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Why is no contact so hard? And why is it necessary?

Old 03-07-2011, 11:08 PM
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Unhappy Why is no contact so hard? And why is it necessary?

Haven't talked to ABF in a week. I am having such a hard time, and am frankly completely devastated. He is my best friend, and a wonderful man who has helped me more than anyone else in the world. He just happens to have a serious drinking problem and struggles hugely with it. I love him, my friends love him, my family loves him, and they all know about his troubles. It is kind of amazing that he could do all he has done for me in the state he has been in.

But last week, he hid a beer from me, which he'd never done before, and I told him I didn't want to talk to him for a while. Called him a couple days later to check on him, and he ignored me. No contact since.

I know in my mind that the best thing for us is to not talk, because I think then he will see how close he is to the bottom. He got a DUI last month, and is now car-less, job-less, and stuck in his dump of a house in a bad area. With his alcoholic roommate. Which I guess also makes me wonder if he's just drinking everything away, while I am sobbing for the love of my life, and wondering if our relationship is beyond the point of repair.

For the record, he has seen an addiction doctor 2 or 3 times since the DUI, and apparently working on getting sober. This is the first time he's been seriously committed to doing anything besides doing it on his own, which is a good sign, and I don't want to give up on him now, but because he's still drinking, I don't know where to draw the line of support. I know that I can't save him, and he has to do it himself, and because he's still drinking, it seems he is so far from being able to quit. I know that our relationship cannot be if he keeps drinking. But he really is the love of my life and the best friend I have ever had. I miss him. And it hurts that he hasn't contacted me. (I guess it is what I asked for, but it still hurts.) It hurts to think that a man who has told me, both sober and drunk, that I am the love of his life, and he wants nothing but to be with me, who has never treated me less than gold won't even talk to me. (Yes, his drinking is frustrating and infuriating and we have had many long discussions about it and its impact on me, on him, on me-and-him, but he really has been better to me than anyone ever has).

I guess it's confusing also because I don't even know if we've broken up. We still have lots of each other's things. I still talk to his mom. I don't like this gray area purgatory. Wonder if I should just call him and clear the slate, set actual boundaries and definitions, or just let time run its course. I am so lost right now. I am keeping myself busy with work and other friends, but it feels like a piece of my soul is missing right now.

Your thoughts/advice/experience greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-08-2011, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by courageouscrane View Post
Haven't talked to ABF in a week. I am having such a hard time, and am frankly completely devastated. He is my best friend, and a wonderful man who has helped me more than anyone else in the world. He just happens to have a serious drinking problem and struggles hugely with it. I love him, my friends love him, my family loves him, and they all know about his troubles. It is kind of amazing that he could do all he has done for me in the state he has been in.

But last week, he hid a beer from me, which he'd never done before, and I told him I didn't want to talk to him for a while. Called him a couple days later to check on him, and he ignored me. No contact since.

I know in my mind that the best thing for us is to not talk, because I think then he will see how close he is to the bottom. He got a DUI last month, and is now car-less, job-less, and stuck in his dump of a house in a bad area. With his alcoholic roommate. Which I guess also makes me wonder if he's just drinking everything away, while I am sobbing for the love of my life, and wondering if our relationship is beyond the point of repair.

For the record, he has seen an addiction doctor 2 or 3 times since the DUI, and apparently working on getting sober. This is the first time he's been seriously committed to doing anything besides doing it on his own, which is a good sign, and I don't want to give up on him now, but because he's still drinking, I don't know where to draw the line of support. I know that I can't save him, and he has to do it himself, and because he's still drinking, it seems he is so far from being able to quit. I know that our relationship cannot be if he keeps drinking. But he really is the love of my life and the best friend I have ever had. I miss him. And it hurts that he hasn't contacted me. (I guess it is what I asked for, but it still hurts.) It hurts to think that a man who has told me, both sober and drunk, that I am the love of his life, and he wants nothing but to be with me, who has never treated me less than gold won't even talk to me. (Yes, his drinking is frustrating and infuriating and we have had many long discussions about it and its impact on me, on him, on me-and-him, but he really has been better to me than anyone ever has).

I guess it's confusing also because I don't even know if we've broken up. We still have lots of each other's things. I still talk to his mom. I don't like this gray area purgatory. Wonder if I should just call him and clear the slate, set actual boundaries and definitions, or just let time run its course. I am so lost right now. I am keeping myself busy with work and other friends, but it feels like a piece of my soul is missing right now.

