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what is my role in this?

Old 09-17-2010, 02:52 PM
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cqf
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what is my role in this?

Hi. Thanks for taking a moment to read my story.

I’ve been involved with a woman for 7 months now. Before we got involved we we’re friends for about a year. I am divorced for a year and have four kids. She has been separated for 9 months and has two young kids. She still lives in the same house as her estranged husband.

About three months ago, she voluntarily started the program. She has a history of using alcohol to cope with problems that she was not willing to deal with. And realized she needed a better way to deal. So, she went through a six week outpatient group therapy program. Since then she has been going to meetings twice a week or so.

In the meantime…she has slipped a few times. Four to be exact.

I am not sure what to make of her slips. She obviously has much on her plate. Her estranged husband is verbally abusive. Has a drinking problem himself. Has a total disregard for what she is doing in the program and the amount of effort she has put into it. He is the cause of much of her misery and doubt over the last several years. The moments she has slipped…have had to do with him either egging her on directly or indirectly.

A few nights ago…she slipped again.

I’ve have read that the first year is very tough. And not to make any life changes in that year. Or get involved with anyone. The thing is…we we’re already involved. I am just not sure what my role is in this. I care about her deeply. Love her, actually. I just don’t know what to do when she slips. After each one, I’ve encouraged her to go to her meetings, not to beat herself up, etc.

I think she’s realized over the last few weeks that she can’t do it on her own. And that she should limit her time around her estranged husband. And especially after the last slip. I think she really sees the power both the alcohol and her estranged husband have over her.

So…what is my role? What do I do? I believe if she would make a move on getting her estranged husband out of her day to day life (ie speaking to a lawyer, trying to get him out of the house, file for divorce), she would feel much better about herself. And maybe the pull toward alcohol might not be as strong.

When she is feeling weak…I listen to what she has to say. When she is slipping…what do I do? What do I do when she’s already made the choice to drink? One of the nights she slipped…I knew she had started to drink. I went over and stopped her. But, I wasn’t sure if that was the right thing to do. I am not a hero. I don’t want to be a hero. I don’t want to be her parent either. Clearly she made the choice to drink. When someone is there making that choice…what do you do? Do you let them do what they have to do?

Also…for myself…the last two slips involved her going to the liquor store and buying the alcohol. She made that choice to drink. At any point she could’ve called me…and didn’t. She wanted to drink. I…both times…felt betrayed. Betrayed that she made that conscious decision to go buy wine and drink it. it wasn’t as if it was in her house already and she was tempted. She went out of her way to buy it, bring it home and drink it. All the while, her estranged husband drinking along with her.

Still hurt by that…

Other than these moments, Her and I have the makings of a really good relationship. It can be a great one. I see her. I see who she is. The last few months…have been astounding. The change in her…it’s the person I see her to be. But, these moments she has…these slips…are frightening.

So…what do I do?
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Old 09-17-2010, 02:56 PM
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Truthfully?

Step away. You all might do better with some clearer boundaries about past and present relationships. Deal with the old before you usher in the new.
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:35 PM
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Welcome to the SR family!

Thank you for taking the time to introduce yourself. You will find support and information here for yourself.

I am sorry that your friend keeps slipping in her recovery efforts. You are wise to see that these are clearly choices she is choosing to make. She is an adult and it is ultimately up to her to decide to drink or not to drink.

I'm known as Pelican and I'm a recovering alcoholic. I am a recovering ex-spouse of an alcoholic too. I got sober and lived with an active alcoholic. It was chaos.

Her estranged husband does not cause her to drink. It is hard living with alcohol in the home. It was right at my finger tips if I wanted to pick it back up. There was nothing anyone could say or do to me to get me to drink. There was also nothing anyone could say or do to me to get me to stop. I am an adult, my addiction is my responsibility.

After I got sober, I continued to try and reason with my A. I tried to get him to see the light. I had to accept the three C's of addiction:
I did not Cause it
I can not Control it
I could not Cure it

Today, my ex is sober and working his own recovery program. When he came to me and asked for my help, I gave him the website for local AA meetings. I could not be his sponsor. He needed someone that could call him out on his BS when he tried to justify unacceptable behavior (just as I did). I offered to support him and give him encouragement. That is all I was qualified to do.

Setting yourself up as someone's sponsor or support buddy is dangerous. You may be setting yourself up to be blamed when she fails. You may be setting yourself up to be blamed as too controlling, not understanding, and no fun. That job belongs to a professional counselor or someone with experience as a recovering alcoholic.

