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How to cope with recovery mood swings?

Old 06-27-2010, 08:07 PM
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How to cope with recovery mood swings?

I'm presently dating a recovering alcoholic, sober for 8 months. The first month of our relationship was wonderful. He was thoughtful, caring, sweet, affectionate, etc... The past few months have shown MAJOR changes in mood and behavior. The kind and loving man I put my heart into is often replaced with an overly exhausted, irritable, impatient mess, which causes much stress for both of us and has a tendency to lead to arguments. (I'm 100% certain that he hasn't relapsed because he's currently wearing an alcohol detection bracelet.)

He regularly attends AA meetings, and is a devoted Christian, but continues to struggle. He has asked me to research characteristics of recovering alcoholics so that I could better understand what conflicts consume them.

I know it's recommended that a recovering alcoholic NOT pursue a relationship for at least a year, but we believe that God brought us together for a reason, and I want to help and be supportive even when it seems unmanageable. This is where I NEED HELP! I know this man has a beautiful heart, but the constant depressive/angry moods can produce so much frustration and insecurity, even when I know I need to be a positive example in his life.

I am told that these behaviors are common, and I'm hoping someone might be able to give me any advice or insight on how to become a more supportive partner. I regularly encourage meetings, time with family, and prayer.

He also suggested that I might benefit from Al-Anon meetings. I've found one in my area, but am not sure if I'm a candidate given the website information. I answered "No" to all questions on their checklist.

I would sincerely appreciate ANY insight, suggested articles, opinions, etc...

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Old 06-27-2010, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Helpseeker View Post
I'm presently dating a recovering alcoholic, sober for 8 months. The first month of our relationship was wonderful. He was thoughtful, caring, sweet, affectionate, etc... The past few months have shown MAJOR changes in mood and behavior. The kind and loving man I put my heart into is often replaced with an overly exhausted, irritable, impatient mess, which causes much stress for both of us and has a tendency to lead to arguments. (I'm 100% certain that he hasn't relapsed because he's currently wearing an alcohol detection bracelet.)

He regularly attends AA meetings, and is a devoted Christian, but continues to struggle. He has asked me to research characteristics of recovering alcoholics so that I could better understand what conflicts consume them.

I know it's recommended that a recovering alcoholic NOT pursue a relationship for at least a year, but we believe that God brought us together for a reason, and I want to help and be supportive even when it seems unmanageable. This is where I NEED HELP! I know this man has a beautiful heart, but the constant depressive/angry moods can produce so much frustration and insecurity, even when I know I need to be a positive example in his life.

I am told that these behaviors are common, and I'm hoping someone might be able to give me any advice or insight on how to become a more supportive partner. I regularly encourage meetings, time with family, and prayer.

He also suggested that I might benefit from Al-Anon meetings. I've found one in my area, but am not sure if I'm a candidate given the website information. I answered "No" to all questions on their checklist.

I would sincerely appreciate ANY insight, suggested articles, opinions, etc...

Helpseeker

I too am Christian... and I also thought God brought me my exh... well he did... but not for the purpose I thought... I am no longer married... marriage lasted 2 years. In short... an alcoholic will remain an alcoholic until THEY want to stop.

I love God and don't mean any disrespect... but God gave us a brain to use ... that was my lesson.

Yep your sweetie was correct for you to learn about the symptoms... that was awfully nice of him... and every symptom that you read... be prepared for it to get worse... alcoholism is a progressive disease.

Pray for YOUR well being... leave your sweeties work up to him and God... You'll become familiar with the phrase "Let Go and Let God"... it is repeated for a reason.

Please continue to read.... read the stickies at the top of the forum... they were my lifesaver.... SR was my lifesaver... God gave me the brains to figure it all out.

Al-anon meetings is a GREAT place for you... others will be along shortly... there is much wisdom here.

((hugs))
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:02 PM
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I felt my comment to harsh, I deleted it.
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:44 PM
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Anyone that has any type of relationship with an alcoholic can benefit from Al-anon.
His recovery belongs to him. Keep the focus on yourself, and take care of you.
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Old 06-27-2010, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Helpseeker View Post
He has asked me to research characteristics of recovering alcoholics so that I could better understand what conflicts consume them. :

Red flag - putting the focus on him.

I too am a Christian. I am divorcing my AH after 21 years of putting the focus on him and trying to find out why he does whay he does. He was even sober for the middle seven years - and still the focus was on him.

Cannot tell you how crazy and sick I became while focussing on him and his problems.

I am not the one to heal him and he is not the one to heal me> I had to get away to let God to his work.

Hugs
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Old 06-28-2010, 05:30 AM
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I am here for advice. When registering, I assumed some of that advice would be in the form of constructive criticism. It seems most people think I'm making a terrible/unhealthy mistake, myself included. I want to be healthy, functional, and normal, hence my cry for help. The roller coaster doesn't prove that lifestyle to be possible... maybe ever. However, it doesn't hurt to get advice before deciding to give up on someone you care about. Please do share, pleasant or not, your truth might be an eye opener.
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Old 06-28-2010, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Helpseeker View Post
I am here for advice. When registering, I assumed some of that advice would be in the form of constructive criticism. It seems most people think I'm making a terrible/unhealthy mistake, myself included. I want to be healthy, functional, and normal, hence my cry for help. The roller coaster doesn't prove that lifestyle to be possible... maybe ever. However, it doesn't hurt to get advice before deciding to give up on someone you care about. Please do share, pleasant or not, your truth might be an eye opener.
This language reflects black and white thinking. There is no edict that you must give up on a person.

