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Drawing the line for a friend. This hurts.

Old 11-19-2010, 02:58 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Hi iheartsushi, and welcome to SR.

I am a recovering codependent and recovering alcoholic/addict.

I also have a 22-year-old daughter who's been involved with an emotionally abusive alcoholic for over a year now.

As much as I love her, I can't live her life for her, or sway the choices she makes.

It's hard to detach when you see the train wreck happening.

My 22-year-old and I have a pretty good relationship in spite of things.

She knows not to bring the drama to my house.

The last time they had a major blowout, and she ended up going back to him, I told her "I love you and my heart hurts to see you settling for less than you deserve."

She knows how I feel. She continues to make the choices she does because she's got to walk her own path just as I have.

If you believe in God or a higher power, put your friend in your prayers. Don't ever underestimate the power of prayer.
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Old 11-19-2010, 03:01 PM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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You don't have to walk away. You can hand her a slip of paper with alanon meeting information on it and say. "I love you. I know you are struggling with your boyfriends alcoholism. I need to protect my own sense of peace and calm in my life. This issue causes me stress, worry, frustration (whatever it is) and I can no longer be the sounding board for it. Here is a great resource that will provide you specific support in that area." Say that however you feel best.

Then, when she calls next week and starts in on the boyfriend, you politely end the conversation, or change the topic. You really and truly do not listen to it anymore.

You can still be her friend. You can still support her. You can set an amazing example of doing exactly what she is struggling with - setting a boundary that protects your own well being.

If she does begin to set her own boundaries a friend like you, who will support the steps she will be trying to make, will be such a gift.
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Old 11-19-2010, 03:26 PM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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Freedom, Thank you kindly for sharing your story with me. It means a lot and I do not take all you stated for granted.

Although this was extremely difficult to write today, it appears that the consensus it that while I love her unconditionally, I should accept that she has made her path and choice. While I cannot stand by and watch her destroy her life, I can support her through letting her know I love her but can no longer be her crutch or sound board. That is what I am taking away from all of these comments, even the tough ones that hurt my feelings.

My plan is to have another heart to heart with her (previous ones obviously didn't sink in as she has continued to call when in need) and will be stern. Since my husband and I are about to venture into one of the most difficult periods of our lives with building our family, it is important that I take care of myself.

Thank you again for sharing your story.

Originally Posted by Freedom1990 View Post
Hi iheartsushi, and welcome to SR.

I am a recovering codependent and recovering alcoholic/addict.

I also have a 22-year-old daughter who's been involved with an emotionally abusive alcoholic for over a year now.

As much as I love her, I can't live her life for her, or sway the choices she makes.

It's hard to detach when you see the train wreck happening.

My 22-year-old and I have a pretty good relationship in spite of things.

She knows not to bring the drama to my house.

The last time they had a major blowout, and she ended up going back to him, I told her "I love you and my heart hurts to see you settling for less than you deserve."

She knows how I feel. She continues to make the choices she does because she's got to walk her own path just as I have.

If you believe in God or a higher power, put your friend in your prayers. Don't ever underestimate the power of prayer.
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Old 11-19-2010, 03:28 PM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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Wonderful Advice!

Great advice!!!! I am going to do just that! This makes me feel very good now. Thank you!!!!!!

Originally Posted by Thumper View Post
You don't have to walk away. You can hand her a slip of paper with alanon meeting information on it and say. "I love you. I know you are struggling with your boyfriends alcoholism. I need to protect my own sense of peace and calm in my life. This issue causes me stress, worry, frustration (whatever it is) and I can no longer be the sounding board for it. Here is a great resource that will provide you specific support in that area." Say that however you feel best.

Then, when she calls next week and starts in on the boyfriend, you politely end the conversation, or change the topic. You really and truly do not listen to it anymore.

You can still be her friend. You can still support her. You can set an amazing example of doing exactly what she is struggling with - setting a boundary that protects your own well being.

If she does begin to set her own boundaries a friend like you, who will support the steps she will be trying to make, will be such a gift.
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Old 11-19-2010, 05:13 PM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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Not advice, an observation...

...and the tone of your response suggests you may be a little defensive about that. The very first thing I thought when I read your post was that you were too involved in the situation from too far away, that you were trying to control your girlfriends behavior in the guise of "helping and caring," and that the best thing you could do was simply detach from the situation completely and give it back to your friend.

I didn't post because I suspected you would respond to me just as you did here. It wasn't advice, it was the sharing of experience, strength, and hope.

Sometimes that hurts and sometimes it's offensive-- that doesn't make it wrong or invalid.

There are plenty of people I love and care deeply for who are doing dumb things. I care. I'm controlling and I want to interject myself in it. It's none of my business. I leave it alone because I know all I can do is support them as they deal with their business.