Your thoughts/advice/experience greatly appreciated.
I completely understand where your coming from, I have been through a similiar situation. I too was very confused as how (right after the break-up) my ex alcholic boyfriend could possibly go this long ( I said this daily) without trying to contact me in some way. We really had been through everything together and I couldnt (and never did) grasp, how he had such ability, to not contact me- I wondered after all we had shared how he could one day without thinking of me. And the last thing I wanted to do, was try to contact him, afterall he was one who had been dishonest in our relationship, how could I stand my ground and keep him at the same time. I like you, totally got lost in the process, wanted answers and wasnt sure if him not bothering to even call me was my the answer.. Just want to offer my sympathy. I felt so uncertain, and wanted answers so I could atleast figure out a plan of action. Ive been there and it was tormenting.
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Old 03-08-2011, 05:29 AM
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as far as whether or not no contact is necessary? Im sure that varies among people. But for me, no contact- was the only way to end the mix messages my ex boyfriend was giving me. We were both sending and receiving mixed messages from each other and our relationship was a total tangled up mess.
I tried back off and just not talk or see him as much. Seeing him periodically, made things even more foggy for me so I to save my sanity (stop checking my phone every sec etc), I had to go no contact.
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:21 AM
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It IS hard to sit on your hands when nothing is clear. We want answers, and we want 'em NOW, dammit.

I totally get it. But sometimes it's like opening the oven door too soon when you have a delicate cake or souffle in the oven. You can mess with the process by not being patient.

Living with the chaos is something we KNOW. It may be unpleasant, but we know, at least, what's happening--even when it's bad. Living with the unknown is always more uncomfortable.

All I can say is, trust that your getting back in the middle of it isn't going to help him, nor will it help you. Trust the process, let it play out as it will. Eventually things will become clearer.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:00 AM
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one day at a time. Just for today.

These are just words, but they really help!
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:30 AM
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IMO, no contact is necessary in order to see the situation more clearly.

No contact is hard because you are breaking a pattern, and change is never easy.

Reading your post, it seems as though you need to look to the man's actions and not his words. Words are nice and all, but actions speak to a man's character.

Try to remember that as painful as this is, no one ever died from being uncomfortable. You can get through this, one day, one hour and one minute at a time, if need be.
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:03 AM
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Thanks to all

Thanks to all for your feedback. I am trying one day at a time, but it is really like one minute at a time, and making days seem as long as years.

With the exception of this most recent beer-hiding incident, he has always been painfully honest with me. And while I don't like the aCTION of drinking, there have never really been any "bad" actions on his part.

I am finding myself running through a whole spectrum of emotions, from feeling like he is the love of my life, to feeling mad that he can't even call me. I wish that there could be something...an apology, a f*** you, a "we should break up," a "I can't stop drinking," a "I'm moving to Mongolia"...something, ANYTHING, for at least some closure. I'm sitting here staring at a big pile of his stuff on my desk, and don't really want to throw it in a bag and leave it on his porch.

Maybe it is too soon, but the more distance we have, the more confusing things seem. The longer we go without talking, the more I think about how much I love him, and how important he is to me, and how irreplacable our love seems. But at the same time, it hurts so badly that this man who told me just one week ago that he loved me, that I am his best friend, that I am the love of his life, can't even call me. And that makes me think that he only loved me when I "let" him drink...that his promises that beer would never come before me are all lies, and beer has won hands-down
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:14 AM
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It isn't a lie, exactly. Alcoholics can't HELP but put the alcohol first. If they were able to choose, they wouldn't be alcoholics in the first place.

I'm sure you are important to him, but he has lost the power to choose you over the booze. His only hope is for him to desperately want to quit drinking--to want it more than anything in the world (also including you).

You can't hurry that along, and you can't demand that he recover any sooner than he is ready to. Sorry, that kind of certainty just doesn't go with this territory. I feel for your discomfort and I TOTALLY get it. But there isn't anything you can do that will give you the answers you would like to have.

You can only decide how much uncertainty and frustration you are willing to put up with. Because it doesn't sound like he is ready to quit, yet.
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Old 03-08-2011, 03:02 PM
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Thanks Lexie, I needed to hear that. As much as my brain knows that it is the alcohol that puts itself first, it cuts my heart up. I want him to want to quit more than he wants me. It is just sad for him to think what it will take to get him to that point.

I guess I am just lost/confused about the "ready" to quit thing. While I understand that he will only be ready when HE is ready, we have been on this rollercoaster of "ready" for over a year now. This time, he's at least seeing a doctor regularly. Literally every other day, he changes between "I can do it on my own" to "I need to stop completely, I'm going to talk to my doc at my next appointment." He did ask his doc for a prescription for benzodiazapenes for withdrawl symptoms, but the doctor wouldn't give them to him...I guess that he didn't feel confident my BF could do it (or would do it) on his own.

I really don't know how much I am willing to put up with, but having no contact is honestly driving me crazy. I at least want some resolution in terms of our relationship, so I can close the door or keep it open, or whatever. I think if I don't hear from him in the next couple of days, I will probably end up calling him, just to see where we stand.

