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so confused. . .

Old 07-12-2010, 07:35 AM
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Learning to breathe. . .
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so confused. . .

Hi Everyone~

I'm dating an recovering alcoholic who's been sober, with the help of AA, for almost 7 months. He's been so optimistic and hopeful until about 2 months ago. He's not working the steps because he's questioning if he's even an alcoholic at all. He's still sober, but lately he gets very depressed and tempted and withdraws. I understand being tempted by something that's been your first choice coping method for years. But instead of reaching out, he's started wallowing in self pity, being disrespectful to everyone including his closest friends, complaining and tearing everyone down, and acting like nothing he's doing is wrong.

I can be patient with him because I know he's going through a rough time and because we really love each other. He's never treats me in a degrading way, but the constant negativity is really starting to wear me down. He says that he can't live without me, which puts me in the position of being his savior. I have a 2 year old. I can't put love first, I put HER first. He understands that, but doesn't take it into account when I end up being the only one working on our relationship. He's so quick to apologize and say he's going to work on things when I talk to him about it. He's always honest and always admits his mistakes. But then he turns them into self pity, and I end up feeling guilty.

My question is when is love no longer a good reason to stay in a relationship? Because he's still sobering, and can still change. But I don't want to mix patience with false hope.

I just don't want to end things. At what point would I need to?
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:44 AM
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Hi Floggo...WELCOME TO SR! I'm glad you found this place. There's much Experience, Strength and Hope (ESH) to be had here.

From reading your post, I can understand why you are questioning your relationship with your RABF (recovering alcoholic bf). The whole "I can't live without you" crap is VERY stressful. My XAH used to give me that all the time, putting all this pressure on me to "be the one who saves him". I tried to play that role for 5 years and then it became too much for me.

I also have a 2 year old DD, and SHE's the reason I left. I could not have her growing up in a toxic household with an alcoholic father.

Perhaps your hesitation with regards to ending the relationship have to do with the fact that your BF is in recovery...others from the board will soon be along to confirm the fact that just because he's sober doesn't make him a perfect, or even a decent partner. Sobriety doesn't ensure that inherent character flaws are suddenly erased.
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Floggo View Post
He's not working the steps because he's questioning if he's even an alcoholic at all. He's still sober, but lately he gets very depressed and tempted and withdraws. I understand being tempted by something that's been your first choice coping method for years. But instead of reaching out, he's started wallowing in self pity, being disrespectful to everyone including his closest friends, complaining and tearing everyone down, and acting like nothing he's doing is wrong.
Is this the kind of male role model you want for your toddler?

First, I am going to speak to you as an alcoholic with long-term recovery. Your post has many red flags in where this guy is headed. The train wreck is coming, and I wonder if you really know what you're in for if you don't get out of the way.

It is suggested that recovering alcoholics not get in a relationship for at least the first year. There is good reason for that. That is not the stance of AA, but rather people who have been around the rooms for a long time and see what happens when relationships happen too early. I am a prime example of what not to do in early sobriety. I drank again after 4 years because I had gotten myself enmeshed in yet another toxic relationship, and when he drank again, I wasn't far behind.

As a recovering codependent, I can also tell you I brought much pain to both of my daughters while they were still growing up by engaging in unhealthy relationships.

I now have a 32 year old daughter who's an active addict/alcoholic, and a 22 year old daughter who's hooked up with an emotionally/verbally abusive alcoholic boyfriend.

My poor choices in relationships affected both of them.

You are not his savior.

I highly recommend getting your hands on the book "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie, and "Women Who Love Too Much" by Robin Norwood.

I would also recommend Alanon meetings for yourself.

My man-picker was broken for a long time, and until I was willing to look at the choices I made in men, I repeated the same mistake over and over, with different men.

Your daughter has no voice. You are her voice.

Children are like little sponges, and they soak up all the emotions around them, including the confusion you are experiencing. If she's around him at all, I can guarantee she's internalizing the negativity.

You say she comes first. How would you feel if she was grown up and with a man as you just described? What would you recommend to her?

I have no doubt you love your daughter with all your heart, and will make a decision on her best interest.
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:25 AM
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Don't have anything to add to Freedom's post...I just say welcome and keep posting.
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:08 PM
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Hi Floggo! Welcome!

