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Old 12-11-2010, 07:53 PM   #1 (permalink)

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How to remain patient and second best with an addict?

I need some help. I remember reading a post earlier on Addicts and how their sobriety is #1 to them and they must remain focused on that, and their loved ones are pretty much 2nd in their life and we have to learn to deal with that. I'm having a VERY hard time with this and my relationship is literally on the rocks because of this.

Some history...I've been dating my bf for over a year now. The beginning of the relationship was ok but I realized he had (and still has) a huge ego and arrogance about him. I initially told myself I could not date him but I somehow fell for him thinking I could make him feel good about himself so he didn't have to be so egotistical (I have a belief people who are arrogant/egotistical are deeply insecure). I realized he was "all about" me the first 6 weeks or so of the relationshp but then slowly started to see his arrogance/ego take control of his behavior/attitude towards me and just started to seem very rude, uncaring and with a poor attitude. I broke things off with him but then ended up getting back together weeks later. I figured it was my fault and I wans't understanding enough of his disease. Things have been pretty "blah" for the last few months with him. There have been some great times with him when he's "mentally" with me and focusing on me and us as a couple but then there are days where he just seems not into me or that he could care less to even be with me. I know that's not the case, and it's more just his 'moodiness' but the ups and downs I go through emotionally are REALLY starting to wear on me. I'm trying to continue to support him but I often feel my happiness is being compromised b/c his mind/focus is so much on him and his selfish things he needs to do to help his sobriety. I want to be happy with him but I just don't know if he can be the man I need him to be being an addict in recovery.

I have been suggested to go to Al-Anon but I honestly just don't know why the people who love addicts the most and the ones who are there for them the most, get brushed away or put on the sidelines and thought of lastly. I support him in everything he does and I encourage him to be a better person...but I feel like I'm often forgotten about or just not as important as his other responsibilities or hobbies (hobbies include the gym, video games, surfing the internet, hanging with other members of AA). I just really miss being with him (we hang out 2x/week) and I want more time with him. I know all of this sounds selfish but there are certain needs the "partners" require to be happy as well and it just seems like we sacrifice our own happiness sometimes to help the addict.

I don't know if I can continue to go through with this relationship without honestly saying I won't ever be happy unless I'm a priority to him. Again, I know he cares about me, and there are times he's very sweet and loving to me, but then there are other times his moods or emotions bring me down and I go through this rollar coaster of "happy" "worry why he's moody" "happy" "sad he snapped on me", etc. It's so emotionally draining.

Ughhhh...sorry for rambling. I just feel so lost and I'm not sure where else to turn to. One last point I wanted to make is I have tried talking to him about this...I've tried communicating what I need from the relationshp to be happy and he got pretty defensive saying "I do give you those things you need". He puts the 'blame' back on me and tells me it's pretty much all on me...I just wonder if maybe he can't be that person I need and give me what I need b/c he has to worry so much on his own needs and his sobriety. I'm just so sad and besides myself b/c I would love to see this work out but I can't force anything.

Just looking for some ideas on how to deal and accept my bf's disease and not be so needy of a person. I just can't help the person I am and what I need to be happy.
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hmm... The recovery part is a self-absorbed task but not a selfish one. Focusing on oneself is ok, at the expense of others, not ok.

I fear to tell you that maybe his arrogance is a personality trait. Recovery is not about making feel people badly. In fact, someone applying the real principles will seek to include you and work hard at being there for you.

When they are active, yes selfish to no end but in recovery, that selfishness is one of the things they are supposed to work on.

You are not asking for anything unreasonable and are NOT being selfish. He isn't fully 'recovered' if he is still being selfish and insensitive to your feelings.
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:46 PM   #3 (permalink)

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Hello and welcome, and I'm so sorry you are going through this.

I couldn't help but wonder as I was reading your post how far along in recovery your BF is. You say you've been dating a year, does that mean he has been in recovery for a year? In the very beginning of recovery, the first few months/steps especially, it is really hard for the addict to give much of anything to anyone. But that should be because they are working constantly on their recovery, and not because they are playing video games, hanging with AA friends, surfing the internet, etc.

