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Dating a recovering Alcoholic

Old 05-22-2009, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ARealLady View Post

Whoa! You've known him a matter of weeks from what I understand. How can you let somebody who you barely know "break your heart"? Hold the drama!!


ARL
Thanks for your honesty. I didn't mean he literally broke my heart, I meant it as a figure of speech. I consider myself a sincere person that would feel for anyone who struggles, even someone I barely know but has shared their story with me. If you wouldn't mind staying away from terms like "dramatic" I would appreciate it I came here for advice and shared some real feelings that might seem silly and naive to some, but I would prefer not to walk away feeling judged or foolish :-)

I may not know a lot about his problem, but I never entered this forum expecting people to tell me dating him would be all hearts stars and flowers. I know that there would ALWAYS be struggles, I know it would be work. I'm trying to figure out whether or not I'm up for that type of responsibility, and you have all given me great advice! Thanks again to you all.

Last edited by josiemay1982; 05-22-2009 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:55 PM
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Hey Josie,

I sent you a PM earlier as I apologize for my earlier post. i was harsh, not meaning to and I think I would have felt unfairly judged if it were to me.

I *am* sorry, I didn't mean to offend...the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:56 PM
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Oh, and no worries Gerry P. I know everyone in here comes from their own place. I appreciate everyone's honesty and time and concern. You have all opened my eyes immensely!!

I know that I am in way over my head here, and I would never pretend to understand everything that you guys have been through...it sounds like it's been a rough road for many. I wish the best for all of you! Hugs all around!
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Old 05-22-2009, 11:27 PM
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Thanks josie, please stay away from the damp full of crocodiles. Choose the rainbow instead (an analogy a friend came up with, so true!!)
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Old 05-23-2009, 12:49 AM
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If you wouldn't mind staying away from terms like "dramatic" I would appreciate it I came here for advice and shared some real feelings that might seem silly and naive to some, but I would prefer not to walk away feeling judged or foolish :-)



Nothing you said about your ABF sounded silly and naive, Josie. Nothing at all. I was right where you were. I thought I could "save" my exABF where others had failed. I truly believed that all he needed was the "right" woman and nobody was "righter" than me. And he made me feel like the most intelligent, understanding person in the world. We had this "instant connection".

When I finally started to read some of the literature on co-dependence and enabling, the authors of those books used terms like "drama" referring to MY behaviour. My enabling (thinking I could "save" him from himself) often resulted in the creation of high tension and emotion over the smallest things. Enabler and addict feed off each other creating intensity and....drama. I learned both through reading and this forum that I could let go of this drama by:

1. Keeping my own side of the street clean; and

2. Setting boundaries to protect myself.

I think somebody higher up this thread referred you to Melody Beattie's books on co-dependency! Very worth reading and re-reading. You'll never let them go!

ARL
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Old 05-23-2009, 08:23 AM
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Josiemay1982,

I think it took a lot of strength to reach out and ask questions about a subject (alcoholism/addiction) you knew little about. It’s no doubt that you care very much for this guy and wish nothing but recovery for him.

As you are learning, recovery can only happen if the person truly wants that for themselves. And the only true way to witness that is by their actions, never their words.

When I first started attending al-anon I felt that my situation may have seemed silly and that I was na´ve to alcoholism and addiction. I often felt judged by responses and by the way certain people would talk to me. I stayed with that program long enough to realize that I was not being judged by anyone other then myself. My insecurities left me with so many confusing feelings that for awhile I walked away from those I perceived made me feel foolish and dumb and clung to those who felt as I did. Soon my al-anon experience turned into exactly what I wanted it to be, ways to make my loved one stop drinking. I made the grave mistake of fending off anyone who was telling me the cold hard true to listen to others like myself who clung to hope and miracles and un-healthy ways where I still believed I could control or stop his addiction.

I think I spent almost a year in al-anon doing it MY WAY and not getting the results I expected. I became so angry with them with the program I stopped going. After about another year of chaos/insanity/stress I went to see a therapist where I discovered my codependency and how my thinking and way of addressing life were not on the healthy side of life. Once I began to put the focus on me I went back to al-anon and the program helped me tremendously and in turn helped my relationships with the A’s in my life.

