What Is A "Fully Baked" Recovery?

addiction betrayal marriage Nov 21, 2023


In last week's post, I tweaked a famous Morpheus quote for use in recovery...

Have you ever had an experience that you were so sure was "recovery"?
What if you were unable to see all that you were missing?
How would you know the difference between a half-baked recovery and a full one?


By using the concept of First, Second and Third Order Change, we drew distinct differences between Sobriety, Recovery and Identity.

In part two, we'll identify one of the biggest limiting factors for marriage recovery and explore what third order change actually looks like.  Let's roll!


Limiting Factor

MRC employs a comprehensive and holistic approach to marriage recovery by addressing the needs of the Unfaithful, the Betrayed and the Marriage System simultaneously.

Each of these three "clients" has distinctly separate work to do in recovery.   While each spouse is individually responsible for their own progress, they are also jointly responsible for the health of the marriage system.

As such, limited growth by either spouse becomes the limiter for the marriage system.  For example, if one spouse achieves 2nd order change, but the other refuses to engage the work at all (zero order change), then marriage has zero chance of healing and often ends in divorce.

Or, if one spouse achieves 3rd order change, but the other only achieves 2nd order change, then marriage is limited to 2nd order. 

So for a marriage system to achieve the greatest level of healing, 3rd order change, both spouses must individually reach 3rd order change.


Defining the Impossible

Because anything less than third order change is a :half-baked recovery" (technically 0%, 33% or 66%), it becomes imperative to understand what qualifies as third order change. 

Doing so is extremely difficult considering the fact that third order change is defined as...

"changes at the very core of a person's identify and purpose. These changes are often described as spiritual or transcendental and involved connecting with something much greater than ones self."

Is it possible to put into words a "spiritual or transcendental transformation" or the experience of "connecting with something much greater than ones self"?

Honestly, you can't... you have to experience it!  It's both thrilling and terrifying to walk by faith into the unknown, being uncertain of what you're missing, but knowing you want it.

It's like the moment Neo had to choose... blue pill or red pill.  He had no idea what awaited him, but he wanted to find out.  He took a leap of faith, trusted his guide, and chose to "see how far the rabbit hole went."


3rd Order Change 

Though impossible to fully capture, I will attempt to describe third order change for all three "clients."  Words cannot do justice to what the experience is truly like.  However, those that have tasted and seen the fruit of 3rd order change easily recognize others who have tasted it as well.  (Likewise, they can easily spot those who haven't.) 



Experiencing not just sobriety, but a deep understanding of the roots of their addiction, followed by transformative release from the trauma that initially planted those roots.  To experience and live in the power of the gospel of grace, distinct from religious performance.  To regain their True Identity and create inner harmony with all parts of self.  This level of transformation often requires addiction-informed EMDR and IFS.


To feel whole and safe in their own body, protected by healthy, enforceable boundaries that flow from love.  To feeling not only seen, heard and understood by a spouse, but also to accept and rescue their own wounded parts from a lifetime of pain.  To identify their own maladaptive coping mechanisms and identify the roots of trauma and transform them into narrative.  To discover their true voice and learn how to use it in honest, assertive ways without the shackles of co-dependency, religious abuse, rage, etc.  This level of transformation often requires addiction-informed EMDR and IFS.

Marriage System

For both spouses to feel seen, heard and understood on the deepest level possible.  To feel safe in bring one's full self vulnerably and honestly to the relationship without fear of criticism, attack, rejection or manipulation.  To fully know and to be fully known without shame.  To experience the fullness of intimacy as distinct from sex, as deeply as any humans can this side of eternity.  To experience love, acceptance and safety that defies comprehension.  To be fully separate individuals, but able to function in beautiful harmony with mutual care.


In spite of my best efforts, these descriptions can never fully capture the experience of living in third order change.  It is something quite achievable, yet completely unknowable at first.  It is hard to define, but undeniable once you've experienced it.

This is the level of transformation I want for you!

This is the level of transformation MRC graduates usually experience!

Anything less is... well... "half-baked."


If this is the level of transformation you desire, then it's time to dive in to the Marriage Recovery Course and Conquering Betrayal.

If you're not sure where to start, schedule a Discovery Call to discuss what path would be most helpful.







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