My favourite recovery author is John Bradshaw. He is the one who introduced me to the idea of the inner child. And he also helped me understand that alcoholism is never a primary illness, but rather it is a secondary disease. Bradshaw believes that the primary illness is co-dependency or as he says "the disease of the disease."

When I quit drinking I had a fear of not only going to jail but also ending up divorced. And at first this was the reason I quit drinking. But as time went on and I became a regular at AA meetings I slowly began feeling good about the direction my life was going.

But something happened along the way. My family wasn't enjoying the new me and whether consciously or sub-consciously they tried to sabotage my recovery. And I was slowly becoming that little lost boy again. I tried so hard to protect my mom from my dad with lies and stories. So hopefully he wouldn't beat her. I became a protector.

And in my sobriety I was finding that role again when I was trying to protect my ex-wife. It got to the point that I almost lost not only my sobriety but also myself.

About 8-10 months into my recovery, my counsellor suggested to me that since the 12 Steps worked so well for my alcoholism, why not apply them with my marriage. It was something I never thought of at that time. Could I be addicted to my wife?

I started working the 12 Steps of Al-anon and after six months I began to realize that my marriage was not only dysfunctional but it was also extremely toxic for my sobriety.

I began to understand that for my new life to flourish, part of me had to die. 14 months after I took my last drink, I sat down and wrote out what I would gain and what I would lose if I got a divorce. This is what I wrote on 11/8/1995. By April of 1996 I filed for divorce.

I would gain sanity and lose insecurity.
I would find respect and lose madness.
I would strengthen my sobriety and lose death.
I would find peace and lose confusion.
I would find inner strength and lose anger.
I'd understand gratitude and give up control.
The journey would be filled with excitement - not desperation.
I'd embrace trust and throw away manipulation.
I'd cherish spiritual comfort and lose mental exhaustion.
I'd find some initiative and throw away guilt.
I'd be autonomous without shame.
I'd recognize boundaries and lose the fear of abandonment.
I'd find freedom and thankfully understand my addictions.
I'd be able to forgive and no longer need resentments.
I'd hope for the future and accept the past.
I can accept His Will and no longer would I be in denial.
Instead of perfection, I was OK just being me.
I understood reality and threw away the fantasies.
And I found my dreams and lost the nightmares.
For me divorce was more about what I gained instead of what I lost. Yes, I woke up in the mornings alone, but I wasn't lonely. And instead of being in a dysfunctional relationship, I found a new support system with people that would become lifelong friends. Through the years the people have changed, but the friendships have remained strong. 

Sobriety couldn't save my marriage. But it wasn't because of a lack of effort. I walked away from that relationship knowing that for me to survive, part of me had to die. And like any scared little child would do, I took hold of His hand and let Him be in charge. And those fears and uncertainties disappeared as we went on a journey I never dreamed was possible.

Author's Bio: 

Dave Harm is a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for over 20 years. He is an NLP Master Practitioner, Hypnotist, and Life Coach. He is the author of three books and the creator of two musical CD's.

He shares his experience and journey on his website