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-   -   20 months sober and bf relapses for 2 days..what to do? (https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/friends-family-alcoholics/214388-20-months-sober-bf-relapses-2-days-what-do.html)

californian200 11-29-2010 02:40 PM

20 months sober and bf relapses for 2 days..what to do?
 
Hi there,

In May 2008 I met my current boyfriend, "Steve" at a church retreat. I had known his parents before meeting him and was aware that they had a really warm and large family. Steve was compassionate, tender, romantic, sweet and giving in a way that I hadn't experienced from a man before.

We started dating soon after we met, me at age 27 and him at age 32. He had told me that he'd had a drinking problem from the getgo, had lost his home and business when the market tanked and was living at home for the time being. He wanted to get back into school and turn his life around.

He enrolled in some classes at the community college so he could finish his BA degree. But when the holidays came around he relapsed for a couple of days. This is December 2008. He "dried out" for a month and then when he had to file for bankruptcy, officially in February 2009, he relapsed into a seven week bender. He slept outside one night, spent a few nights in the hospital. Vodka, vodka, vodka. Blackouts, shakes, vomiting. The whole nine yards.

I broke up with him and said I would date other people at that point. He went to a 60 day rehab center just for men and loved it. He took a job in the kitchen, sponsored people, became immersed in the program and so on. I got back together with him when I saw how whole heartedly he was taking it on.

He came out, enrolled formally in college and for the first 12 months was actively pursuing his recovery. He lived with me at my parents' house and was paying some rent, contributing to the household chores, working at the school and taking a full load of classes. Everyone was so excited for him!

About sixteen months into his recovery, this past summer 2010, his academic course load increased and he spent a lot of time studying. He had a 4.0 and was applying to MS programs/graduate school. His recovery took second place and his sponsors and community saw it.

Fast forward to the weekend before Thanksgiving. His parents went away and he said he had to go over there for the weekend. He ended up drinking (this was the same area where he had experienced his bender!). He had a few beers and I told him, "let's go back to my house." I promised myself that if he ever drank again I would not "fall into it" for more than 24 hours. I also had the names and phone numbers of his recovery friends.

When I dropped him off at home the next morning, "dried out" he went out and bought some more beer. When he came back to my house I told him to pack his things and leave. This made him drink 4 more beers (chug them, actually).

After 3 days of drinking beer, he went to detox, several meetings and hung out with his friends from recovery. He is saying he has learned lessons about the whole thing. He said he was building his recovery around life and not the other way around. He also said he wnats to do counseling and take some medications to help reduce his cravings (per my suggestion).

He is now back at his parents' house. We live close so I can still see him.

I don't know what to do. He is so smart, is on the precipice of starting an amazing graduate program where he will become a health professional, is caring, supportive, fun and has many of the same hobbies and interests as I do. The 18 months he had sober were awesome...but I am terrified of a roller coaster life of relapse.

Any advice would be great!!!!! My family is worried but still a bit hopeful. I am just confused. Because I love him...

hello-kitty 11-29-2010 02:53 PM

You are making lots of excuses for him as to why he relapses. The REAL reason he relapses is that he is an unrecovered alcoholic and nothing you do can help him recover. Nothing you do can cause him to drink. Nothing you do can stop him from drinking. He has to get there on his own, and it sounds like he has years of hard work ahead of him if he really chooses to fix himself and that's a big IF for now.


I am terrified of a roller coaster life of relapse.
Sounds like you are already living life on the relapse roller coaster. Unfortunately, we can't predict whether or not an alcoholic will relapse... or when an alcoholic will relapse. The only thing we do know for sure is that past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior... which doesn't bode well for where he is or the choices he is making right now when it comes to drinking.

My suggestion? Have you tried al-anon? Try working the program he is suppose to be working. Try focusing on yourself. Work through the codependent steps. Do what you wish he would do.

And be very very very cautious. What's the rush about jumping back into a relationship with him. Give yourself some space. Give him some space. Sounds like he could use some breathing room to get a grip on himself. And you certainly could use some before you commit yourself to a lifetime of chaos with an unrecovered alcoholic.

PS. I am confused why someone who just drank beer for 3 days would need to go to detox. I can understand having a pretty rotten horrible hangover and having to recover in bed, but I don't know that a trip to detox makes sense. Wierd that they would even take him after a 3 day binge.

Pelican 11-29-2010 02:54 PM

Welcome to the SR family!

Thanks for taking the time to introduce yourself. I am happy to hear that your bf is again seeking recovery. That is good news!

Please make yourself at home by reading and posting as much as needed. We are here to support you.

I think you have healthy boundaries in place:
You won't spend more than 24 hours witnessing a relapse
You took him back to his parents to remove the drama from your families home

Good on YOU!

I can't tell you what the future holds for your bf and his recovery. His recovery belongs to him. He will decide his future.

What about you?
I can suggest finding a local Alanon meeting and learn the tools for taking care of yourself while in a relationship with an alcoholic (even if they are no longer drinking).

Taking care of yourself is a gift you give yourself. Worth every moment!

Thumper 11-29-2010 02:57 PM


Originally Posted by californian200 (Post 2782230)
..but I am terrified of a roller coaster life of relapse.

Any advice would be great!!!!! My family is worried but still a bit hopeful. I am just confused. Because I love him...

Well that is the bottom line isn't it, because that is what you have. Some people choose to live with it, some don't.

Perhaps go to an alanon meeting, or several, to gain some clarity for yourself. Clarity is a must so you can do some soul searching to decide what you choose for your life.

