...boyfriend left for residential rehab

Old 10-29-2010, 03:44 AM
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Question ...boyfriend left for residential rehab

hi everyone, i'm new here, and after reading alot of the threads, and seeing all of the good advice i thought maybe you could help me too!

i have been dating my boyfriend for a a year and a half, we are both in our middle 20's. He has always had a problem with alcohol, but it did not get bad until about may of this year. The first time i ever saw him at a truely low point was when he had stopped answering his phone or texting for several days, something in my gut told me something was wrong, so i went to his apartment, and found him throwing up in his living room; very dehydrated and had not eaten for days. He was on a binge. He hadnt shown up for work for the past week, I found pans filled to the brim with vomit, vodka bottles everywhere, and my boyfriend looking sicker than i've ever seen him. I am an RN, and i knew that he needed to get help, and fluids, and food. He refused to go to the hospital, but did agree to come to my apartment. This was the first time i had ever seen anyone detoxing off of alcohol. It was a scary eye-opening time for me. I brought him gatorades, and food, and anything i could do to make him comfortable. after about 4 days he began to come back to normal.

This was the cycle all summer. He eventually lost his job, but luckly his dad gave him one at his construction company. He would go 2-3 weeks sober, and go to work, and then relapse and go on binges for a week, in which i would have to go and take him to my apartment and get him sober again. I got to the point that i knew when he wasn't staying at my place, after my 3rd night shift of the week i would have to go pick him up to bring him to my place and start the process over. It was very draining on me, but i never got angry or resented him for it, because i knew that it was not something that would help our situation. I knew he needed rehab, and talked to him about it, but he kept saying that he thought he was strong enough to do it on his own. Being a nurse, i am a very patient and caring person. I never yelled or got angry when he relapsed, but helped him get better, and then tried to plan different activities to go do during the day with him so that it would be easier to stay sober. I admit, i was taking on a lot.

It got to the point that alcohol became what defined him. Not the amazing boy i had first met. His friends would come up to me or call me and ask how he was doing, it was all that was on all of our minds. We knew he needed help, just needed him to admit that too.

his friends, dad and myself had an intervention with him a week ago. and he agreed to residential rehab. He went into detox last friday.
I had a pre planned vacation and left on friday as well, and just got back, so i have not been able to go and see him yet. but we talk on the phone daily.
He is really putting his whole heart into getting better, having an open mind about all the groups and treatments, and i can already see our relationship getting stronger.

But, since he's been in rehab, it's been all that's on my mind. Because i have not yet had the chance to go visit, i feel very out of the loop, and such an outsider on his recovery. This being a major turning point in his life, all i want is to be apart of it, but i'm not sure what he needs from me, and i don't know if he knows yet...I think once i actually go visit,on sunday, it will hopefully help ease my thoughts. It's very hard for me to not be the one that he is leaning on for support. We talk about his groups, and meetings, but it's hard for me to really understand everything that is going on there. Today he text me that he had a very emotionally draining day and that he was talking to some people to help. I think this was my realization that the hardest thing is that, he is turning to other recovering addicts for support, which is great and needed, i understand, but i'm used to being that support and it's hard to give that up. Because this is new to me, i'm not sure how involved i should be in treatment. I know it's something he has to do on his own, but at the same time he wants me there for support. He has talked to a few conselors about my concerns, and they said come visit as often as possible-see what's going on, go to groups, read Al-anon books. I just don't want to be overly involved and give him another stressor on top of recovering. I need to find that balance. I just feel so lost at how i can help, and that's diffucult for me to admit.
But i am going to visit on sunday, and he wants me to go to a family/loved one group. So i am looking forward to that, but wondered if anyone had any suggestions or past expierences that they would like to share?

thank you!
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Old 10-29-2010, 05:21 AM
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Good morning and Welcome. We're glad you found SR.

I learned that his recovery had to be up to him and the best thing I could do to be supportive was to read up on the disease and immerse myself in my own recovery. I suggest AlAnon meetings for you as they helped me tremendously. There are people here on SR that will be along soon to give some great advice also.
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Old 10-29-2010, 06:56 AM
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Welcome to Sober Recovery! I am glad you have found us but sorry for why you had to.

