Starting a relationship with a recovering alcoholic....

Old 01-27-2008, 07:10 PM
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Question Starting a relationship with a recovering alcoholic....

Hi,

I'm new to this site... I'm new to this whole thing. I recently met an amazing man, we had a meeting like that out of a movie, and immediately hit it off with one another. From our first date, which took place over coffee, he told me he no longer drinks, and it was implied at the time it was because his father is a serious alcoholic. Over a short period of time I soon realized that he was also a serious alcoholic and was just beginning his road to recovery.

I am also a child of an alcoholic. But, unlike him, I do not have a serious drinking problem. I am a social drinker, and as I get older (and hopefully wiser), the less I care to drink. So, after a few weeks of an intense courtship, I went on a overnight trip a few hours away with some of my best girlfriends. He and I chatted before I went to bed, and he revealed that he may not be able to date someone who drinks, even socially. Upon this declaration I asked then he tell me either way sooner than later, because I did not want to become more emotionally involved with him to have him then cut me out because I like to have a glass of wine at a dinner party or out with my girlfriends. When I came back from my weekend, he had changed a great deal, and he was having an episode of urges to drink. He didn't, and once he was through it we had a long talk.

He told me that he really needs to focus on his recovery and that as much as he thinks I may be the woman for him, right now he has a long journey to endure and cannot give me the relationship that I need or deserve. This was a really hard thing to hear, because at this point I had fought me own urge to run in the other direction once I saw the pull alcohol had on him, and it had scared me greatly. We have decided not to end our new found relationship altogether, but to remain as friends while he searches within himself, and see what happens in the future.

In complete honesty, I am devastated. I don't fall easily for men, my standards are quite high, I won't settle for less than what I deserve. Yet I have fallen completely hard for a man I met for only a short period of time, and now I can't have him. I know that by supporting him will only make us stronger in the long run, but it is torturous to be without him after our fast and amazing short relationship. He now treats me as a 'friend', greetings of hugs versus a sweet kiss, no more darling voice mail messages, ect. I know this is the best, but I am utterly confused and sad.

I need some guidance in this. Is there anyone who can offer me some solace?
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Old 01-27-2008, 07:19 PM
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I don't fall easily for men
I don't fall easily for sober men. Alcoholics are a different story altogether. I have an unhealthy attraction to them--an overwhelming urge to save them from themselves and mold them into my vision of the perfect man so I can inflate my ego and create a fairy tale romance with them.

Any of this ring true for you? If so, Alanon may be the solution.
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Old 01-27-2008, 07:30 PM
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Interesting. I will definitely give this some thought, but I do not like men unless they are self sufficient and strong. And open and honest... This doesn't necessarily sound like an alcoholic, does it?

Last edited by Pick-a-name; 02-04-2008 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 01-27-2008, 07:31 PM
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Let him go--as a romance interest. He needs to focus on his recovery.
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Old 01-27-2008, 07:34 PM
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This doesn't necessarily sound like an alcoholic, does it?
That's right, at least not in my experience. Don't be nervous about attending Alanon. You'll be among friends.
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Old 01-27-2008, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ChristinaMarie View Post
And open and honest... This doesn't necessarily sound like an alcoholic, does it?
It does sound like an "alcoholic in recovery". Alcoholics that are in recovery--particularly AA have to be honest--if they are actually working their program. The program demands rigorous honesty.
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Old 01-27-2008, 07:45 PM
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It sounds like he is trying to do the right thing, Christina. If indeed he is in the early stages of his recovery, and it sounds like he is, there may be some very soft spots that he hasn't yet learned to cope with, like being intimately involved with people who drink. It doesn't mean it's right or that there's anything wrong with YOU -- it's just where he is right now.

Sadly, it's probably wisest, and safest, to take the path you're taking.

Your only question might be: am I capable of being "just friends" with this man, without it continuing to cause me suffering? Or do I need a period away from him to regroup and recover a little?

You've got to look out for yourself, even if none of the options is especially desirable. And that's not even broaching the topic of how common it is for an alcoholic to relapse, even after many years sober. He can be the most wonderful man in the world, but you may not want to spend the rest of your life waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Bear in mind too that alcoholics are among the most charming, engaging, and intelligently manipulative people on the planet. I vote them Most Likely To Make You Fall In Love With Them. It's the job of all good alcoholics, and most good adult children of alcoholics, to do this, as it reassures and feeds them.

Be tender with yourself. Give yourself some time to process it all before you try to find all the answers.

