We admitted we were powerless over our relationship – that our lives together had become unmanageable.
Most of us have family-of-origin issues and all have a history. We may not have gotten what we needed emotionally, physically, mentally or spiritually. When we were growing up there may have been abuse (physical, sexual, spiritual, or emotional), abandonment, or deprivation. We all bring baggage to the coupleship. The Steps teach us how to look at our baggage and how to reverse the process of blaming.
Both of us are responsible for the presence or absence of intimacy between us. As soon as each of us accepts mutual responsibility, we are ready for Step One of RCA. Step One involves taking full responsibility for the health or disease of the relationship. Each person carries 100%.
Occasionally some couples might not be far enough along in their individual recovery, (or not in recovery at all), to be able to answer the following questions; or they might get into fights or other dysfunctional behavior simply by having certain issues raised. In these cases, we encourage Step work be done only in the presence of sponsoring couples.
Couples come into RCA at different stages. Step One involves understanding dysfunctional patterns. It also involves understanding family-of-origin issues, personality traits and other individual issues that affect our current coupleships.
Writing is important for clarity and thoroughness. It is suggested you:
1. Read aloud the Safety Guidelines.
2. Take one pencil and one piece of paper and begin the process together. RCA is about the we-ness and us-ness of our relationship. In RCA, we open ourselves up to a new way of thinking and living in coupleship.
3. Make couple decisions: Who will hold the pencil and do the writing? Are you able to share, negotiate or compromise? Is there a power struggle? And, are you ready to take the First Step?
4. Divide the paper in half with a vertical line down the middle.
5. Make lists of the coupleship issues over which you feel powerless.
6. Alternatively, one partner writes and the other dictates, or the partners may write their own parts.
We suggest you answer the following questions:
1. What dysfunctional roles have you brought from your family of origin?
2. What have your family-of-origin models taught you about relationships?
3. If you have had experiences of abuse, how had those affected your ability to relate, to be intimate, and to be sexual?
4. How do your individual addictions or dysfunctions affect your coupleship?
5. What are recurring issues you never seem to resolve (e.g., how you spend money, how you spend our time together, parent, divide the household duties, or celebrate the holidays, etc.)?
6. How do these issues bring you to anger and what are your patterns of expressing anger?
7. In what ways do you feel hopeless about your coupleship?
8. In order to save your coupleship, what measures have you tried that havent seemed to work?
9. How do you fight unfairly?
Understanding the powerlessness and unmanageability of your relationship is key. Remember, you are a beautiful and unique couple that deserves recovery. Having surrendered thus far, you are ready to take Step Two.