for your answers! It has made me sit and think a lot more than I would have previously.

He has a good program, a sponsor he likes and respects (I also have met his sponsor and like him a lot) and has been doing 90 meetings in 90 days (I guess now he's at 70)- all good signs and much more than I've seen previously. But, as I've been telling him, 2 months is great but very small in the grand scheme of things. We are having dinner tonight so I'm hoping to talk some of these things through with him.


Now that I think about it, I think I will make a list of my "must haves" in my home, including him regularly attending meetings, consistent honesty, no lashing out, etc. I want to draw hard lines/boundaries for what I will and will not live with. If he agrees and then breaks them, I want him to be aware of what I will do, meaning leaving our home. I think that's what I was thinking with a "contract," but like you all are saying, this would be for me, not for him.

But, dandy, like you said- I still need to continue working on myself. I go to alanon, individual counseling, family sessions and couples counseling through his treatment facility (busy busy!). I'm hoping through one of those I can find some clarity.
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:36 AM
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Carter....it sounds like that is a good set-up that he is in....for both of you.
Just make sure that the boundaries are for you...and not a set of "rules" you are making for him.....
another thing...it is up to you whether you voice the boundaries to him or not. Your choice. Remember that the boundaries are for you and you don't have to share them if you don't want to.....

One place where the boundaries come into play could be if he starts to pressure you for him to come home before YOU are ready for him. The spouse will frequently give in to pressures from the alcoholic. They can be good at putting on the guilt trip when they want something. Codies gravitate to guilt like moths to a flame...LOL....
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:59 AM
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Hi Carter,

I had a sobriety contract with my wife while she was using... it basically listed what behaviors were acceptable and which were not... it was a stopgap measure until she was able to go to rehab. It listed the consequences of breaking the contract (basically being kicked out of the house). She signed it.

When she did break the contract (which is to be expected in all honesty), I went thru with the consequence (and that is the toughest part, you must follow up).

Now, she is done with the rehab and living sober facility and back home. We have a boundary contract.. we have both signed it, and it goes both ways... it is about what we are willing to accept as behaviours... we developed this with the oversight of the therapists/counselors and have it posted in a location where we can see it daily. This document will not keep her sober, but serves as a reminder as to what is at stake and expected while living as partners. She knows that i will act upon it if she violates the boundaries, and so that helps to hold herself more accountable. In the end, it is just a piece of paper... it is only as strong as the person that needs to enforce the consequence of violating the boundary.

If you want some examples of what our boundaries are, send me a PM.
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Old 03-02-2018, 10:11 AM
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I didn't have an exact contract with my ex, but we worked with a mediator to establish a protocol we would follow in the event that he missed a Sober Link test.

It was useless essentially. In each case he argued why I was abusing the "intent" behind our agreement and how a missed test shouldn't be interpreted that he was drinking etc.

This in spite of the fact that the protocol spelled out specifically: we agree to treat a missed test as if he were drinking.

The protocol was just a way of him getting me off his back and nothing more.

I like the idea of a contract with yourself, however. That would be enforceable!
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Old 03-02-2018, 11:34 AM
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When I think contract I think more of a relapse plan.


For example. You relapsed. We agree that you will leave and stay at X place until X happens. We agree you will only see child under X conditions.

That sort of thing. So basically it's all in agreement before it happens. Hope and pray for the best, prepare for the worst.
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