Untoxicated Podcasts

Exploring the questions of alcoholic relationship recovery.

For alcoholics, there is a direct relationship between the shame from past behaviors, and a tangible liquid called alcohol. For the loved ones of alcoholics, spouses in particular, the source of shame is far less direct and recognizable. The shame for the loved ones grows diabolically out of regret. It is a complex web that keeps people stuck, and Sheri and Matt talk all about regret and how to break free. What would you say if we told you regret was actually a good thing?

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

Do you remember a correction, disciplinary action or criticism from years or decades ago that still hurts? We bet the person who delivered those words doesn’t remember. Have you ever delivered a message that someone will never forget? Pain inflicted between people who love each other, often between parents and their kids of any age, is common. Just because we reach the age of independence doesn’t mean we don’t care what our parents think. And just because our kids don’t need us anymore doesn’t mean they don’t yearn for connection. On this episode, Sheri and Matt discuss the impact of painful words between parents and kids, as well as between spouses, and the impact those words have on addiction and recovery.

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

There is an enormous relief that comes with shining a light into the dark corners and letting the truth be heard. And it is more than emotional and mental relief – it is vitally important to our physical health to find an outlet for the truth. It is not as easy as it sounds – especially in an alcoholic relationship where the stories are woven together. But like Ellen says, the truth always wins.

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

Active alcohol addiction is not always loud and chaotic. Sometimes, the silence of the person suffering the pain of addiction causes a different kind of trauma. On this episode, Sheri and Matt welcome Kate to the podcast. She shares her experiences with insecurity, strategizing her communication, and a willingness to do whatever it took to end the silence. At the end of the episode, Kate explains why having these conversations out loud is so important to her healing process.

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

Experiencing the addiction and early sobriety of a loved one can feel painful, lonely, chaotic, traumatic, isolating and terrorizing for the spouses of alcoholics. On this episode, Matt asks Sheri to recall the emotions she experienced in different stages of the process. The first step to recovery is to realize you are not alone. If you are married to an alcoholic, and you are stuck in painful confusion, this episode might start to unlock a path forward.

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

The healing that comes for some in the recovery from alcoholism is the result of hard work. We have to want sobriety for ourselves, and not to appease someone else. We also have to want sobriety because of the immense benefits, not because we are running away from something we can no longer have. In this episode, Sheri and Matt explain that there is nothing subtle about the differences in approaches taken by those who find success in recovery, versus those who get stuck, unable to make it over the hump.

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

Trust and alcoholism can’t coexist. Intimacy is impossible without trust and vulnerability. So, alcoholism and intimacy are mutually exclusive. If you are in an alcoholic relationship, something important is missing (but you already know that). On this episode, Sheri and Matt talk about the two paths sexual contact can take in an alcoholic marriage. They explain the childbirth fork in the road, and challenge their own assumptions about maturity. The couple discusses why it is so hard to communicate about satisfaction, and pin the blame for a lot of the dysfunction on a sex education curriculum that is designed to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancy, and never explains female pleasure. At the risk of oversimplification, Sheri and Matt summarize why intimacy during or after alcoholism is so elusive, and how it can be restored.

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

Our family and our friends mean well when they give us advice about our alcoholic marriages. The problem with well-meaning advice from people who have never walked in our shoes is that it often misses the mark. In fact, it often ads significantly to the pain we are already enduring. No one explains it better than our guest on this episode. Dawn shares her writing on this topic, and discusses the pain of “helpful advice” with Sheri and Matt. The three of them brainstorm alternative ways to support without adding to the stress and hurt.

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

As an active alcoholic, Matt put a lot of the blame for their dysfunctional marriage on Sheri. In early sobriety, he blamed himself for the overwhelming shame he felt. The whole time, Sheri was convinced Matt and his drinking were to blame. Once the couple learned to blame the alcohol, treat alcoholism like the disease that it is, and think of the addict as a third person separate from Matt, there was some relief. But sobriety doesn’t fix anything, and that realization is where the work started. On this episode, Sheri and Matt talk about how alcoholics in recovery can’t hide behind the disease diagnosis. Resentment processing must take place, and the road to rebuilding trust is long and challenging. We should rightly blame the disease, but we still have to do the work of recovery or the marriage simply cannot ever get better.

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

“I look at the face that looks back at me from the mirror, and it’s jarring. I look like I’ve aged ten years in just this last one. But it’s more than superficial. The heartbreak that came with my husband’s near death with end-stage alcoholism has cracked open my heart.” Kathy has learned so much while she endured tremendous pain, and on this episode, she shares both her experiences, and her passion for change in the way our society views and manages alcohol and addiction. She explains how she sees alcohol everywhere, creating chaos and dysfunction. And she explains why the normalization of alcohol abuse, and the low success rates in addiction recovery, can no longer be tolerated.

Kathy references Inside Recovery by Anne Fletcher.

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.