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Partner in Recovery

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When I was coming out of relapse six months ago, I used a practice that had worked for me before: getting a Partner in Recovery. A “P in R” is a peer in the program who is available for a daily check-in.

I had learned this technique in Portland, Oregon, but since then had moved to Austin, Texas. At my new home meeting, I raised my hand, explained what a Partner in Recovery is, and asked for volunteers to speak to me after the meeting. Two people offered to be my partners, but I doubted their suitability: One proudly called herself “country” (whereas I am decidedly urban) and the other was a born-again Christian (I’m Jewish, with an aversion to evangelical Christians).

“Okay, God, how is this supposed to work?” I asked. My HP proceeded to show me how it worked. I stayed abstinent by speaking to these two women daily. Our conversations were sometimes about OA and sometimes not, sometimes amicable and sometimes confrontational. We tried to steer away from controversial topics like religion, politics, lifestyle choices, and different ways of working the program— sometimes successfully, sometimes not! What proved to be most effective about this telephone Tool was just showing up every day, no matter what, to do the best I was capable of at the time—just as I did with my abstinence.

At one point, I had a personality conflict with one of my partners over a misunderstanding. I developed a resentment toward her and needed to talk about it, but I was afraid the words wouldn’t come out right; I feared making matters worse. I wrote about it and talked to my sponsor. I prayed to my HP to help me heal this relationship. Finally, I spoke to her about my resentment. I knew I had a valid perspective. Fortunately, I was also open to hearing her perspective because it turned out to be valid too! We were both right; the only reason we did not agree was because we saw the same situation differently. After we talked, my resentment disintegrated. We continue to check in via telephone several times a week.

Getting to know this woman helped me a great deal and benefited my abstinence too. Could there be a correlation here—as my heart opens, my mouth closes?

— Mercy F., Austin, Texas USA

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