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Old 05-17-2007, 11:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Fustrated and Dating a Recovering Alcoholic

This is my first post. Iím hoping to get some feedback because IĎm pretty sure Iím losing perspective of the situation.

Hereís my story. Nine months ago, I started dating a recovering alcoholic. He was in his tenth month of sobriety at the time. I didnít know anything about alcoholism at the time so I had no clue as to what I was about to get myself into. He seemed sincere about his recovery, so I decided he deserved a chance and we started going out. I jumped right into learning everything I could about alcoholism. I wanted to be supportive. I read the Big Book. I went to speaker meetings with him. I asked a lot of questions. Then things began to change.

I started to recognize myself in the stories of others. Take away the booze and it could have been me talking to a room full of people. I was very confused and sought out guidance. I went to an Al-Anon meeting. It felt right to be there, but something was missing. I made an appointment with a counsellor and halfway into our session, she asked me to read the twelve characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics. I recognized myself in at least half of them. I was bowled over by the revelation and none too happy about it. All of sudden, so much made sense. No one in my immediate family suffered from alcoholism, but the atmosphere in my house sure felt like something was wrong. There were no hugs or encouragement, but there was definitely either a lot of discipline or just plain neglect.

Itís no wonder I have massive abandonment issues. Itís gotten to the point where either I act so self-sufficient that I donít let people in or if I do let them in, I start subverting my own will/voice/needs in hopes of avoiding conflict. How twisted is that? I either donít let them in because Iím afraid theyíll let me down and I will want to leave or I start treating myself like a second class citizen because I donít want them to leave me.

Right now, Iím obsessing. I know itís bad, but I canít seem to detach. My boyfriend is always at my house and I mean always! Day and night, heís there. If heís not at a meeting, heís with his son or me. He doesnít like to talk about how he feels about me. Iíve forced the issue and he claims that his actions should speak louder than words, but that just doesnít cut it for me. He doesnít want to make a formal commitment to me because he hasnít returned to work yet and doesnít have any reliable income coming in. And yetÖheís always at my house! I know the right thing to do is to step back from the relationship, ask him to spend more time at his own place and start standing up for myself. I just donít seem to have the strength of character. I feel like such a coward.

I feel crippled by all of this; mostly because I havenít mastered the right tools to manage my relationships. And somehow, heís managed to get himself a get-out-of-jail free card because heís a recovering alcoholic. I keep getting the message from AA and Al-Anon that Iím suppose to be patient with him because heís learning to cope with his emotions instead of leaning on alcohol as a crutch. Well, thatís just fine and dandy, but when does it stop being all about the alcoholic and his noble struggle and start becoming about whatís best for the couple? One year into recovery? Two years? Ten years? Never? Why is it always about them? And thatís the problem. I donít know if I can stay with someone who only once in a blue moon thinks about my feelings. I feel like the situation has become all or nothing. I fear that if I get into it with him, that it will be the end of the relationship. I donít want the relationship to because when Iím not obsessing, our time together is brilliant and Iím not ready to let go. So what do I do?
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Old 05-17-2007, 01:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First of all Wecome to SR.... Im really glad that you found us and look forward to getting to know you.

I will offer now to move this to Friends and Family fourm, only because you will get alot more response over there then here.... but if you want to leave it here that is good too.

I know you have gone to Al'anon meetings and it sounds like you have checked out ACoA.... I would like to suggest something that I really think will help you out here....Try CoDA, get a sponsor and start working the 12 steps for yourself, start finding out about the 12 step program for you ... not for his Alcoholism. That is where you are going to learn the "tools" and "detachment" to love/live with an Alcoholic.... regardless if he is in recovery or drinking.

Yes your obsessing ... and yes you need the tools to have a relationship with an Alcoholic and that is true for recovering Alcoholics.... Sweetie, I hate to tell you this, but you will never come first in his life.... Recovery has to come first or he will probably relaps.... Ok... I cant say never but I have dated several Alcoholics anywhere from 2 years to 26 years and this is my experience... Yep it does get frustrating when it seems to always be about them.... You have to remember that he is only one drink from being an active alcoholic.... that it is a really long fight for them to become healthy and there is no time limit... in fact they say not to even date one without min 1 year in recovery and that also depends on how he is working it..... if he is 'getting it' ...

