How are relationships compromised?

[Audience question] The relationship can be compromised by death, divorce, alcoholism or some kind of compulsivity. In a compromised relationship, the thing that was supposed to happen, didn't happen. Or whatever did get passed on was compromised. Now this has nothing to do with the brain chemistry but we're looking at a biological, psychological and sociological model. AA's sociological model is interesting:- change playmates, playpens and playthings. The Big Book suggests that separated couples should stay separated unless and until they can get back together on a different basis. So we're looking for a 12 Step based spiritual resolution to problems which go beyond brain chemistry.

[Audience question "My mother wore the pants in my family. Is that what you're referring to?"]

Yes, absolutely. There's a wonderful line, in The Family Afterwards, where daddy returns from treatment to a family where mummy has been wearing the pants. He's learned a whole new way to live but no one has transmitted this to her. She's still running the family as it was run before. So, they are now operating on different planes and all hell breaks loose. I didn't have that experience with my wife but I had it with my partner in medical practice. He had been the grown-up and I had been the "charismatic physician", who was good at both charisma and medicine. I had been bright, aggressive, assertive and funny, like any other 20 year old. But now I'd returned from treatment with a new direction - to be a grown up. But for him it was business as usual. We used to talk for an hour every Monday morning and I would say "I'm pissed off". He'd say, "Who are you pissed off with?" and I'd say "You". Now we had been to college together and were very close. He'd say, "Do you know why you're pissed off with me?" I'd say "No" and he'd say, "Well OK, I love ya" and I'd think "Well screw you! Of course you can say you love me but how can we possibly fight with that stupid answer? This is the part where we are supposed to say, "I hate you" and "I hate you too" and fight!" This is a family illness and the family needs to get better too.