Tue. May 17th, 2022

Betrayal in addiction recovery

By Dr. Louise Stanger, Ed.D, LCSW CIP

Double Cross – Betrayal

As a verb: Deceive or betray (a person with whom one is supposedly cooperating)
Synonyms: Betray, cheat, defraud, trick, hoodwink, mislead, swindle, deceive, be disloyal to, be unfaithful to, play false
As a noun: A betrayal of someone with whom one is supposedly cooperating

Have you ever experienced betrayal? Have you ever been doubled cross? Have you ever felt that someone you knew and loved was not the person you thought them to be? That their actions were diametrically opposed to who you thought they were?

Recently, I was faced with a situation which left me speechless. I thought the world was going one way and now it went disastrously another.

In Falling Up, I wrote, “Sometimes I wonder: Is life a series of falling ups? Dotted Swiss cheese holes of stability followed by a series of falling downs – a maneuver perfected by Humpty Dumpty.”

…and here as I approach my 70th year I find myself again at a crossroads, devastated that the trust I placed in someone was violated and shook my very core.

Self-Doubt Is Part Of The Process

I wondered what was wrong with me? What signs did I miss? Was it blind faith that made me miss the mark? Was it that I always wanted a son to replace mine that died and so I took this person unwittingly into my heart?

Surely, I had a part to play.

We all have a part to play and surely I should of known better. And yet, the signs were not there swimming on the surface. Was it greed or the belief that I was being taken care of?

I don’t know.

We Have Two Choices

I do know that when we are faced with betrayal we have choices. One to let anger and resentment fill rent in our head. But this makes us sick and full of righteous indignation. Living in anger does nothing but eat away at our soul.

The second choice we have is to follow the 12 Step program, step up the number of meetings we attend, readings we do, reach outs to others, work the steps, and to do the footwork to take action. To show compassion to our betrayer and pray for them.


The Serenity Prayer Is My Mantra

In my situation I am reinvesting myself in meetings and Step 1. I am talking to confidential advisors and to people in the program, gathering at and doing the necessary footwork to take care of the situation.

On an emotional level, I know that underneath anger… betrayal is grave sadness.

I feel like there has been a death in my family, the death of a trusted loyal loved one and I know I must do the grief work so I may move on tattered with a hole in my heart and ever resilient. That, perhaps, is the most challenging part to bear my soul in sorrow.





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