We have learned that we can love a person, care about their life, hope that their life improves AND YET not take a front-row seat to the hard action of either getting sober life skills, or circling the drain. WE do not need to drown in their process of their life. We can love a person, care about their life, hope that their life improves WHILE we go about tending to our own life, giving ourself a safe buffer zone from the storm of THEIR life, and letting time and their actions show us whether they are learning sober life skills, or choosing to circle the drain.

Oftentimes, we convince ourselves that "being there to help and support" is needed, when what it is in reality is our enmeshment with their problems and process.

We are free to remove ourselves from close proximity to things and relationships that tax and damage us, but we are just as free to re-engage with people who have done hard work and put their lives on track. We honor them, when we step out of the way, and let them focus on THEIR WORK of managing their life. We provide less distraction to them when we are not trying to help them manage their lives.

This is not "giving up," - this is "giving them their own life to own."

CLMI
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Old 06-28-2010, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Helpseeker View Post
I am here for advice. When registering, I assumed some of that advice would be in the form of constructive criticism. It seems most people think I'm making a terrible/unhealthy mistake, myself included. I want to be healthy, functional, and normal, hence my cry for help. The roller coaster doesn't prove that lifestyle to be possible... maybe ever. However, it doesn't hurt to get advice before deciding to give up on someone you care about. Please do share, pleasant or not, your truth might be an eye opener.
Perhaps you were looking for advice that would keep him from drinking.... and make you the "special one" that could help him. Sweetie... if help and love is all it took... none of us would be here... we've helped until we had nothing left to give... we (ourselves) became emotionally, physically and sometimes financially bankrupt.... we can't save anyone... they have to want that for themselves.

If most people think you're making a terrible and unhealthy mistake... it would behoove you to rethink what you're doing.

If you want to be healthy...functional.... and normal.... your cry for help was answered here. Take the focus off of him and think about you... The "giving up on someone"... well that is co-dependence talking...

Remember the 3 C's... You didn't Cause it... You can't Control it... You can't Cure it.

Letting Go and Letting God... is not giving up on someone... you just are getting out of God's way...



Take Care of YOU.
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:25 AM
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What is an alcohol detection bracelet?
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:31 AM
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I can only tell you my story and what works and what didn't for me. I fell in love with and married an alcoholic. Had I educated myself more as you are doing perhaps I would have avoided getting so sick myself and so wrapped up in his disease. We had great times between the binges but there would always be another binge. It was like whiplash. Just when you thought you had seen the last one here it came again. In Jan. I divorced a man that I love very much. It was the best thing that I could have done for both of us. Now he can be responsible for himself and I can try and regain my sanity. I literally lost myself in his addiction. This board helped me tremendously through some very difficult times. I don't know what questionnaire you answered about AlAnon but I found a meeting and took a chance and it was one of the best things I could have done. I had heard from multiple sources that it would help me and finally I went and I am so glad that I did. I thought that our love was magical until I was bulldozed over by his addiction. I learned that I was just another codependent and he was just another addict. We are both textbook. Now I'm reading and talking to people that have been through the same thing and working on ME. The sky is starting to look blue again and I know that I'm going to be o.k. I don't think any of us would wish what we have been through on anyone else. So that I why I sit here on a Monday morning needing to be doing something else and take the time to write. Good luck to you.
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:34 AM
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Welcome to SR, Helpseeker!

Just for a moment, let's take alcoholism, or supposed recovery from, out of the picture.

Would this behavior still be acceptable to you?

You say he's wearing an alcohol detection bracelet, so am I correct in thinking he is court-mandated to do so?

I've been around the rooms of AA since 1986, and I can honestly say that I have seen one man in all those years who was court-ordered to attend AA for DUI's, and is still sober and working the program after completing all court stipulations.

Most 'do their time', get their papers signed after the meetings for the judge, and we don't see them anymore once they are off of paper.

There is a lot of untreated alcoholism sitting in the rooms of AA. Simply attending meetings on a regular basis does not constitute recovery. Recovery takes a lot of work, and involves me actively participating.

The drinking is only a symptom. Take away the alcohol, and you have all the underlying problems that were there during the drinking.

I don't expect anyone to excuse any poor behavior on my part just because I am a recovering alcoholic, and I do have my days where I can slip back into old attitudes and behaviors. It's up to me to correct the attitudes/behaviors, and make my amends to anyone I may have hurt.

You are the only one who can decide what you want out of life, and that includes what you feel you deserve in a partner.

I had to leave my EXAH for my own sanity/safety and recovery.

My bar of standards was so low in that marriage that I completely lost myself.

I also have a 32 year old AD, not in recovery, and Alanon has helped me tremendously.

I practice the principles of Alanon in all areas of my life, and find I have far less self-created pain these days.
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