survivor guilt

Old 03-29-2009, 05:10 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
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xxkiwihoneyxx's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Emotional turmoil
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survivor guilt

Hi all

I was in a relationship with an alcoholic for three years. As you will see from my previous posts, I loved / love him deeply but it was also very damaging for me. We broke up for good last year but I'm feeling deeply upset today about it still. Most days I'm OK, but today I'm not.

Today he came over and begged me to come back to him. He was saying all this this stuff about how he is hopelessly in love with me still and so devastated because he knows he drank away our relationship and won't I come back to him please...etc. He was putting a hardcore guilt trip on me. He ended up storming out angrily because my answer was - no. When he was begging today for anoher chance I said, look, I love you so much and do remember all the good times. But I also remember in equal measure all the pain, the agony, the loneliness, the shame, the hurt, the rejection, the anxiety, spending my days feeling like a zombie, going out of my mind because he was too....when he last had a full relapse, I had a breakdown myself, nearly lost everything, my job, my home, my sanity. I can't risk going through that again. I want and deserve more, a healthy man who can really love me back! And I don't believe he can ever be that man because he has never managed to stay sober. He's only been sober a couple of weeks at the moment! I said a relationship was out of the question until he had at least six months straight of sobriety and only then I would even consider it.

Good for me for being strong at the time? I'm not now. I'm a raw mix of emotion. It's so hard to have a man who I love and wanted to be with so much begging me to come back. Of course I want to say yes because we have this whole life we built together. But I'm afraid it would destroy me, I couldn't take one more relapse. Hoping for things to get better and then losing him again. I just can't do it anymore, I don't have the heart to give, the time to give. Alcoholism has already taken away so much from me. And you never know how much is the alcoholic being in love with you and how much is them needing to use you. I want my own life now. I'm doing good these days and want to hold onto that! But I feel so guilty for feeling that way. I hate myself for it. It's a kind of survivor guilt.

It's so hard because I love him, the man, the person, so much. I want to help him so much. I worry when he is like this. And I always wanted that relationship to work. I want to be with him right now, cuddling in bed and believing in promises I know he can't keep. Like how he'll get sober and we'll have a much longed for baby together.... I know he'll pull out that promise if he thinks it'll work. Oh God I just am beside myself and want to cry and cry. I know he can't give me that relationship and I can't help him. All the grief and loss and sadness at the end of that relationship feels like it is right back with me again, how is that possible after all this time? I'm so sad about it still, all the could have beens. I'm just a confused bundle of guilt, anger, fear, worry. Incredible how just a small amount of contact with an alcoholic makes me crazy too. It's the most contagious disease on the planet. If I could tell anyone, please don't let yourself fall in love with an alcoholic.

It's like, I love this person, I want to help him but I can't and I want to move on with my own life and I feel so guilty for that. Please if you could say a few things to help with this guilt then that would be good for me.
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Old 03-29-2009, 05:20 PM
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kiwihoney, I'm so sorry for what you're feeling today.

All I can offer is that today it is very raw and painful because he has opened up the old wounds again. And just like a wound, tomorrow it will ache like crazy but feel a little less raw.......and the day after that it will hurt less........ditto the day after, though, is very bad, and I understand.

The thing is, you're doing the right thing. In LOTS of relationships with alcoholics, we suffer from the equivalent of survivor guilt. Heck, I have lost my fantastic two sisters to the disease, and the battle with survivor guilt was horrible.

The only thing I can say is that you are doing the right thing. Six months' sobriety is the absolute minimum I'd even CONSIDER, and these days it would be more like two years, if at all........I have simply seen too much, and no longer have the heart to suffer the kind of damage alcoholism inflicts.

You may love him, but you love yourself more - you HAVE to love yourself more. The pain you're thinking may happen if you go back is a very real part of being with an addict. I could have sacrificed my entire life to the addicts in my life, but came to realize that was not what I was put down here to do.

Breathe deeply, try to get a good night's sleep when it's time, write in a journal about what you have saved yourself from, and what you plan to do with your one "wild and precious life". Pray that his HP will guide him to long-term recovery, and let him go. Here's hoping that you will find your way back to feeling OK again soon

You're doing the right thing.
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Old 03-29-2009, 06:35 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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take it one day at a time. you did the right thing, not letting him back in. he's a drinker and he cheated on you, as did mine. i thought i could get over it, but the reality of being with someone you don't trust is that it plays with your mind. i found all of my energy going outwards...there was no peace in it. it has made me sick. sick in spirit.

take a deep breath. you did the right thing. try to be kind to yourself...a hot soak in the bath with some candles, some nice music...

peace and clear thought to you,
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Old 03-29-2009, 08:08 PM
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Being Silent so I can Hear
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You most definitely did the right thing! And good for you!

Sadness and guilt are normal, let if flow in, then let it flow out.

*hugs* to you tonight.
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Old 03-30-2009, 01:26 AM
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I understand what you are feeling and the woulda coulda shoulda and the sadness. I remember the hooks (of a life together and a family) and the hope. Probably, deep in them they want to do it but it requires work and some self analysis. That is something you can't hope or wish someone to do. You have no control over that. All you can do is YOU.

It is easy to forgive them but much harder to forgive yourself. I think that is a step you have to take to grow and move on. I feel guilty but when I think about it I feel guilt for allowing myself to be in a situation of psychological 'warfare' and manipulations etc. But loving someone and wanting the best for them and a happy and healthy 'us' is nothing to be ashamed or guilt ridden about. It is not your fault. It is perfectly acceptable to want a reciprocal relationship where your needs are recognised as well as the other persons. It is perfectly acceptable to love and want love in return.

I can't 'help' the A. I've tried. I've suggested things, tried to support them emotionally, been there through the craziness and it hasn't made a blind bit of difference. And now his actions have had consequences that I could do nothing about even if I wished. Fate has stepped in and moved the pieces of the game: wrenched me out of the world of the A. He can't contact me but I could contact him if I wished. But I don't wish. I know in my heart that even recent events haven't changed a thing. And nothing changes if nothing changes. So why put your energy into someone who refuses to even look at change let alone try it.

I don't know if you have a sister but imagine her in your shoes. What would you say to her knowing all that you know..?

Still feeling love for someone who has hurt you, who on paper does not deserve it, is hard. But you can morph that into forgiveness for the A and forgiveness for yourself and give your love to someone who deserves it... starting with you. I hope you find peace.
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