Now with that said this is how it is for me.... My BF is a recovering Alcoholic.... His recovery comes first to him. He also has children.... they come second to him and I hope Im third ( I think I am) .... Does that bother me... sure it does sometimes, but what I have to do in the moments Im frustrated is look at the whole picture.... Is how he feels about me, treats me, I feel about him, the loving actions he shows me, his commitment to me, who he is as a man, what he believes in ....... ect..... everything that is important to you.... does he do it, live it.... is it who you need/want in your life. Today I can honestly say yes.... It far outweights being third in his life.... One day I hope that I will be second along side of his kids.

I can however tell you if he did not show me respect, if he was unwilling to commit to me (and that is what I wanted) NO excuses, If he did not do something to continue his growth, if he just hung out at my house all the time and did not give me some space and or contribut to cost, if he did not talk to me and tell me 100 times a day (or however much I needed to feel secure) how he feels about me and that he loves me, If I had to force inticimacy, If he did not take my feelings into consideration and truely work with me....................

Not only would I rip up the get out of jail free card (which is a crock of c@*p) but I would use my steeltoed bunny slippers to kick his bum to the curb till he either matured enough, recovered enough or grew up enough to have a "relationship" with me... and I sure would not be waiting around for it.... I would put the focus on myself and my growth and wait for the man who really can love me.

You deserve better hon and his alcoholism is not an excuse for unacceptable behavior.... its a disease.
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Old 05-17-2007, 03:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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A man needs a JOB!

hard work is very good for a guys health and his head.

and you diserve to be happy. life is to short to be miserable with someone that you don't have to be.trust me ..i got a sticky situation of my own at home. I can't seem to get out of.

You got this guy ,he don't like talking,"I can understand that" but still a dude needs to tell his oldlady something sweet ,and drop a few i loves you now and agin.i do that a few times a day.
he's got you going to meetings and he is in and out of meatings all the time dealing with all sorts of bull.that sounds like a real barrel of fun,

HE DON'T WORK, that rite there aught to be enough rite there ,for you to get on his @$$.

I think you need let this guy go on and work on his self for a while by him self.. What does he need to be in a relation ship for?he don't need no girl friend rite now.He has to much stuff to work on and get done of his own.

He can't bring nothing into a relation ship.this guy has got to do his home work,before he can step up and be out in the world.


the great thing about not having a kid with somebody is you don't have to try so hard to make it work,

when the fun is over the fun is over it don't come back...and thats what it is all about fun a happyness.

I know you love the guy,but you can love some one from far away or rite next to them,it dont matter,make this guy get out and do something and quit BSing everyone,spining is wheels sitting on his @$$ not making you are himself happy,,,this sad sack needs to wake up and do something.

You aught to tell him to get a job,clean up,and call you when he gets his head screwd on strait.

you can print this out and hand it to him!
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Old 05-18-2007, 08:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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hey there, i'm sorry you're going through such a hard time.

sounds like its time for you to take the time out...

you may not feel like you have the strength, but you will surprise yourself. you can live through the pain of pulling back, taking a breather, and doing what YOU need to do for yourself. what you cannot give to yourself, no other person can give to you. its tough and feels like hell. but you will never be happy with your bf, no matter what good things he does, if you are just not able to give love and happiness and find joy for yourself.

have you ever read shel silverstein's book, something like the big O finds its missing piece. (not sure the exact name of it.)

i think about that book a lot, esp. now that i'm a recovering alkie. (i'm a codie, too, and my relationships for me are like taking a drink... don't have to deal with my own self...) i think of that "missing piece" (thats me), who goes around looking for a place to fit in. he is this little triangle that hobbles along looking for a place to fit in. it didn't matter where he would place himself it just wasn't right. he wanted to be like the big O, the round guy who just rolled along and was complete. what the triangle discovered is that after a huge effort he was able to make himself into a big O (effort, time, painfully making himself do things to round his edges). he couldn't make himself complete by trying to fit into other places with other incomplete parts.

anyway, thats the gist of it. and it helps me a lot to think of that book... i think i'll have to check that book out again!! (in the kiddie section of the library )

hope this helps a little

(((()))))
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Old 05-18-2007, 09:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Starting to have clarity

Wow. I can't thank all of you enough. What youíve had to say has really hit home for me.