My RABF was extremely unavailable in the first few months of his recovery, but has since made some major spiritual breakthroughs and is now 100% supportive, caring, attentive, etc. He's still a little self-absorbed, but I think that's common of addicts in recovery. The important thing is I no longer feel neglected, or like I don't come 1st after his recovery. The gym still annoys me sometimes, he will leave me hanging for a couple of hours to go pump iron and get all swoll up like a meat-head, but one day after I got a little ticked off (NOBODY leaves ME waiting...LOL) he explained that working out was an essential part of his health and recovery, and it was partially about having that structure in his life. OK, got it. Fair enough.

He's going to need to maintain healthy hobbies and have structure, sure, but it sounds to me like he's putting things outside of his recovery before you, and that's not right. You've already told him how you feel and he just went on the defensive, so I don't know what else to say. He should want to spend as much time with you as possible, providing his recovery work is being done. If things aren't going to change than you can't possibly stay in this relationship. Especially since it sounds like he's not even effectively communicating with you as to why he's so unavailable and seems to be totally insensitive to your needs and feelings.

Sorry, I know how you feel if it's any consolation.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:10 PM   #4 (permalink)

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I had to find your other post to read because i connect with your feelings and what you are saying. My BF has selfish moments, very similar to what you describe, that I didn't realize until after we were dating for a while. In fact, he kept telling me he was selfish and I just hadn't seen it yet. Until recently. There are things that my BF will put before me that are completely acceptable: nightly meetings, treatment center trips, boys night once/week, dog park outings, etc. However, we still would see each other frequently. It sounds like your BF is selfish and narcissistic like many alcoholics tend to be, but with an additional high dose. My experience tells me, don't put his own needs above yours at the expense of your sanity and well-being. Especially, if he is not willing to work on it and constantly puts the blame on you. Take care of yourself and you will better be able to take care of others.
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:44 PM   #5 (permalink)

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Holy moly. OP you and are in exactly the same boat...
my boyfriend is new to recover also, he has been free from opiates a year and a half...but only just stopped smoking weed and drinking...and he has completely distanced himself.

he tells me not to take things personally and that his recovery and sobriety is his number 1 priority and I completely agree, that should be his number one priority.

We have just agreed to see eachother just twice a week, to give him the space he needs to figure things out...

Crazy, it sure feels good to know I'm not alone. Even if our situations aren't the best...
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Old 03-29-2011, 08:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Reading these stories help me a lot. My RABF is in a long term treatment, cut off from me but seeing how bumpy that road is when you are right there with them tells me that my NOT having access to him is maybe a GOOD thing for now.

I don't know. I'm worried he will come out of his program a zombie or something. Ugh.
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Old 04-07-2011, 06:15 AM   #7 (permalink)

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Instead of focusing on what he's doing or not doing, perhaps you can focus on what you are doing to take care of yourself. Your bf was self-abusing and is taking steps to self caring in a healthy way. There's a lot of change during recovery. Some change is not so easy to deal with. Perhaps your bf's behavior is a mirror of how you treat yourself??? What are you doing to take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, financially, and physically?
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:31 PM   #8 (permalink)

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I have only been a member on this website for a couple days, but this thread has made me realize I am exactly in the right spot. I didn't know the way my BF was acting was something others could relate to. The advise to focus on ourselves really hits home. Even though I know this and have been very good about it in the past, it is great to be reminded. I have forgotten too often in the recently and it is time to change that.
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:55 PM   #9 (permalink)

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I'm starting to fall for someone who has been sober for just over four years. He is amazing, smart, charming and excites me each time I'm near him. We both understand the principal of symbiotic relations. The addict must monitor and focus on their recovery first and foremost. This is needed in order to continue being the kind and caring partner you have grown to love. It's amazing when two people can share life and not be a succubus or incubus.
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Old 04-09-2011, 03:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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There also needs to be reciprocity in relationships though.


It may get out of wack at times but if it is 60/40 without acknowledgement that the other person is giving more than the other, then recovery or not, that isn't a healthy relationship IMHO.
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:47 AM   #11 (permalink)

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I know of no known item in existence that is perfectly symmetrical. This applys to relationships as well. Perfect symmetry exists only in theory. Expecting both parties to be 50% / 50% would only be logical if they existed in a static world with variables that remained constant. But...we manage cause love is a constant work in progress.
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