I think with the advice you have received here and all the new things you are learning about A’s it would be a great beginning to discover yourself and why you may be drawn to this type of person. This relationship may or may not work out for you but you may gain something far more wonderful from this experience, you may gain a new you!!!

How you decide to proceed or not proceed with him is up to you. Just remember you really do have support here for what ever direction you decide to go in.
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:08 AM
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I think atalose "nailed it"

All the information you need is in that post, pay close enough attention and you can avoid that future and world of hurt, confusion and pain that entails.

Pay attention to his actions, not his words

His actions are "he hangs out in bars, realizes he has a problem, and would like to quit drinking, but truthfully hasn't"

We call this "he wants to want to stop drinking"

So instead of "dating a recovering alcoholic" maybe "label" this as "dating an alcoholic that is talking about trying to recover" and then read the stickies and others stories here on this forum and educate yourself about alcoholism, as opposed to "recovery from alcoholism" because this is what this man is, an alcoholic, not a "recovering alcoholic"

After a year or two you can maybe think about changing that "label" to alcoholic in recovery, IF he addresses the underlying causes. Drinking is actually just a symptom of "alcoholism" strangely enough.

I am a sober alcoholic by the way.
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Old 05-23-2009, 12:46 PM
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Update: I've ended it just this morning with ABF. I told him that I need to work on me and he needs to work on him...that the place we're both in right now isn't a healthy or strong enough place to take on the challenge of a new and risky relationship. He agrees, and decided we will check in on each other here and there, but unfortunately need to cut most contact. It was super tough, and I'm still sad...but I did it for me.

I realized that he is still in the place where he is trying to convince himself that his problem isn't all that serious. He shys away from the term "alcoholic," and seems to think that if he just stops drinking on his own it will mean he doesn't truly have a problem. This was a little too scary to me.

Thanks all for ALL of your help and advice, I wish you all the best. You helped me make the best decision for myself, which is something I need to start doing more of...

hugs hugs hugs :-)
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Old 05-23-2009, 01:25 PM
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Tough decision. You are a remarkable young woman. :ghug
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Old 05-23-2009, 01:35 PM
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I did it for me

The very best reason!!

Don't run away from us, Josie. Stick around and let us know how your life is getting on.

ARL
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Old 05-23-2009, 04:24 PM
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Yes Josie,

keep in touch. No fixer uppers now, ya hear . :-))
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Old 05-23-2009, 06:04 PM
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Excellent decision you made for yourself, I know it was hard but you did it for you and that's what counts the most......

Yes, keep in touch....peace to you.
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Old 05-24-2009, 06:58 AM
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Josie,
I guess right now you are feeling very down and maybe even a bit angry, at having to cut this relationship as you have done. Yes it is painful just now for you, but your wisdom and courage in taking this hard step, has probably saved you months, if not years of more grief, pain, bewilderment and misery than you could ever imagine in your worst nightmare.
To know that you are someone who has avoided what we didn't, is such a relief for me that I am crying tears of utter joy right this minute.

I hope you meet some wonderful man who will love and treasure you as you deserve.

God bless
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Old 05-24-2009, 10:25 AM
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Oh how I wish I had had the knowledge and strength you do josiemay, it would have save me and my child a lot of pain and suffering.

Big hugs to you.
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Old 05-24-2009, 11:03 AM
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Josie,

I can understand your natural gravitation towards someone you feel sparks with, and it's okay to be a supportive friend from afar for now, but until he works out his demons, he really is not okay to date or to be trusted at all. Alcoholics and addicts are really sick, insecure, unstable people - just because you eliminate the alcohol or drug from the situation doesn't mean the person has actually changed at all. I would suggest you closely monitor your own intentions with him and your behavior within this friendship. If you find yourself constantly obsessing and worrying, you may want to distance yourself and recognize the unhealthy co-dependent behavior. The best thing for a newly sober alcoholic is being emersed in some sort of recovery program and a changed lifestyle that really avoids dangerous situations and places, such as night clubs and bars.

Good luck and stay safe!
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