Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a recovering couple?
A: The word “couple” is inclusive of any two people in a committed relationship without regard to legal status or sexual preference. A recovering couple is any partnership with a desire to remain committed to each other, and to restore and build healthy communication, caring, and greater intimacy.
We are couples who suffer from many different addictions and co-addictions, some identified and some not, some treated and some not. We come from many different levels of brokenness, and we want to build a new relationship based in recovery.
Q: What is Recovering Couples Anonymous?
A: Recovering Couples Anonymous is a 12-Step fellowship founded in the autumn of 1988. These are groups throughout the United States as well as worldwide. Although there is no organizational affiliation with Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), our 12 Steps, 12 Traditions, and principles are adapted from A.A.
The primary purpose of RCA is to stay committed in loving and intimate relationships and to help other couples achieve freedom from addicted and destructive relationships. By using the tools of the program, we take individual responsibility for the well-being of the relationship, build new intimacy, and find joy with each other.
We do not seek to blame our partner for the disease of our current situation. Both partners bring expectations, family-of-origin messages, abuse experiences, and individual abilities and coping mechanisms (including addictions) to the relationship. Through RCA we begin anew!
Q: How can Recovering Couples Anonymous help our relationship?
A: We in RCA know the many ways we have hurt ourselves and our coupleship. Often we have not had the foundation or role models to help us know how to live in a healthy relationship. We recognize that neither our love nor our relationship have been ideal.
The RCA principles are tools that have been guides to spiritual progress, rather than perfection. RCA helps us to help ourselves. We have found the support and hope in RCA to build deeper intimacy and to live free from destructive behavior.
Q: What are the tools to help us in our recovery?
A: We have found that working the program means using the available tools one day at a time. The most important tool is attending RCA 12-Step meetings. Here we learn how the program works, how to practice the 12 Steps together as a couple, and how to replace old unhealthy behavior patterns with healthy ways of relating.
We share our experience, strength, and hope with other couples. We learn how other couples have used RCA Tools in their daily lives. The tools include the RCA Blue Book, couple sponsors, the telephone, contracts, literature, service, affirmations, playing together, resolving conflicts, and finding spirituality and balance.
Q: How do we know whether the RCA program will work for us? Can RCA save our relationship?
A: There are no guarantees. We have found that there are no problems that you have experienced that are not common to many of us. We recognize that the purpose of RCA is not to keep couples together at all costs. Working the program as couples may lead some to the conclusion that it is healthiest to separate. The tools, the support, and the recovery experience are all there for you. The rest of it is up to you together, and your Higher Power.
Q: When we leave the meeting, what happens then?
A: The best advice is to keep working the program. Sometimes an idea, thought, or question brought about by the meeting may arise later. It is important to respect our partner’s boundaries, and to ask permission to talk about an issue. Each of us must feel safe so that openly sharing with each other will foster the trust and nurturance our relationship needs to grow and endure.
Q: What is sobriety in couple recovery?
A: We define sobriety as the ability to remain committed to the relationship. We believe sobriety begins when we take and accept the First Step together. “We admitted we were powerless over our relationship — that our life together had become unmanageable.” One way to affirm our growth is an RCA recovery medallion, which signifies our time in the program.
Q: What is a slip or relapse in couple recovery?
A: A slip occurs when we question our commitment, refuse to accept mutual, responsibility for our problems, get into blaming or judging behavior, violate the safety guidelines and/or stop working the program together. Usually our communication has broken down, and we have distanced ourselves from each other through old behaviors. A slip is a momentary lapse in progress, whereas a relapse is more serious and may require additional help.
For more information, visit the Recovering Couples Anonymous World Service Organization website at www.recovering-couples.org