I've decided, that for myself, love isn't enough for a partner for me. It is on my list but it isn't even at the top.

californian200 11-29-2010 03:05 PM

Thank you for the responses. This situation is quite difficult. He keeps hearing that "relapse is part of recovery" and "I have been sober for 15 years but it took being knocked down a bit to figure it out." He is very positive and upbeat right now.

I am sort of frozen. I have so many things going for me and I wonder if this is the person who I can rely on to build a family with.

His family is awesome and I am so close with all of them. Of course I know that shouldn't be part of the picture,but it's there whether I want to admit it or not.

Part of me hopes that because he has so much going for him (tremendous family support, great recovery groups support, getting an education) that he can make it through! I also have big hopes for the medications.

hello-kitty 11-29-2010 03:15 PM

It's never simple is it. For any of us.

I hope you'll check into an alanon meeting! I think that is a great way to support him in his recovery - and a great way for you to learn what the healthy choices are for you when it comes to having a relationship with him.

PS. Relapse is part of the disease of alcoholism. It's not part of recovery. You may want to clarify that to him the next time.

LaTeeDa 11-29-2010 03:20 PM

There's nothing wrong with being optimistic, however, there is a danger in giving "hope" more weight than "reality." You cannot have a relationship with someone's potential. Whatever relationship you have is with who he is, not who he has the potential to be. If who he is right now is not the person you want to be with, then it's probably best to take a wait and see stance.

L

Pelican 11-29-2010 03:20 PM


Originally Posted by californian200 (Post 2782246)
Thank you for the responses. This situation is quite difficult. He keeps hearing that "relapse is part of recovery" and "I have been sober for 15 years but it took being knocked down a bit to figure it out." He is very positive and upbeat right now.


Part of me hopes that because he has so much going for him (tremendous family support, great recovery groups support, getting an education) that he can make it through! I also have big hopes for the medications.

Relapse is not a part of recovery.
Relapse is a part of addiction.

"Being knocked down a bit to figure it out": happens to a lucky few. Some fall out of recovery and never find it again. Some die of their addiction.

Hi, I'm Pelican, and I am a recovering alcoholic.
I am also the recovering partner of a 14 year marriage to an alcoholic.
I am also recovering from my codependency.

I apologize if that was a bit harsh, but I wanted to point out those statements are part of an alcoholics denial. Denial that they are not that bad. Denial that relapses kill. Denial that recovery is about abstinence.

In my Alanon recovery, I learned to be patient: More will be revealed.

It has only been a few days since his relapse and renewed recovery efforts.

Focus on yourself.
Let the addict focus on himself.

Give yourselves time to process the recent events.

Thumper 11-29-2010 03:26 PM

It is so tempting to try and look into the future at who and what a person could be. It is a trick of the mind to try and deny the parts of a person we don't like and only focus on the parts we do like. I did it for a long time.

I was always focusing on what my husband 'could be'. We don't have crystal balls. We have the person we know in front of us, just as they are. This is the truth of them and of our relationship.

I wish your bf the best in his recovery and I wish you the best in your recovery too. Alanon has already been mentioned. The book Codependent No More by Melody Beattie was really helpful to me. There are also a lot of really good stickies at the top of this forum. I read them a lot as well.

suki44883 11-29-2010 03:46 PM

Why do you feel the need to do anything? Since he is no longer living with you, then why not just wait and see what happens? You don't have to decide right now if he's the one you want to spend your life with. If you have a lot of good things going for you, then why not concentrate on those things and let him handle his recovery. You'll be able to tell by his actions whether or not he is serious about it.

Cyranoak 11-29-2010 05:16 PM

Everything Hello-Kitty said...
 
.... I could not have said better myself. God bless you, you are and have been on the roller coaster for quite some time. I say this as somebody who foolishly married my alcoholic, and have been riding the roller coaster since 1998 (sober, bender, sober, bender, sober, bender, etc., etc., etc., and on and on and on...

There is hope for you. You found this site. The next step is Al-Anon, at least six meetings before deciding if it is for you. In my opinion, and with all due respect to your wonderful family, that's the only way for you to go. The site isn't enough by itself in my view, you need Al-Anon too. Here is my gift to you:

How to find a meeting in the US/Canada/Puerto Rico

Bless you and good luck!

Cyranoak

P.s. If my 15 year old daughter heard that you were considering having a family with this poor man she would be very, very sad for this child you are considering bringing into this world with him. She has had a relapsing alcoholic mother since she was three. Please read some of the posts in the Adult Children of Alcoholics section to see what could be in store for your child to be.


Originally Posted by hello-kitty (Post 2782237)
You are making lots of excuses for him as to why he relapses. The REAL reason he relapses is that he is an unrecovered alcoholic and nothing you do can help him recover. Nothing you do can cause him to drink. Nothing you do can stop him from drinking. He has to get there on his own, and it sounds like he has years of hard work ahead of him if he really chooses to fix himself and that's a big IF for now.



Sounds like you are already living life on the relapse roller coaster. Unfortunately, we can't predict whether or not an alcoholic will relapse... or when an alcoholic will relapse. The only thing we do know for sure is that past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior... which doesn't bode well for where he is or the choices he is making right now when it comes to drinking.

My suggestion? Have you tried al-anon? Try working the program he is suppose to be working. Try focusing on yourself. Work through the codependent steps. Do what you wish he would do.

And be very very very cautious. What's the rush about jumping back into a relationship with him. Give yourself some space. Give him some space. Sounds like he could use some breathing room to get a grip on himself. And you certainly could use some before you commit yourself to a lifetime of chaos with an unrecovered alcoholic.

PS. I am confused why someone who just drank beer for 3 days would need to go to detox. I can understand having a pretty rotten horrible hangover and having to recover in bed, but I don't know that a trip to detox makes sense. Wierd that they would even take him after a 3 day binge.



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