Unfortunately, I have this fantasy in my head that someday I tell him all my fears, insecurities and needs and then he reciprocates. I imagine we work out what each of us needs from the other to feel safe and to grow. We seal this newly formed action plan with a kiss and then put it into practice. Now if thatís not a fairy tale, I donít know what is.

I donít want to lose him, but I know that if things continue on like this, the relationship is bound to self-destruct anyway. I dread the day where I actually work up enough courage to tell him that I need my home back to myself. Truth is, I like his company and I like having him around. I just donít like the fact that the set up is practically no-strings attached for him. I mean, since he has declared that he canít make a commitment until he gets his working life back on track, I feel stuck as to what I can ask for while he spends time at my place. I have all this resentment and anger just building up inside me.
I donít feel like I have the right to tell him that he needs to help out more. Or that I need a relationship thatís more defined.

I just feel so sad. Maybe Iím not giving him enough credit, but I donít think he can handle me wanting to re-establish the boundaries of our relationship. We both have a terrible case of extreme thinking. Every time we get into an argument, even if itís over something stupid, it always feels like weíre on the brink of splitting up. I need the courage to follow through on what I know would be the best for me and it terrifies me.
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Old 05-18-2007, 09:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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honey, you can't "fix" him, and you can't go around worrying about what he can/can't handle, esp. when its hurting you. you need need need need to take care of yourself and establish some boundaries. he is not working his program if he is making you feel like you are responsible for his recovery in ANY way.

you need to look at some things about yourself. ask yourself why its so important to you to cling to someone in your life, esp. if that relationship is not a healthy one, and it just doesn't sound like a healthy relationship. you sound like you have some healing to do yourself, and you can't do that if you're constantly worrying about what is going on with his mental/emotional state of mind.

YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT MAN. you are, however, responsible for you and your well being. you do not sound like you are happy. and there is not enough d!(k in the world that will bring you that if you cannot give the love and respect and goodness and joy to yourself.

it really sounds like you really need to step back.

i'm just like you. for the first time in my life, i KNOW THAT I HAVE NO BUSINESS being in a relationship of that type (intimate bf) until i learn to give all of those things that i would expect HIM to give to me to myself.

it sucks. it hurts like hell. my xbf knew this and broke up with me. it sucks it hurts like hell. but i'm alive. and i know that i can either stay wollowing in the pain, or move forward. and i trust the goodness of the universe to place good things in my path, and one day i will be well enough, whole, and i will do better next time.

but even without the alcohol, i would be a dry drunk, because it is all about the way that i think.

honey, please step back for a little bit. you owe it to yourself. and you do not owe hurting yourself to your bf so that his feelings won't be hurt. he needs to work his program, you can't work it for him.

(((())))

gg
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Old 05-18-2007, 10:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It sounds like your codependency is screaming and shouting that you need him to validate his committment and love for you. You want to hear him say he's staying around and not going anywhere, you want him to say he loves you and wants to be with you. You need and want proof (formal validation), reassurance of some kind. Yet you are with a man who has told you he doesn't talk about his feelings. He doesn't work and doesn't offer to help you out around your house in which he stays all the time. You are walking on egg shells around him and his recovery instead of being real and honest with him and yourself. I think you are afraid of losing this man if you are honest with him about how you feel so you hold on to what little he is giving you.
Your hopes and dreams are the glue in this relationship filled with big wishes of a much different kind of loving relationship, the kind you deserve and the kind this man is not equipted to offer you and most likely never will.
It's like trying to fit the square peg in the round hole.
I think finding your courage is the key to unlocking your codependency and opening up a whole new future for yourself.
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Keep going to Al-Anon meetings. Work the program, read the lit, talk to people there. It will work if you work it.
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Old 05-28-2007, 08:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Take care of yourself

Welcome to this forum and congratulations on taking the first steps in recovery. I am an alcoholic in my 16th year and I agree with the other posters.....sobriety must come first for an alcoholic. And, ten months is really a short period of time in terms of sobriety. He is still a newcomer.

The point is, you must put yourself first. What is right for you? What do YOU want?
You have the right to the life you want. You can't do anything about the BF, part of recovery is learning that we're powerless over people places and things. You only have power in yourself, the power to move in a direction of growth and recovery.

