Do we really love addicts?

Old 10-03-2011, 10:17 AM
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Do we really love addicts?

I am pretty new to this forum. I just started al-anon. But I really have started to question my relationship with my alcoholic wife. Do I really love her? I have a physical attraction to her that pales in comparison to anything. I would rather be with her than any Victoria's Secret model. She never was model hot, but for me she was perfect.

But now I am wondering...what else is there? She is an alcoholic. Not someone who drinks too much and is obnoxious. An ALCOHOLIC. She lies, manipulates, blames me, circumstances, and the kids. She still does not come clean about the nature of the wrongs. She is a completely different person using and is unrecognizable.

I guess the question is how can there be love between a man and a woman without trust? To me trust goes hand and hand with love. Without trust, you cannot really give yourself to another feely. You always hold back. I know she doesnt trust me. She hides herself. I would accept the flawed human she is if she was honest, but she lies and hides it. She wont share. I no longer share because I dont trust she will be a good steward of my love. She will hurt me somehow. I now over compensate with physical attention.

Do I love an idea of her that I created that she will never live up to? Do I love the idea I made in my mind of how life and marriage was supposed to be? How do we come to terms with whether or not we actual love this person who has caused so much pain? How do we determine the best course of action for the whole family once we realize the answer?

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Old 10-03-2011, 12:16 PM
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What a profound question!

I loved him, once... And as my handful of dreams for the future fled through my fingers like sands in the hourglass, and that love turned to hatred of what he became, that changed. I remember him talking about how he wished he would die, and trying to come up with a way that it wouldn't be against my religion to strangle him in his sleep, and realizing that I was changing into someone I didn't like.

I think, for me, I loved the person I thought XABF (alcoholic ex-boyfriend) was. I loved who I thought he could become. I loved the facade he showed me to pull me in.

I can't stand the person he is now. The lying, manipulative, abusive, resentful, angry, alcoholic person he is now is never who I thought he'd be, not in a million years.

I still care about the person I thought he was, the person I believe he could be if he wanted to be that person... But that's not reality, that's a shadow.
I still care about the person that he is, with all his anger and blame and excuses, but that's not love, that's more in the I'm-a-decent-human-being-who-wishes-the-best-of-everyone category. (And believe me, this part only came when I learned how to forgive him, and let go of the hurt.)

I was in love with a shadow, and so in love with that shadow that I neglected me, as if I were the shadow, and the shadow was reality. But the lights are on, now, the shadows are gone, and I'm left picking up the pieces of my life and trying to figure out who I am.
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Old 10-03-2011, 12:40 PM
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My mom and dad have been married almost 60 years, my mom has been an alcoholic for at least the last 40, I asked my dad recently "dad why do you stay"? He told me that he has never stopped loving the girl he fell in love with, I said but that girl is gone, he said well I still see her when I look at her.

It seems like semantics to me, he hates that she is unwilling to stop killing herself, he hates what her drinking has done to their marriage, but he cannot hate her for doing it.

For me I always love her and sometimes I hate her, but I really don't like her at all anymore, she is a self-absorbed opnionated pain in the butt, and if I was not related to her I would never be around her.

Anyway IMO the answer lies in your heart, you have to decide how you feel, what you want, etc.

I hope you figure it out, I know that after living with an alcoholic mother it would be almost impossible for me to watch my wife do that to herself.

Peace be with you,

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Old 10-03-2011, 01:18 PM
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I loved my EXAH's potential. I loved the dream I had in my head of happily ever after.

That cost me 5 years of my life living in hell.

After I got into recovery myself and divorced him, I loved him from afar, as a fellow addict.

I thought of him often over the years.

He died 4 years ago from complications due to AIDS. He contracted HIV while I was in rehab, so I thank God every day that I didn't go back home to him.
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Old 10-03-2011, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by byrank View Post
I am pretty new to this forum. I just started al-anon. But I really have started to question my relationship with my alcoholic wife. Do I really love her?
I know this isn't quite on topic, but what is that alanon like? How's it working so far? I've just learned about meetings for people that have relationships with alcoholics, so I have no idea what to expect.
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Old 10-03-2011, 02:58 PM
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Sometimes we confuse lust with love, and , it ends up biting us in the [email protected]@.
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Old 10-03-2011, 06:09 PM
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As someone in recovery it took me a long time to love myself.

I loved who I thought he was. I am trying to figure out what I feel now for him.

I don't think he could truly love me though....because he can't love himself.
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Old 10-03-2011, 06:42 PM
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What a great question to ask. I have asked myself the same many times. The answers I keep changing but the best I can offer is this: We can love someone without accepting what they do. Parents love their children no matter what. We often love our parents despite how they treated us. We have friends we love but don't always spend time with for one reason or another. Why wouldn't it be possible to love someone who an A?