This is so hard, and I thank you for your words and kindness. So many people warned me about the perils of relationships with alcoholics, and from reading this board, I know how lucky I am to have been with a man who isn't abusive, and I have been fortunate not to live through the nightmares that so many others do. But it is equally heartbreaking for me to know that alcohol can come so firmly between me and the love of my life
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Old 03-08-2011, 04:15 PM
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All I can tell you is this, from my own experience. My first husband and I were dating, and had been going round and round with the alcohol issure for quite awhile. He was 21, I was a couple of years older. A co-worker gave me a copy of the BB. I read the book and gave it to him. He thought it was interesting, wanted to try on his own to quit.

Of course, that didn't work out, so he finally agreed to go to an AA meeting (I went with him). He thought the people were nice, but he still thought he could do it himself.

A few months later, I was at the end of my rope, and I said, "I need to take a break from this because it is making me crazy. I want us to not see each other for awhile. Maybe we will get back together, maybe not, but I can't take this right now."

A short time later he went, on his own, to an AA meeting. He never drank again, and that was 31 years ago.

OTOH, my second husband went back to drinking shortly after our marriage (we married during a sober interval, when he was in AA and I was overly optimistic because of my first husband's success). Number two (lol, no pun intended) is still, to this day, I believe, drinking himself to death (he'd almost died of liver failure before we got married).

So. Apparently my first husband was ready to stop destroying himself, my second husband was not. *shrug* I don't think there was anything magical I did, either time, with the possible exception of handing the BB to my first husband, who was ready to hear the message of hope.

Alcoholics have totally screwed up thinking. When we are drinking, we can see no way out, no way we can imagine living without alcohol. It has us tightly around the throat. People can tell us what to do to recover, but until we are desperate enough to do ANYTHING to make it stop, it's really just going to go in one ear and out the other. All we can see is that alcohol seems necessary for survival. And anyone who interferes in that gets resented and blamed. It is neither fair, nor reasonable, but it is a fact.

If I were you, I would operate on the assumption, until and unless proven otherwise, that he is not presently at the point where he wants to be sober more than he wants to continue to drink.
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:37 AM
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Thanks again Lexie. I guess I am hoping/feeling/believing that my partner is more like your first husband, rather than your second. Though at this moment in time, it seems like he is really wavering between the two.

I guess this is, still and again, where I get stuck...if my presence or absence makes no difference in his life; that is, if I am powerless to control his addiction, why is contacting him, letting him know that I do care, such a bad idea?

I suppose I am being dogmatic about it, but also hoping that my absence will hurry his elevator to the bottom. Though still fearful that my absence will let his elevator crash six feet below

I guess I am realizing that *I* am not yet at my bottom with him or our relationship. He really is the love of my life, and I can't imagine being without him. One interminable day at a time, I guess...

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and experience. You really helped me find some clarity around the situation.
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by courageouscrane View Post
why is contacting him, letting him know that I do care, such a bad idea?
I think it means that:
1. The consequence of losing you isn't really losing you - you're still 'there', still helping him stopping reaching his bottom. You're not really all that absent if you're still in contact, are you?

2. Contacting him isn't so much bad for him as bad for YOU. No Contact helps you clear your mind of the manipulation, hels you to re focus on you, your needs and your recovery without the drama and distraction an A brings. You're hurt he still chooses alcohol over you. Maintain contact and that hurt will keep on happening every time. Why cause yourself that pain? Stop sticking your hand into the flame and give yourself some time to heal...
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:38 AM
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In both situations, I let the alcoholic know that I loved them and cared what happened to them. I stressed that I needed to step away for my own well-being.

I still care for (heck, I would say love because he is a lovable person) my second husband. But when he would call me, which he did once a year or so up until about four years ago, I would politely cut the conversation short, each time telling him to take care of himself. My staying or leaving had no effect whatsoever on his readiness to quit.

I know it's tough, and you are doing the best you can. That's all any of us can do.
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Old 03-09-2011, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by courageouscrane View Post
Thanks to all for your feedback. I am trying one day at a time, but it is really like one minute at a time, and making days seem as long as years.

With the exception of this most recent beer-hiding incident, he has always been painfully honest with me. And while I don't like the aCTION of drinking, there have never really been any "bad" actions on his part.

I am finding myself running through a whole spectrum of emotions, from feeling like he is the love of my life, to feeling mad that he can't even call me. I wish that there could be something...an apology, a f*** you, a "we should break up," a "I can't stop drinking," a "I'm moving to Mongolia"...something, ANYTHING, for at least some closure. I'm sitting here staring at a big pile of his stuff on my desk, and don't really want to throw it in a bag and leave it on his porch.

