Here’s the dilemma; chemically problematic men and women don’t do well in ‘relationships’. An extremely high percentage of people who try to get clean and sober but then repeatedly find themselves relapsing, relapse because of relationship break-down and the subsequently overwhelming feelings of hurt, loss, and failure. For too many people, conflict in a relationships spells the end of the relationship. That’s one of the reasons why many counsellors and many 12 Step Recovery stalwarts advise, ‘don’t get involved in romantic relationships in early recovery’. And whilst that makes sense, the fact is, some of the key character failings within many addiction orientated people and a major contributing factor of most relationship failure is the lack of boundaries and the inability to say yes when we mean yes and no when we mean no. So telling them to avoid romantic relationships is like telling the alcoholic not to drink anymore, it’s a good idea and everyone can see the sense in it, but it is inevitably the build up to further disappointment.  Bethesda Addiction Rehab assumes and accepts that many of our struggling families and relapsing pilgrims, without even realizing it, would rather have a bad relationship that no relationship. So, reaching out to those guys, I want to ask, ‘did you ever consider that you may not know how to handle conflict in a healthy way’? I want to talk to you about how to identify what you turn into when the going gets tough.

Five Conflict Styles:

Avoiders – Have one intention, ‘staying out of conflict’. Avoiders need to be unassertive people-pleasers and therefore must be prepared for the ‘other side’ to feel as if they are right and /or that they can get anything they want from you.

The Turtles silently say; “I am not interested enough to invest into this conflict”.

Long term avoidance increases inner frustrations and fosters a belief that ‘I am weak’ which then develops internal (passive) hostility

Accommodators – With the intentions of preserving relationships at all costs, they will sweep issues under the carpet and do anything not to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Teddy Bears silently say: “We must get along and not let ‘things’ come between us”.

Long term accommodators have to produce a false front of cooperation, cheerfulness and love for other people. Accommodators always increase in self-dislike and frustrations about having to hold every one of their relationships together

Compromisers – always have the intention of awarding the other side just a little bit of winning in order to manipulate them into a majority loss.

Foxes silently say: “We must all submit our personal desires and serve the common good, as long as I benefit the most”

Long term compromising create strained relationships with very little commitment to anything and recurring relational conflicts

Competitors – intention of winning. The shark has the following philosophy, ‘there are only two options, winning and losing and winning is best’.

Sharks say: “I know what’s best for everyone concerned all the time so don’t get in my way”

Long term competing styles produce ingrained hostility and half-hearted implementation of solutions and a decreased goal achievement.

Collaborators – Whether you are right or wrong, you can choose to take 85% of the responsibility for getting all parties fully involved in defining the conflict and in carrying out mutually agreeable steps for resolving the conflict.


Owl’s say “Everyone’s goal is important, let’s work together, let’s create a win-win situation”


All in inclusive collaboration produces trust, strong relationships, mutual enthusiasm and workable implementations of solutions.


Please don’t hesitate to contact Colin Garnett or Bethesda on Facebook for questions or discussions.