Have you read the Adult Children of Alcoholics board as well? Although it's much quieter than this board, it is still a source of some good, quiet insight into the pitfalls of ACoA people.

Hugs to you --- you will be okay.
GL
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Old 01-27-2008, 07:53 PM
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The meetings helped me understand myself better.
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Old 01-27-2008, 08:14 PM
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Welcome to SR.... Glad that you found us and I look forward to getting to know you.

You said....

but I do not like men unless they are self sufficient and strong. And open and honest... This doesn't necessarily sound like an alcoholic, does it?
Ok... Im going to say this a gentely as I can.... and please remember I do say this out of love. Take what you like and leave the rest.

Alcoholics are rarely self sufficient and strong…. And they are not usually open and honest without a lot of revcovery and a strong program….. and it sounds like your new love is in early soberity. Now let me tell you … they are masters of being what they think you want and being dishonest on who they are and what they feel and think…. As awful as it sounds…. I would strongly suggest that you guard your heart because rarely is a newly sober Alcoholic able to give you anything that you will need or want in a romantic relationship.

I started to date a recovering Alcoholic over a year ago and he had a couple years sober…. Let me tell you that when it came to romantic relationships he did not have the slightest of what was happening, his feelings, his soberity, his recovery, his intentions…. You name it. He is a great guy.. but honestly this has been a really rough road. I don’t imagine that yours will be any less of a tough time. Im VERY attracted to Alcoholics… my whole life has been one relationship or another with Alcoholics and It is not easy …. My most current relationship has been one of the most loving and amazing … but it has also hurt… very deeply and has been full of growth for both of us. We are together today but it could easly have gone the other way. Im happy to say that today we are doing great!.... but that is after his breaking my heart, more then a few breakups and my working a program harder then I have ever worked before. I use open AA meetings, theraphy, Al-anon and CoDA. Loving an Alcoholic is not easy… and the relationship is one of the hardest you will have.

My thoughts would be to listen to what he is saying and not get sucked into the thought process that you can “save” him. Be prepared to work very hard on yourself, why you are attracted to someone with these type of issues… work on your recovery and the tools you will need to live in a Alcoholic relationship, Alcoholism does not end because they don’t drink…. Actually that is when the harder work begins. It is possible to have an amazing and deeply loving relationship… but it is not an easy path and you really should look at all angles if you choose this person to make a life commitment too hon.

Hang out and check out the stickies.... There is so much wisdom and love on these boards ... Im always humbled by the people here.... and Im sure you will also receive the love and wisdom they have to offer.
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Old 01-27-2008, 08:17 PM
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GL,

I think that you have offered me some of the best words thus far. I have been internally battling the decision that is right for myself, and for him, as my friend. He has made his decision, which I respect more than I can say. And I love his honesty with me, it makes me trust that he really is working on recovery and not just trying to fool himself or others into thinking he's doing this for real. None of my friends in my life do not know how to give me sound advice on this issue, and I'm hesitant to discuss this because unless you have had an alcoholic in your life, it truly is impossible to relate. I have a hard time with it, and I'm a child of one. And yes, I have been trying to find as much to read about Adult Children of Alcoholics as I can.. it's tough reading some of it, because I am textbook.
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Old 01-27-2008, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ChristinaMarie View Post
I recently met an amazing man, we had a meeting like that out of a movie, and immediately hit it off with one another.
This is a red flag extraordinaire. I would examine it and what it triggered in me. My AH (I think I'm going through the longest divorce in history here) has a great track record in the "romantic movie" hook up, even while we were married LOL. Addicts are extremely talented at hooking in enablers.

I think Al-Anon is a great idea. I'd also listen when he tells you he needs to focus on his recovery. Looking back over 18 years, I realize AH told me exactly who he was in the first few weeks we knew each other.

Welcome to SR and I hope you keep posting. There is a lot of experience, strength and hope here.
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Old 01-27-2008, 09:38 PM
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and was just beginning his road to recovery.
I am almost 27 years sober and this is a BIG RED FLAG.

RUN the other way.

I don't mean to sound mean and uncaring, however, if he is serious about his recovery, about the only friendships he will have his first few years are others in the same recovery program.

Seriously, you are setting yourself up to be hurt.

Take care of you.

J M H O based on my own ES&H

Love and hugs,
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:13 AM
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Take a HUGE back step on this. How long has he been in the program?

What he is saying it true he does need to focus on his recovery. We need a lot of time to get the cobwebs out of our brains.

Ngaire
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:23 AM
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Falling hard too fast for anyone should be a red flag for the other person.

I know from experience.


