When a partner has a substance use disorder, there’s a lot of mistrust. There’s a lot of lying and hiding which damages the intimacy, connection, and faith in the relationship. Afterward, all of that has to be repaired.

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When you’re in recovery and in a relationship, the person with the addiction, the partner, and the relationship all need recovering. 

On today’s episode, Duane talks with international corporate attorney Chantal Jauvin about her journey to recovery as a partner of someone with a substance abuse disorder.

As an international corporate attorney with expertise in trade law and financial services, Chantal has worked with Fortune 500 companies from around the world, dealing with matters from free trade zone manufacturing in Costa Rica to fast-moving consumer goods in Europe. Her work has allowed her to travel to different places including Cambodia, Russia, and Vienna.

Chantal’s journey of recovery started by meeting the man that she fell in love with (who eventually became her husband). Soon, she found out about his dark secret: he was a functional alcoholic. She was not aware that he was struggling with a disease or that he was hiding it. She was initially in denial of his addiction. She made excuses that just left her blindsided. Finally, they went to relationship counseling and that paved the way for her husband’s healing process.

In her new book, “Love Without Martinis: How Couples Build Healthy Relationships in Recovery Based on Real Stories,” Chantal shares her wisdom about healing through the stories of real couples going through the same experience. As she says in the interview, it is the book she wished she had at the beginning of her journey of understanding and growing while loving someone who is in their own recovery. 

Today, she talks about her experience, how she got to this book, and how she was able to get other couples to talk about their experiences and share their wisdom of what they learned going through this experience. 

In this episode, you will hear:

  • Chantal’s professional background as an attorney
  • Her journey of recovery with her husband’s addiction problems
  • How her husband’s changing behavior prompted her to change as well
  • The different phases that a partner of someone with substance abuse disorder goes through
  • The benefits of having a third party to help your partner through addiction treatment
  • What Chantal did during the treatment and recovery process
  • How the relationship needs to be fixed as well
  • How she got other couples to share their own stories of addiction recovery

Key Quotes:

[06:19] – “I do what I think a lot of us who love someone who struggles with alcohol is, in my mind, I make a lot of excuses.”

[08:08] – “When you love someone who has an addiction, all of a sudden your world closes in and all you can think of is how you’re going to get them to stop drinking.”

[10:24] – “I wasn’t happy with my own behavior, how I was becoming so wrapped in him.”

[12:59] – “I was not aware that he was struggling with a disease. But I knew something wasn’t right about all this alcohol.”

[15:18] – “What happens when you have a third party that comes into the conversation, they’re able to bring perspective and able to ask the right questions.”

[17:32] – “I had to learn to let him be in charge of his own recovery, but be supportive of him.” 

[21:33] – “In recovery, when you’re in a relationship there is – I am recovering. My partner is recovering, but our relationship is recovering.”

[22:38] – “It’s hard to be vulnerable to someone who has not been trustworthy. So how do you re-establish that connection?”

[31:52] – “The thing about addiction, we have to remember is we’re not dealing with the person, we’re really dealing with the disease.”

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Supporting Resources:

Love Without Martinis: How Couples Build Healthy Relationships in Recovery Based on Real Stories