Monday, November 24, 2014

Rediscovering A Communication Tool

wish this was my shed!
Recently, the hubby and I cleaned out our shed.  It had become a catchall for things we didn’t know what to do with, but didn’t want to get rid of, you know, just in case we needed it again. 

Through the passage of time, some of the things that were placed in there were forgotten.  They became rusted, warped, and no longer usable.  The neglect was evident. We had to choose what was salvageable, what we’d use again, and what should just be donated or tossed into the trash. 

Our recoveries are similar to those long forgotten items in the shed.  We have program tools tucked away for a later date, techniques worn from constant use, and things that didn’t work and were discarded.

One of the tools we rediscovered in our recovery together was FANOS. Some of you may remember me talking about FANOS a couple of years ago. 

It’s a check-in conversation that works like this:

F is for Feelings

Each person shares theirs feelings for the day.  If they felt triggered by anger or disappointment, they can talk it through.  It’s also a chance to share successes and happiness.

A is for Affirmations

This is an opportunity to let your partner know you support them and let them know you love and have faith in them.  Something like, “I promise to have open and honest communication with you.” Or, “I affirm to continue to work on my recovery.”

N is for Needs

If you need your partner to do something, now is the perfect time to ask.  Maybe it’s a request to have patience with you or take time to listen to your concerns.  It’s also an opportunity to let your partner know what you need to do for yourself.  It could be quiet time to write or do step work.

O is for Ownership

This is a chance to apologize for your actions.  “I’m sorry I snapped at you earlier.” Or, “I need to let you know I forgot to do that favor you asked of me.”

S is for Sobriety and Self-Care

If the addict is struggling with their recovery and had a slip, this is a great way to tell their partner.  There’s no yelling in FANOS, only love and support.  It’s also the perfect time to share what you’ve been doing in your recovery to maintain sobriety.  Perhaps you talked to your sponsor, or worked on your steps, now’s your chance to let your partner know.  It will help them feel reassured in your recovery.


It’d been quite some time since we used the communication tool.  We’d fallen into a comfortable, albeit stagnant, place in our marriage.  We didn’t think we needed it anymore and it slowly fell away.

But, when you’re married to a recovering addict, and you’re one too, you have to work on your recovery everyday or things can become wonky. You tend to turn inwards instead of turning to your partner.

FANOS is one of several recovery tools we took out of the program shed, cleaned up, and put back into use.  And, things have been smooth ever since. We're back to communicating the way we used to.

Credit for FANOS goes to Faithful and True Ministries

 What’s your favorite way to connect with your partner? Is it time to clean out your communication shed or garage? What about your real storage place, does that need to be organized?