As for your boyfriend, you may want to remind him that you cannot be his higher power. I was with a RAH for a year-I used to go to AA meetings with him to be supportive-he used to say that a lot-he recognized that I could not be his higher power.

In AA they talked a lot about the first year of sobriety. This is a rough time. The general recommendation in AA is that someone in recovery NOT seek out a relationship at that time, as the first year can be tough.

Do you go to al-anon? Even tho your bf is sober, the issues that led him into his disease are still there. A lot of the A behavior is still there. Just like codependency kind of trains us into certain maladaptive ways of coping that can stay with us long after the alcoholism or alcoholic is gone, alcoholism has trained his brain to look at things a certain way. It takes a lot of time, work and patience for him to learn new coping skills to replace the escape of the drink.

It's important throughout all of this, to focus on yourself and your own health and not get too wrapped up in his issues. Take care of yourself!



Originally Posted by Floggo View Post
Hi Everyone~

I'm dating an recovering alcoholic who's been sober, with the help of AA, for almost 7 months. He's been so optimistic and hopeful until about 2 months ago. He's not working the steps because he's questioning if he's even an alcoholic at all. He's still sober, but lately he gets very depressed and tempted and withdraws. I understand being tempted by something that's been your first choice coping method for years. But instead of reaching out, he's started wallowing in self pity, being disrespectful to everyone including his closest friends, complaining and tearing everyone down, and acting like nothing he's doing is wrong.

I can be patient with him because I know he's going through a rough time and because we really love each other. He's never treats me in a degrading way, but the constant negativity is really starting to wear me down. He says that he can't live without me, which puts me in the position of being his savior. I have a 2 year old. I can't put love first, I put HER first. He understands that, but doesn't take it into account when I end up being the only one working on our relationship. He's so quick to apologize and say he's going to work on things when I talk to him about it. He's always honest and always admits his mistakes. But then he turns them into self pity, and I end up feeling guilty.

My question is when is love no longer a good reason to stay in a relationship? Because he's still sobering, and can still change. But I don't want to mix patience with false hope.

I just don't want to end things. At what point would I need to?
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:28 PM
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I can't help you with the relationship advice, but I'm in full agreement with Freedom from the alcoholic standpoint.

It's important for you to know the truth. This guy is not a recovering alcoholic. He's a guy who has stopped drinking for a few months. Your description of his behavior is textbook for untreated alcoholism. Unless there is a serious dedication on his part to treat this problem, the outcome is not promising.

What you do with this information is entirely up to you.
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:06 PM
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In the short time I have been visiting SR, I never cease to be amazed at how many of our stories are the same.
There is so much wisdom and experience here. When I read the word "savior", Floggo, it could have been me writing. I was set up as my ex AB's savior. "When we are together all the time, I won't drink...I will feel better...I will be more positive...Blah Blah Blah." After months of living together with him attending AA, but sneaking his drinking, and lying about it, it changed to "If only I wasn't there mistrusting him, he wouldn't drink".
With an alcoholic, you can go from savior to enemy in a heartbeat. You are smart to come here; Al Anon is also very helpful. Focus on you and your daughter, and believe me, if your gut tells you this situation is not right for you and your child, listen.
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:04 PM
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Learning to breathe. . .
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Wow, thank you for all the brazen insights. I appreciate the honesty. It's given me a lot to think about. He and I had a very difficult discussion actually after I posted this thread this morning. I was open with him about all my concerns and told him he needs to go through the steps at least for the sake of his own life. He finally agreed. I'm not getting my hopes up too high, and he's aware i am taking a large step back relationship wise.

I want to watch him from a distance and see what happens, especially after reading what Freedom wrote (thank you!). That's a frightening wake up call. Please keep the advice coming if you have more! I'm always up for it.
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:20 PM
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This thread is reminding me how my xabf used to say "if I lived with you, things would be different."

8 or so months ago, when I accompanied him to see his therapist, even the therapist said, "he needs to be living with you-that's a much healthier environment" (than with his roommates, who all smoked pot and drank too much).

He never OFFICIALLY moved in with me - thank goodness. But we spent most of our time at my place.

Well, at the point he was sliding back into bar behavior again, he said he was BORED staying with me. He got tired of sitting around on my couch not doing anything.

Oh, but I would suggest other things besides going to the bar. Did he ever wanna do those things?

NO.

Yeah, typical catch-22. Don't EVER EVER EVER get yourself in the position of having to "save" anyone! Except yourself.