Alcoholics want to be taken care of.....some of us do grow up but it takes a long time. Is it your desire to be the BF's mother? I hope not.

I didn't have parents who drank but I did have a mother who was mentally ill (schizophrenic) and never there for me. It's called "ambivalent abandonment".....someone is physically present but not emotionally there as a care taker. I've been dealing with abandonment issues throughout my sobriety. A lot of it is awareness -- it may feel like I'm being abandoned but I'm not really. One therapist said: an adult can't be abandoned!

Get therapy and a support program. We're all here to help you.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I started to recognize myself in the stories of others. Take away the booze and it could have been me talking to a room full of people. I was very confused and sought out guidance. I went to an Al-Anon meeting. It felt right to be there, but something was missing. I made an appointment with a counsellor and halfway into our session, she asked me to read the twelve characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics. I recognized myself in at least half of them. I was bowled over by the revelation and none too happy about it. All of sudden, so much made sense. No one in my immediate family suffered from alcoholism, but the atmosphere in my house sure felt like something was wrong. There were no hugs or encouragement, but there was definitely either a lot of discipline or just plain neglect.

Itís no wonder I have massive abandonment issues. Itís gotten to the point where either I act so self-sufficient that I donít let people in or if I do let them in, I start subverting my own will/voice/needs in hopes of avoiding conflict. How twisted is that? I either donít let them in because Iím afraid theyíll let me down and I will want to leave or I start treating myself like a second class citizen because I donít want them to leave me.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++I just found this so if you're still there I am curious as where you're at now?? I have VERY similar family issues and am currently dating an alcoholic. I have recently started 1:1 therapy for those issues but still feel strongly about this "recovering" boyfriend. He makes efforts towards feelings and our relationship, but not for himself. It has to start there doesn't it??? And why does our family history seem to lead us towards these types?
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:14 PM   #11 (permalink)
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My first bit of advice would be to not get too enmeshed in his recovery because it may give you a sense that you understand but as non-drinkers, we really don't understand what recovery is like.

I think some of it depends on how serious his alcoholism impacted his life before he went into recovery. That will tell you how long it may take him to rebuild his life. Why hasn't he returned to work? Is it because he is not yet ready to handle the challenges of work sober?

There isn't a timeline for when they are able to handle their emotions. It may depend upon how they handled them before they ever had a drinking problem. In other words, this just may be who he is and you are finding that out.

Recovery isn't a get out of jail free card. In fact, it is about learning to face situations in a healthy way, not avoid them. But if he is telling you he isn't ready for a formal commitment then you probably should listen. What if he does commit and things get more serious and he relapses. You will feel awful, trust me. Going through a relapse is horrible as the bystander.

It is about what you are willing to put up with. The person in recovery needs to do their own work, that isn't for you to do or worry about. You just gotta live your life and see how he is able to handle it. If he can't then that isn't really your fault.

Sorry if this isn't much consolation. I understand about the not being able to deal with their emotions part even while in recovery. Just try not to make his recovery the focus of the relationship. It is his job
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:09 PM   #12 (permalink)
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7 ways To Wining Your Girlfriends Heart are:

1. Notice what she is wearing and compliment her on it .
2. When she invites you to her home, admire it, make full of her dog, and be pleasant to her family.
3. When she talks about clothes and makeup, be reasonably interested.
4. Invite her to your home to meet your family.
5. Give chocolate even if she passes it straight to her younger brother because chocolate are fattening.
6. Surprise her with frequent, but not necessary expensive gifts.
7. Plan a day or evening out, and plan it to the least, smallest detail.
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:10 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thank you for sharing. God Bless.
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I am new to this. I love a guy I have known for 4 years we lived together for the last year seperate rooms no sex. about 3 months ago he relapsed, He is now in a sober living house. working and going to meetings daily. He has a rough sexually abused when a child. He was the most caring and loving person i have ever known. He worked and did more than his share around the house. He did tell me at one point he loved me put was not good for me. we still spend alot of time together. We enjoy each others company. When i ask him about taking our relationship further he said that it wasnt he didnt want to but he didnt want to destroy what we had. He relapsed a month later. Just the other day him a good friend of his was at my house, I was talking to his friend and he said you know he loves you as much as you love him, I guess I confused where I stand with him
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