I just feel so lost at how i can help,
Well, you can't 'help' him. This is definitely on him, just as it was on me and many others like us. What you can do, FOR YOU, is find some Al-Anon meetings, try at least 6 different ones, and work on you.

First the d 3 C's.

You didn't Cause this.

You can't Control this.

You can't Cure this.

Then there are YOUR boundaries. Just what is and is not acceptable behavior to you. These are harder. Al-anon and this site will help you with that.

Stand back and 'watch' his actions, not the words that come out of his mouth.

Do not be surprised (although you will be) if and/or when he relapses. Relapse is part of the disease, not the recovery, and it takes some many 'tries' to find recovery.

Read all the 'stickies' at the top of this forum and read past posts, there is an awful lot of Experience, Strength and Hope (ES&H) here!

Lastly, please continue to post and let us know how YOU are doing as we do care very much.

Love and hugs,
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Old 10-29-2010, 07:13 AM
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Welcome to SR......I'm glad you found us although I'm sorry for the circumstances that bring you here.

My recovery began when my son went to rehab four years ago. No. I am not an alcoholic or drug addict........I am a co-dependent. I had no idea what the term "co-dependent" meant at that time. I wish I knew then what I have learned since that time and am still learning now.

My best suggestions are to read, learn, and explore yourself. And allow him the room and freedom to explore and examine himself.

It's such good news that he is in treatment.

gentle hugs
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Old 10-29-2010, 07:33 PM
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Follow the counselor's suggestion. Be a loving girlfriend, not a therapist or nurse. I wondered the same thing, if my being in his life (he is also in rehab) right now or contacted him would be a stressor. But a HEALTHY person (with good boundaries) can be a source of support provided you don't try to 'fix' him. He should turn to those in rehab for advice.

He wants you in his life to relate to him as a person, not as an alcoholic in relating to a therapist. That is where you come in. Meanwhile, let the professionals/fellow recoverers do their job. Trust me, life is so much simpler if you step back from the helper professional in you and be just a gf.

I am a counselor (for at risk moms) and so my natural inclination was to be his counselor! Boy what an exhausting, draining and dull job that was. I didn't want that role because it took away some of the specialness between us. I had to stop treating him like a client and as the guy I'm in love with. Only then could I relax and he could also relax.

Just live your life. He is very lucky to have you, he knows it, his counselor's know it so get your hair done or something and pat yourself on the back. It takes a HUGE amount of patience to deal with an ABF seeking recovery. We are superstars, go out and act like one. Feel free to message me if you like because I went through the 'he doesn't need me anymore??' anxiety but got over that in a hurry.

I know you care and want to help but you really can't. Use this as time to focus on yourself. I guess the thing I tell myself is, his rehab isn't about me. It is about him working on his illness. Hard for someone like me who is kind of a diva anyway "what? this isn't about ME??" Uh, no it isn't.
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Old 10-29-2010, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Babyblue View Post
a HEALTHY person (with good boundaries) can be a source of support

Yep, could not agree with you more on that statemnt

Just live your life.

AL ANON will help in this

focus on yourself

AL ANON will help you with this also
Al anon is a great resouce but also going to AA meeting are too., and they are open for anyone who just wants to listen...(and understand with an open mind)
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:10 PM
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If you could love him enough or care for him enough to get him sober, he'd be sober.

Leave recovery to him and the treatment ctr. To get well he needs
to do everything differently. He needs to rely on the recovery community for support
and guidance.
Going to the visitations and family meetings as you've planned is great.
If you're motivated to change as he changes,
Do read al-anon literature, find meetings in your area. Listings are online.
You're lucky he went to treatment... he is a very sick guy.
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:27 AM
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he is a very sick guy.

I am realizing that myself how sick my friend is...just never really knew HOW SICK....

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Old 10-30-2010, 08:09 PM
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Me too Maggie. You think you get the whole picture but then you don't until the extent of their struggles come out. I am a good listener but definately not qualified to help someone through some really difficult stuff. Better the experts handle it.

But there comes a certan relief knowing how sick they really are. I got so caught up in my actions affecting him when I realize he has been through much much worse.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:04 AM
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@babyblue...i keep going to AL ANON and always take inventory on ME, and when I am wrong, i promply admitted it....STEP 10....its always a everyday lifestyle of change....
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