Take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranoak

P.s. As somebody with controlling issues let me be overt in suggesting you have controlling issues. For most of us the issue is the actual drinker. For you the issue is the significant other of the actual drinker. In my opinion that's taking it up a notch.

Originally Posted by iheartsushi View Post
are you kidding me? that is your advice? to suggest I have controlling issues because I care deeply for my best friend? seriously?
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Old 11-19-2010, 05:24 PM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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You are in a tricky situation. You love your friend dearly but she is an adult. Adults make choices and you wouldn't make the one she is making (staying with an alcoholic) but it is her life. I've had friends in less than healthy relationships, some with addicts but I know I could never manipulate or do anything behind their backs in the hopes that they see what I see. They may, they may not. This is her journey in life. If it is too much for you to hear the repeated patterns of what she is putting yourself through, you have every right for yourself to put up a boundary with her. Just tell her that as much as you love her and are there for her, it is painful for you to hear about how he treats her. That is all you have to do. Then change the subject. Keep doing that every time she brings him up. But don't go to her mom with this. What she choses to tell her mom is her business.

Try not to judge her though or think you wouldn't be in that situation because you may find yourself with someone that your friends would not approve of. Then what would you do? Your worries for her are valid. Express your concerns if that will help but distancing yourself from her situation is really all that you need to do. good luck
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Old 11-19-2010, 07:29 PM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by iheartsushi View Post
...I was merely suggesting that if her mother were aware of the situations we could put our heads together .. and maybe .. JUST MAYBE .. if my friend knew I would go that far to bring her mother up to speed that she would take action.

Secondly, I listen because I care deeply for her .. for them both. I will always be there for my friends. How is that illogical?
So you are going to save your friend from herself inspite of herself? That's what co-dependency is all about.

You are considering involving an older lady, worry and fret her and burden her with something she is powerless to fix?

Originally Posted by iheartsushi View Post
..... JUST MAYBE .. if my friend knew I would go that far to bring her mother up to speed that she would take action.
That is manipulative.

Btw, your friend is taking action. It's just not action you approve of. Her action: she complains to you (relieving herself of stress and getting validation), then sweeps it under the rug. You've fortified her for another round. When their relationship depletes her again, she comes to you, and you build her up and send her back into the ring. She is taking action.

Originally Posted by iheartsushi View Post
...Secondly, I listen because I care deeply for her .. for them both. I will always be there for my friends. How is that illogical?
Has your 'listening' and 'caring deeply' for these friends resolved their problems? In all the time you've known them with this problem, has your caring or listening fixed anything? Don't you think it is illogical that since it hasn't worked in the last few years, it will work now? In fact, you imply yourself that it is not working, since you are asking about moving on to 'plan B': tattling to mommy. (altho to be fair, you did not say you actually would tell her mother, only that you would threaten to tell her mother, which brings back up the issue of manipulation/blackmail.

The solution is simpler. Her telling you her problems and grievances are stressing you out at a time when you need to harmony and emotional equalibrium. He's always behaved nicely around you. He's not stressing you out or making you unhappy or worrying you. She is. And only by telling you this stuff. Make her stop telling you this stuff, and the problem as far as it affects you is solved.

And maybe if she can't tell you anymore, she'll go and use those other resources that are available to her. And maybe...just MAYBE...those other resources will be more successful than her whining to you and you offering her deep caring and listening. What do you have to lose? How does anyone lose if you turn off the info spigot?

In any case, I have my fingers crossed on your IVF treatments and wish you all the best on this exciting journey towards parenthood!!!
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:43 PM
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Chill out folks. Hostility and aggression disguised as "tough love" and "sharing experience" is just flaming by another name. If you can't throttle it back and control yourselves go take a walk around the block and breathe some air.

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Old 11-19-2010, 10:36 PM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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Thank you, Mike. This thread was hard to read. Please be more gentle, everyone.

I, for one, have all kinds of issues. We all do! It's really hard to have them pointed out bluntly, especially when I'm in a hard place emotionally.

I might not have come back here it this were my thread.

Please keep coming back, iheartsushi.

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Old 11-20-2010, 06:40 AM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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Just in case you haven't read it yet:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...ease-read.html
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Old 11-20-2010, 01:22 PM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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Hi IHeartSushi,
to SR.

Please see this link to Oprah.com on boundary-setting. Or, you can google "how to set personal boundaries" and get some good reading material.

Begin to Set Personal Boundaries - Oprah.com
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Thumper View Post
You don't have to walk away. You can hand her a slip of paper with alanon meeting information on it
I was just gonna suggest this...OR tell her you are on a great group called SOBER RECOVERY and give her this link.....

also, it is time to set some boundaries and I think THUMPER is right on this also...tell her you will support her but there is a limit...take her to her 1st AL ANON meeting....
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Thumper View Post
You don't have to walk away. You can hand her a slip of paper with alanon meeting information on it
I was just gonna suggest this...OR tell her you are on a great group called SOBER RECOVERY and give her this link.....

also, it is time to set some boundaries and I think THUMPER is right on this also...tell her you will support her but there is a limit...take her to her 1st AL ANON meeting....
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:13 PM
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oops^^^ sorry...
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:16 PM
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Hi HeartSushi, have you checked out "Codependent no more" by Melody Beatty?? its a GREAT book... and you are not a bad person for placing your boundary.