Maybe it is too soon, but the more distance we have, the more confusing things seem. The longer we go without talking, the more I think about how much I love him, and how important he is to me, and how irreplacable our love seems. But at the same time, it hurts so badly that this man who told me just one week ago that he loved me, that I am his best friend, that I am the love of his life, can't even call me. And that makes me think that he only loved me when I "let" him drink...that his promises that beer would never come before me are all lies, and beer has won hands-down
I really, really get everything you're saying and like you am sitting, waiting, trying one hour at a time to keep afloat. I left my H and took our 2 very young children with me bc of similar circumstances. Lying etc... In all honesty, I wish he'd done this when we dated or that I'd seen there was a problem bc since the night before our wedding and continuing 8 yrs until now it has been one lie, disappointment etc... after another.

I am so sorry you are hurting and I know where you are coming from. Hang in there!
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:02 PM
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Thanks again to all

Well, after a long period of soul-searching, I decided to call him. He is still drinking, and realizing that he can't do it alone, which is good. He is going to see a doctor and counselor a couple days a week. And thinking about antabuse, which sounds like a good piece of a larger plan. So, still one day at a time, though now that we have at least communicated, I feel a little more "whole" in my heart. Don't quite want to have hope yet, but am at least not feeling completely despairing.

So thank you again for sharing all of your thoughts and experiences. I am sure that I will be returning to this board many many times over.
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by courageouscrane View Post
So, still one day at a time, though now that we have at least communicated, I feel a little more "whole" in my heart. Don't quite want to have hope yet, but am at least not feeling completely despairing.
You may not realize it yet, but you are completely "whole" whether or not you communicate with him, whether or not he sees a counselor, whether or not he gets sober. That is the essence of recovery. It a a process of learning that other people have their own path to travel, and I have mine. Sometimes those paths cross, sometimes they even merge, but they are still separate and unique.

My life and my journey are complete no matter what anyone else does with theirs. It's a profound and empowering realization to embrace.

L
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:17 AM
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this is why it's so hard

Get Your ANGRIES Out
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by courageouscrane View Post
Thanks again Lexie. I guess I am hoping/feeling/believing that my partner is more like your first husband, rather than your second. Though at this moment in time, it seems like he is really wavering between the two.

I guess this is, still and again, where I get stuck...if my presence or absence makes no difference in his life; that is, if I am powerless to control his addiction, why is contacting him, letting him know that I do care, such a bad idea?

I suppose I am being dogmatic about it, but also hoping that my absence will hurry his elevator to the bottom. Though still fearful that my absence will let his elevator crash six feet below

I guess I am realizing that *I* am not yet at my bottom with him or our relationship. He really is the love of my life, and I can't imagine being without him. One interminable day at a time, I guess...

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and experience. You really helped me find some clarity around the situation.
I too thought my absence from my ex would make him think. It never did!

He's so dead inside, when I didn't contact him, he would not contact me, even when it was him who did something so wrong.

Addicts pretty much are just so emotionally vacant
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:41 AM
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I needed the space of NC to get my head around the situation. And I journaled through that time. I look back and think, wow, I thought I was ready to move on, I thought I was healed, but geez, I needed that time. And still do, which is why I'm still taking my time and my divorce has been final for 4 months.

Looking back with the clarity of time changes things a lot. Getting away from the crazy: Huge.

I don't know if me leaving made him hit bottom. I hear that it might have. But I have moved on, and have no space in my life now for someone who lies and hurts me.
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:33 PM
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Thanks again all

For sharing your experience. I think you are all right that NC is key for getting space, finding your bearings, and grounding yourself.

DMC: journaling has been HUGELY important for me. As I look back over the past year of notes, it is amazing how much of a cycle it is for me, and for him...drink, drink, talk about it, cut down, increase, drunk, talk about it, lather, rinse, repeat.

SP: I have to say that in my case, my absence from my BF does seem to make a difference. When the poop hits the fan, and I am out of his life, there is progress for me on where I stand in our relationship, and progress on his part in drinking (or not). Although, since we're still dealing with it, how much progress has really been made? I would say for me, there's been A LOT more clarity. And for him, even, I think there's been a lot...he IS seeing a counselor, working on a treatment plan, etc. A year ago, he still shuddered at the thought of calling himself an "alcoholic." So, I guess it's fair to call that progress.

And thanks LTD for the argument about being "whole" without him. I guess that is something that I have a tough time with in this relationship. I meant it in more of a normal, romantic way, but I definitely get what you mean about being "whole" on your own. I don't like term "soul mate" because I think it's cheesy and over-used, but since I can't come up with anything better, I guess that is how I feel about him, and how he feels about me. I guess what I meant was that feeling you have when you are in love, and you are just *that* much more complete...if that makes any sense?

But, as many people will point out, nothing with an A is normal, and you're always sort of dealing with jekyll and hyde, so who really knows? I guess that for today, all I can do is be aware of what I'm facing and take care of myself as best I can, so I'm going to keep trying to do that...
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