You can take care of yourself at this time. Learn about alcoholism. Learn what steps to take to protect yourself from relapses and unacceptable behavior (Alanon), and learn that you are not alone. We understand.

Keep coming back!
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:35 PM
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I have consider that. Many times. It doesn't feel like the right answer, though. Deep down, it just doesn't seem to be the right course of action.

Is it?
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:38 PM
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Here's a link with some steps that have helped some of us in dealing with alcoholism:
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...l-problem.html
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:50 PM
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When someone is there making that choice…what do you do?
You get busy taking the best possible care of yourself as you can.
You go to a meeting How to find a meeting in the US/Canada/Puerto Rico.
You work on yourself and your life.

Do you let them do what they have to do?
Yes. You cannot control what another person does.

I got sober in 1996. Over the following 12 or 13 years, I lapsed (short periods of drinking where I turned it around and sobered up again after less than a week) and relapsed (longer periods of drinking) MANY times. Placing myself around people who drink did not help me and likely caused the lapses and relapses in the first place. But no one forced me to drink and no one forced me to get sober again. Each time was my choice.
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:51 PM
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thank you for the link. i am definitely going to be reading further into all of this.

i appreciate what both of you have said...

i know that i am not qualified to be a buddy and definitely not a sponsor. so, then is the answer really to step away? is there some other role for me to play in her life?
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:53 PM
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so, then is the answer really to step away?
Is this the kind of relationship you want to be involved in long term? This is who she is. You cannot change her or make her change.
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:56 PM
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You are both miniscule amount of months out of your relationships. She is still living with her ex.

Step away. Be her friend, not her lover.
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Old 09-17-2010, 04:00 PM
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i want to be involved with her in the long term, yes. i realize that this is who she is. i am not trying to change her. and i realize that i can not make her change. i accept this...
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Old 09-17-2010, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Bolina View Post
You are both miniscule amount of months out of your relationships. She is still living with her ex.
Not even EX. "Separated for 9 months but still living in the same house." Seems like a tangled web to me.....

just sayin....

L
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Old 09-17-2010, 04:00 PM
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If you want to stay in her life and vice versa you gotta start detaching now. That doesn't mean you can't love her or be supportive of her when she makes the right choices but you have to internalize what Pelican is saying. That is the ONLY way. Once you start to thread yourself into their drinking issues and their problems at home, you are taking on way more than any relationship partner is responsible for. It starts to feel more like a parent/child relationship. I don't think that is what you want.

Her drinking is NOT a personal betrayal of you. It has NOTHING to do with you. Nada, zip, zilch. One thing that I do with my ABF when he does make the right choices, is I acknowledge and cheer him on. But when he makes the wrong ones, I am silent. Not only silent, I back way off because he is an adult and they are his choices. He knows the consequences.

He is having a rough slip right now but I am taking a hands off approach. When I start to do 'too much' it actually hurts him. We are not experts in addiction, and if you are like me, we have no experience with addiction in our lives until now. To take on a larger role in 'fixing' him could really be causing way more harm. The good thing is that you are very self aware of your actions and how her actions are affecting you. That is very healthy. But you are trying to see if there are causal connections between her drinking and the actions of her ex or you and that isn't healthy. It has nothing to do with anyone but the alcoholic and their choices in how they handle their disease.
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Old 09-17-2010, 04:02 PM
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that, bolina, is very true...
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Old 09-17-2010, 04:03 PM
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i have to step away from the computer for a bit. please, keep your thoughts/responses coming.

i appreciate it...
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Old 09-17-2010, 04:10 PM
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Well, LTD, now you mention it......

She is not free to have a relationship. Leave her be whilst she sorts her stuff out.
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Old 09-17-2010, 04:20 PM
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I have not been married but I know about seeking people who are emotionally unavailable for me -or anyone- then expecting them to
1 know love
2 love me
Like setting a trap - everytime more pain and everytime more costly and exhausting to me.
Are you open to getting counseling for yourself? there is nothing like a good therapist to help you feel better.
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Old 09-17-2010, 04:26 PM
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The men always get lots of quick replies.

What creatures of socialisation we are.......
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:39 PM
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i have been in therapy. several years now...

as you have suggested, bolina...i don't think i can do it. let me rephrase that. i can do whatever it is i have to do...but, i don't want to. i don't think i can just let her be. i realize that she has stuff to work out, but...leaving her be. i don't know. i can be her friend, though. and want to...the lover part, well...those moments are few and far between. four kids will do that to a love life.

what babyblue has said resonants the most with me. i definitely have to detach. which, i know that i have not been. which is also why i think i'm here.
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