Children of alcoholics tend to gravitate to other alcoholics time and time again.
This recovery that he is going though is long and tough.
He does have the foresight though to step back some, as he should.

Back to you.
Since you have alcoholics in your past, have you gave thought on how it has effected you?
Have you been to Alanon at all?
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:42 AM
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Thank you everyone for your advice. I think the consensus is that I need to keep doing what I am doing, being his friend, and not putting any pressure on him. And yes, falling hard for any one person has never been my m.o., and that alone is always a red flag, with or without them being an alcoholic.

In terms of my own parent, yes, being with him and talking through his issues has absolutely made me look at my own problems relating to alcoholism, my relationship with my father lying at the root of it all. Seeing as this all happened this week, and I am finally reaching out, I am ready to take the steps to understanding my father, as well as him. I am going to a meeting today, hopefully a friend of mine who has an alcoholic parent will join me, as I think the first step is going to be really hard for me.

I have to admit, coming here has been really helpful, I never thought I would get help through this type of venue, thanks to all who have offered their words.
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Old 01-28-2008, 10:07 AM
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Run.....and run fast

It took me a looooong time to see the manipulation.

It took me a looooong time to know that an alcoholic isn't necessarily a 'drink everyday, falling down' drunk. He is functioning, takes care of his kids, owns a home, exercises, owns a business, makes good money. Fulfills obligations, etc.

We started out as friends. We fell in love. He would stop me on the street to tell me how beautiful I was. He treated me like a queen. He did things for me constantly. He was there for me whenever I needed him. He was my man.

I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

He told me I wasn't enough. He told me he needed someone who was 'ga ga' over him. He told me when you love someone you talk, text, touch base everyday and I wasn't doing enough. He asked me if we had a future and when I said, 'possibly', it wasn't a good enough answer. He told me he was willing to give me his heart.

I went crazy trying to figure out why he was so insecure. I broke up with him twice because I thought I wanted my freedom back. He was suffocating me.

Then I missed him. Then I thought I wanted to be with him. I asked to try again. I wanted to be more 'present' for him and give him my love. That's what he enjoyed. Now he was in charge. I didn't get it.

Then I realized he was an alcoholic and it all made sense.

Then I ran. And....I thanked God for not allowing me to sell my soul to this man and his addiction. Now I am hurting like I've never hurt before.

BUT.....I have my life back. . It all makes so much sense now. It hasn't been long, but I will get there. Am I so desperate to be loved that I'll put up with this sh*t? I love myself more than that. He's tried contacting me once...I ignored him completely. My silence speaks volumes. I am free.

RUN.....................and don't look back. He will play on your frienship....I guarantee it. Then he will suck the life out of you like a vampire.
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Old 01-28-2008, 02:01 PM
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Oh CarolineB how right you are. We must have been seeing the same man!!!! I was asked by my xab if i loved him every single day, and if i didnt say it with emotion i was a liar. Worst he told me he had cancer so that i would go back to him. Run Run Run Christina he will like caroline says l"suck the life out of you" even as a friend, let him go through his recovery alone. Take care of YOU dont be manipulated your worth so much more, and your issues are your priority. Keep posting

Mairxx

Mair
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Old 01-28-2008, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by anvilhead View Post
ya know putting the alcohol part aside for a moment,
I think this always bears repeating. If I don't do it, then I'm inclined to make excuses for someone's unacceptable behavior. I need to keep the focus on me, making choices that are right for me to have a joyous life.
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Old 01-28-2008, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ChristinaMarie View Post
And yes, I have been trying to find as much to read about Adult Children of Alcoholics as I can.. it's tough reading some of it, because I am textbook.

I was textbook too. I'm feeling more "normal" every day.....but I didn't start making any real progress until I started shining a bright light on all of my textbook traits, and unraveling them all. Unexamined, they just sit there and get smellier by the year

It's been quite a trip. And I wouldn't trade it for anything. I could not have become this strong any other way.

I think it's wonderful that you're willing to see how a meeting might work for you. I wasn't a "meeting person" but found them really helpful all the same. If only for the fact that I no longer felt like I was the only one who'd ever gone through this stuff.

Good luck, Christina. You'll be okay!
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:50 AM
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If you are not married to him, I'd go the other way...it may not be easy now but better off in the long run...this is a disease for life even though it can be overcome, one day at a time, I don't think it's worth the risk. Why have a problem before you even start...it's much better to start with a clean slate...that's not to say every guy is perfect because no one is...just an opinion from one who has been married to functional A for 23 years!
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