The next question is what are you going about your situation? which is what I suspect you are really trying to figure out. Love does not fix anything, does not conquer all etc. It is just another emotion we experience and have to figure out how to deal with it. People's behavior is easier to cope with - we either like it or not and want to be around it or not. At least this is what helped me to make my decision in the end. I had hope longer than I should have. I made my decision when I recognized that I could no longer live this way. Hope you can benefit from the stories shared here.
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Old 10-03-2011, 06:51 PM
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I can honestly say...I REALLY do care about my stbxah, but to say I love him for who he is...I can say I don't. I loved what I thought he could be....what I wished him to be, but I could not love who he is, or how he is. I don't really think I believe it is possible to love some who caused me this much pain. I think for me at least I feel in to that abuse-attachment circle that I have read about. I wish him the best...>I REALLY do, but I will hope and wish for him from afar.
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Old 10-03-2011, 07:15 PM
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Posts: 11 having similar feelings with my ah. after all of the hurtful things he has done and said to me over the years..which have only gotten to be more spiteful, more hurtful, and evil and hateful...i am not so sure anymore. i just wrote a post because hes treating our daughter terribly. and someone asked why i was with him, what he was doing for me..and i thought about it because he hasn't done sh*t for me. for years. so many have said- when i first met him i was lured in, he had it all figured out. this wonderful plan of a life he wanted to was facinating. i was awed. i was impressed. thats who i fell in love with. this person who had such spends each day in a disgusting, smelly, old person (no offense anyone!) bar until he can barely stand. thats not what i signed up for. so...maybe im in love with a fantasy? of what i wish he was. what i secretly want him to magically transform into. its not going to happen. i know this because according to him he doesnt have a problem, and he will not change his lifestyle for anyone. he is hapy to sit at pulaski hall and smell urine. maybe if i can concentrate on loving myself as much as i concentrate on the fantasy of him changing..i have a
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:03 PM
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Wow, there is such a common answer in the responses.....which is nothing new here.

I can't tell you whether or not you really love your wife, or rather the idea, I can only say that absolutely fell in love with someone who never really existed.
Being that he lied to me from the beginning, and I never knew it, I fell in love with the lies. The fantasy, the absolute perfection of everything I ever wanted....

And then came the real him, who went back and forth between the man I really believed he was, and the man he really was.

Love? Yes, I love the ficticious character that was created. Love the addict? Never. Love does not work in the same sentence that I can also use the words lie, manipulate, use and abuse.
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:26 PM
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I have been married to my wife for over 36 years and separated for the last 6 months. She has been an active alcoholic for most of the last 15 years. There have been times when I couldn't stand the sight of her and our chances of getting back together again are almost zero. During all that time I never stopped loving her and I don't think I ever will. It is just that now I love me every bit as much.

Your friend,
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Old 10-04-2011, 01:08 AM
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I feel we fall in love with the person that we first met, the person they made us think they were... We don't actually find out who they truly are until they have us webbed in, then we discover they are not what they betrayed them-selves in the begining, if that makes sense. So from that point on we are in love with what we want and need them to be in which Alcoholics cannot and will not be that, they are who they are, nothing more, nothing less... So that's when we as individuals have to decide do I want to live the rest of my life like this.
I feel you are in the right direction, for me I had to cut off all contact with him and for your own sanity you will most likely have to do the same, I know it hurts, but eventually that hurt will ease.. Hugs to you.
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Old 10-04-2011, 01:38 AM
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You probably put a lot of pressure on her, that she had to hide her flaws....I mean comparing her to being prettier than a victoria's secret model...sweet but very idolistic thinking. She's hiding it cuz she's trying to be that perfect wife. I know I did...until I didnt care anymore to be perfect cuz i as so so sick of the lie...but the pressure that man put on me...mann was hard
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:35 AM
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I loved who my wife was when we met. I still loved her deeply when she went into alcoholic psychosis 10 years later. Now that she and I are both in recovery we both work on loving ourselves and the result is that we become even better than the people we were when we met.

My experience is that the personality you fall in love with is/was a real person that got dissolved by alcohol and it is perfectly possible for that person to be found once again. The person has to want that, though, you can't want it for them and it happen on that energy alone.
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:07 AM
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Thanks all. About al-anon, it seems good. I dont know much, VERY new to it. But the people seem great and say if you work the program it will help you let go of the anger, resentmemt, and clarify your feelings, mind, and will help you to make good decisions. And they advise no big decisions regarding life until you are in the program 6 months. That is what I need.

About us, we met at 12 years old. So we kind of formed who we are by being with each other. It is hard to say I dont love her, or wont, or cant, or will love from afar with 4 kids 7 & under. But it seems there is nothing to her life other than the disease. She has been sober for a few weeks and now it is uncertainty, fear, negative attitude that prevails. And can the past hurts be forgiven? Can real trust be rebuilt?

And about putting pressure on her...I dont expect her to look like a model, I never expected her to be perfect, just she was perfect as she was to me. Was "as she was to me" a fantasy of my own making? Are my ideas of love, trust, marriage, loyalty, and sharing only a pipe dream never to be realized in this lifetime?
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:25 AM
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And can the past hurts be forgiven? Can real trust be rebuilt?
Past hurts can be forgiven, I have forgiven my wife. I found it a lot harder to forgive myself when I realized that I had choices that whole time and I choose to stay with her and put myself through all that pain.

As for can trust be rebuilt, well I don't know and I will just have to wait and see how well she does on her recovery.

Lastly, is there hope? Yes, I have rebuilt my life with the help of SR and Al-Anon and I have lots of hope for my future. Life is good.

Your friend,
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:28 AM
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I don't think I loved the addict I knew, I did not love myself.. and he obviously didn't love himself either, being an active addict. So we were just playing out our issues with each other, I was guaranteed abandonment from him, and he was guaranteed a Mommy because he lost his real mom some years ago and took the bottle instead of mourning.

You are totally right, love cannot exist without trust, it may be affection, lust or something else. Not love, love opens your heart.. it does not close it...

All the best in your journey.
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by sherby View Post
I feel we fall in love with the person that we first met, the person they made us think they were...
I can totally identify with this.

Who of us isn't on our best behavior when first interacting with a potential mate? I certainly was. So was EXAH. I was already in too deep when I really began to see all his sides.
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:10 PM
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I was way too young when I met him and I saw all the signs of dysfunction but I had the insanity of thinking "oh he'll change" yep he changed all right to a 24/7 drinker who barely knows his name now and still expects me to take care of him even after we're divorced.
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