When I was involved with someone toxic and suffering a lot, a woman that went by "GiveLove" wrote to me saying it hurt her to see me being so sad and allowing/creating many bad things for myself. Among all my confusion those words really got me and I started listening more closely, perhaps the same happens to your friend.

In any case you deserve your sleep and peace. Probably she learnt her role from parents/caregivers. You cannot change her history, that may be going on for generations. Its simply not in your power. And perhaps the mom already knows but is in denial. And you telling her, or anyone else, won't change anything either.... we always think there is a magic formula but it doesn't work that way... we each have our own path to walk as others have said...

PS Handing the people I love to God, HP, the Light of the Universe, etc, has given me much needed peace.
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Old 11-20-2010, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by fourmaggie View Post

also, it is time to set some boundaries and I think THUMPER is right on this also...tell her you will support her but there is a limit...take her to her 1st AL ANON meeting....
Great idea, and one that I was going to recommend. I took my step-sister to her first meeting for dealing with her alcoholic mom...and the rest is up to her.
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:36 PM
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This may very well be my final post mainly for two reasons: I have talked to my friend; and, I do not possess the skills or tools to understand the dynamic that defines my place in their live, this disease. Ironically, and I could be mistaken, but I don't believe one person wrote the word 'disease' in any post within this thread, which also made me question if I even knew ANYTHING!

Until I am more equipped to understand I may return and hopefully be able to comprehend all of the comments that seem so foreign and caused me to be defensive.

What I do know is that love binds me to them and love is why I answered every call at 2 or 3am knowing what I was about to hear. Love is also what finally gave me the strength to say what I did to her last night.

Through a lot of tears I expressed my feelings of how I can no longer take her calls when he has binged and she is upset about it. It has been nearly 4 years of those calls and I just cannot do it anymore.

What I believe I heard from these comments here (albeit the psycho-babble) is that I was an enabler by allowing her to dump on me and then just act as if everything was fine a day or two later; I learned that they are adults who are making their own choices and I cannot change them; I learned that I must look out for myself and while I will always be her friend I will not allow the negative aspects of their lives to affect mine.

After she and I talked in great length she said she was thankful I had been honest with her. I asked her what she will do now that she doesn't have anyone to confide in (since this is the double edge sword that hurts me the most), to which she replied that she didn't know. I also asked her where HER bottom line was in staying or leaving, to which she replied she didn't know that either. My heart hurts for her and I am unable to articulate how much it does.

I suppose what still lingers over me, and where I don't have the skills to comprehend, is this seems like betrayal, or that I am no longer there for a friend who may need me. That's the hard part for me. However, my husband read this entire thread and states that he can see both sides of the discussion. He understands that I want to be there for her but at what price?

So for now at least, I feel a sense of relief that I won't be getting those 2am calls. I did tell her that if EVER she needed me to give them a ride to a meeting, or help with research for a rehabilitation center or anything toward the positive road I would be there. Until then our conversations are void of anything about him.

Thanks to all of you who got where I was coming from and understood that this is a new world to me but I was doing so out of love.
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:54 PM
  # 38 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by iheartsushi View Post
He understands that I want to be there for her but at what price?
That's the kicker. Alcoholism carries a high price in human suffering, dear.

It affects everyone in its path.

I think you are an incredibly caring person, and please do not feel badly about setting boundaries with your friend.
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Old 11-20-2010, 10:21 PM
  # 39 (permalink)  
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Hang in there, sushi. This whole world of addiction and alcoholism is very confusing at first. Take a little time to read thru the sticky posts at the top of the forum, maybe check out a meeting of al-anon or CODA. It takes a while to get the "hang of it".

In any case, it looks to me like you're doing just fine by searching for answers here on SR.

Mike
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Old 11-20-2010, 11:14 PM
  # 40 (permalink)  
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Iheartsushi, this thread is hitting home for me. I stayed with my A husband for years (14, but who's counting?) We have been separated. I can only imagine the hurt & pain I caused my family (& his) who didn't want me to put myself in a situation of misery. I chose to stay in the insanity. Instead of trying to understand how much my family & his family cared about me, I resented them. I worked so hard to try & prove them wrong, until I could no longer (I guess I hit my bottom).
I had to leave. Today, my husband is in recovery and I too am working on my own recovery.

One day your friend, if she chooses to see, will appreciate that you cared & hurt for her. However, she will have to come to her own realization. I know. That was me.
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