Originally Posted by seekingcalm View Post
In the short time I have been visiting SR, I never cease to be amazed at how many of our stories are the same.
There is so much wisdom and experience here. When I read the word "savior", Floggo, it could have been me writing. I was set up as my ex AB's savior. "When we are together all the time, I won't drink...I will feel better...I will be more positive...Blah Blah Blah." After months of living together with him attending AA, but sneaking his drinking, and lying about it, it changed to "If only I wasn't there mistrusting him, he wouldn't drink".
With an alcoholic, you can go from savior to enemy in a heartbeat. You are smart to come here; Al Anon is also very helpful. Focus on you and your daughter, and believe me, if your gut tells you this situation is not right for you and your child, listen.
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:20 PM
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Hi Floggo, welcome to SR.

I'm dating an recovering alcoholic who's been sober, with the help of AA, for almost 7 months.
I'm married to an alcoholic for 22 years whos been sober, with the help of AA, for almost 5 months.

He's been so optimistic and hopeful until about 2 months ago.
My AH has been so optimistic and hopeful until about 2 months ago.

He's not working the steps because he's questioning if he's even an alcoholic at all.
My AH has stopped working the steps because hes questioning if hes even an alcholic at all.

He's still sober, but lately he gets very depressed and tempted and withdraws. I understand being tempted by something that's been your first choice coping method for years. But instead of reaching out, he's started wallowing in self pity, being disrespectful to everyone including his closest friends, complaining and tearing everyone down, and acting like nothing he's doing is wrong.
I thought he was still sober, but he got very depressed and tempted. He was wallowing in self pity, being disrespectful to everyone, complaining he was bored, bored with life, bored with me, bored with everything.

Can you see where I am going with this yet?

I can be patient with him because I know he's going through a rough time and because we really love each other. He's never treats me in a degrading way, but the constant negativity is really starting to wear me down. He says that he can't live without me, which puts me in the position of being his savior
.

I was patient with him because I loved him and he told me that he would love me forever and wanted to be with me for the rest of his life.

Last weekend he relapsed and instead of feeling remorseful, he has gone on the attack. I am boring, I do nothing, we have nothing in common anymore, he wants a divorce. He is not an alcoholic and knows now that he will never be, he can now control it and will only drink weekends. He didnt relate to people at AA at all and his therapist couldnt tell him why he drank, so he was useless.

Since last weekend he has gone through 2 crates of beer (48 bottles) - Sun, Tues, Thur, Frid, Sat, Sun, Monday! So much for only weekends.

Last night he was verbally abusive (again) to myself and our 19yr old daughter.

I have a 2 year old.
Please continue to read about this dreadful disease through this website - stickies above (excuses alcoholics make/ merry go round are good ones) before the relationship really gets a grip on you, when you will find it harder and harder to leave and protect your daughter from an uncomfortable, troubling childhood. My daughter has been emotionally scarred from both of our behaviours.

My question is when is love no longer a good reason to stay in a relationship? Because he's still sobering, and can still change. But I don't want to mix patience with false hope.

I just don't want to end things. At what point would I need to?
The majority of us will tell you, we love them, I know I still love my AH, even after all he has done. They are really great guys when they are not drinking and that's the hope we cling to that one day they will stop drinking and we can live happily ever after. Its all based on a lie.

The very fact that you have visited this website, registered and started a thread tells me that you are not very happy in your relationship and/or something doesnt quite feel right to you. I have been blind to those feelings for 22 years but I wish I had had your insight 21 years ago - I might have jumped of the roller-coaster back then and with hindsight, I definitely should have done.
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:50 PM
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Wow. I'm sorry for what you guys are going thru, Floggo and yesbutnobut (I love your name, btw. Love Little Britain!)

You're both making me feel like I dodged a bullet, tho, getting away from my exabf after 3 yrs.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:33 PM
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Thanks, everyone, for the enlightening advice.

I ended the relationship shortly after my last post and am noticing the positive affects in my own life. It's funny how easy it is to feel compelled to complete something you start even if it's unhealthy.

All the advice I was given here is what helped me come to the right conclusion.

Thanks again. So helpful.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:55 PM
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Wow OP, good on you for ending it! He's now an XAB - yeah!!!!

That relationship sounded like a lot of emotional blackmail (from his end).
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