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Recovering alcoholic avoiding intimacy

Old 11-02-2012, 11:22 PM
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Recovering alcoholic avoiding intimacy

Hello! I haven't been on in a while. My RABF has stopped drinking and has been working the AA program for 120 days, attending meetings and connecting with his sponsor. For that, I'm incredibly grateful. And I have seen some wonderful changes in him and in his life.

That said, I'm not feeling so wonderful.

We had a fight tonight, similar to other arguments we've had recently. The bottom line: He's avoiding intimacy with me, both physically and emotionally. Not totally, but there is a noticeable difference and distance. If I suggest I would to have a deeper conversation or if I suggest I'd like to be intimate, he tends to freak out, pick a fight and overreact. (We are in our 30s, do not live together, seeing each other 2 years.)

Tonight after a nice dinner and movie and we were just sitting watching TV, I hinted I was ready to turn in with him. He freaked. According to him: I'm "putting too many demands on him." He "can never just sit down and relax." I "can't just let things happen, I've got to control everything." My jaw fell -- all this from suggesting I'd like to be intimate? He went on -- he wants to break up, this relationship isn't going to work ... etc. etc. Words that stung greatly.

After all that, he starts getting ready for bed and motions for me to join him and . I told him if he felt that way, he really needs to leave. Long story short, he left. This isn't the first time this has happened recently. This kind of thing has happened way too often recently.

I feel very rejected and confused. I'm wondering how much of this is related to his sobriety and how much of it is related to me/us.

I was so done with this man in June -- I just had it with his alcoholism after two years. Then, he surprised me by seriously buckling down and getting his life together. He begged me to give him another chance - he loved me, didn't want to lose me, wanted to make all wrongs right.

And now this?

Can anyone offer some perspective? Thanks for listening.
Jessie
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Old 11-03-2012, 03:50 AM
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Originally Posted by jessiec View Post
My RABF has stopped drinking and has been working the AA program for 120 days

I was so done with this man in June -- I just had it with his alcoholism after two years. Then, he surprised me by seriously buckling down and getting his life together. He begged me to give him another chance - he loved me, didn't want to lose me, wanted to make all wrongs right.And now this?

Can anyone offer some perspective? Thanks for listening.
Jessie
The part that is bolded: He made those promises while still under the influence or newly sober, right?
He was offering his alcoholic manipulations of you and your relationship.

Was he just telling you what you wanted to hear?

He is still very early in his recovery and he may improve, or this may be as good as it gets.
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:15 AM
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He is just beginning to dethaw (or deal with) his emotions that alcohol, in the past, has numbed or manufactured. They will be all over the place. He doesn't know how to cope with sobriety let alone his emotions. And bear in mind that sobriety is his number 1 priority.

Here is a glimpse regarding intimacy in early sobriety: http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...imacy-too.html
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:06 AM
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There was another thread on here recently about this.

Its not uncommon when they get sober to have a problem in the intimacy department. It can last a long time I am sorry to say.

We always think its us - they don't want us, they aren't attracted to us etc. Its not. I can say that all day long and you will fight with yourself on it.

My sober AH and I never had a great sex life in frequency. This bothered me for about 6 months and then one day it dawned on me that what he was saying was the truth. He just didn't have a high sex drive.

I didn't know him drunk. He said he liked having sex while drinking because it lowered his inhibitions.

Now he has relapsed. I didn't see any difference at first but now I am. He wants to have sex more. I have no desire to.

Anyway - its not easy being with them active, and its not easy being with them sober. I would take my sober AH any day over this, we had a rich relationship, a very affectionate one and the infrequent sex was something I was able to accept because of the other.

You should do a search on this subject it has been written about often. My suggestion for now would be to back off of it as he continues to work the program. Its a sore spot - I think like many men its not only about that he is not doing it but that he feels "less a man" because he can't give you what you want.

Good luck its not easy - after all they put us through it would seem that getting sober would be the magic pill but its just another (better) journey to find out who they really are.
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:36 AM
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Thank you the the responses and insights -- that thread was interesting and I will look for more like them.

Alcoholism was totally new to me. and now so is recovery. I really want to understand what is going on/what he's going through -- and where that puts me.

The harshness of the response is what stung so much. I said one simple thing and he got so upset/anxious/hurtful/accusatory -- gets me all stirred up -- and then wants to go to sleep? A simple "I'm tired," would have sufficed. If we are able to continue a relationship, communication really needs to improve.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:36 AM
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His communications are simply an expression of the emotions beginning to dethaw/cook inside his volcano and to spew out of it. The communication could be clean air, smoke, debris, lava splatter, billowing eruptions, or burning rivers of lava ... he's not learned what the heck he's got or how to manage all that. Trying to understand what the weather effects of that, and the currents between you, will be on your homefront is doable only with the broadest of brushes.

Keep your distance and work on your own protection (recovery). Get to Al-Anon.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:32 AM
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So far his recovery had seemed very easy. Giving up drinking, going to the meetings, finding a sponsor he liked -- all clicked beautifully. But it could be harder than he's letting on -- or even harder than he realizes. He has stalled on his fourth step - the personali inventory (he is still going to meetings, but he's been putting off the work). He might not really be ready to begin confronting the more difficult/ emotional stuff.

I am working on me -- I am in therapy (cannot wait for this week's session -- my therapist really gets it!) and Above all, I'm a big believer in prayer. I have tried alanon, but never found a fit. Also, my schedule really is full with two jobs and freelance work.

Right now I feel OK. I have not heard from him today -- I am not calling him. I am going to lunch with my best friend whose husband is an RA.
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Old 11-03-2012, 01:44 PM
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I just this morning read the following from "Women who love too much" Robin Norwood":
When a man has been using alcohol or drugs and then stops it sometimes takes a year or more for his body chemistry to right itself & for him to respond sexually in a normal fashion, without the presence of a drug in his system. During this period of physical adjustment the couple may have considerable difficulty understanding & accepting his lack of interest and/or ability to perform sexually................
To make it as a couple in the absence of active addiction, they must walk seperate paths for a while, each focusing on his or her own recovery. They must each look within & embrace the self they tried so hard, through loving each other, dancing with each other, to avoid.

I can't find the page I read quickly but it said along the lines of: a man needs to feel strong to be sexual, when recovering the addict no longer feels strong or in control & therefore he is unable to be sexually motivated.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-03-2012, 02:43 PM
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Tonight after a nice dinner and movie and we were just sitting watching TV, I hinted I was ready to turn in with him. He freaked. According to him: I'm "putting too many demands on him." He "can never just sit down and relax." I "can't just let things happen, I've got to control everything." My jaw fell -- all this from suggesting I'd like to be intimate? He went on -- he wants to break up, this relationship isn't going to work ... etc. etc. Words that stung greatly.
add in a little, "you're crazy" and you've got the exact conversation that i had with my xabf on halloween.
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:19 PM
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As someone who has been through the inevitable adjustment that happens after quitting an addiction, and known many others who've done so, I can only say this. Even the most successful long term recovery starts out very messy. It is almost like adolescence for many of us, both emotionally and sexually. Some of us haven't had sex sober for years and the notion of being intimate without the buffer of intoxication can be terribly intimidating....yet as adults we are embarrassed to feel that way.

No one could be blamed for not wanting to hang in there with a newly abstinent partner during this period of adjustment. There's no doubt about it--it's incredibly tough--and again, this is true even if your partner does successfully quit his or her addiction.

I have no advice to give you good folks nor do I intend to make excuses for the behavior of people who have recently quit addictions. I guess all I'm saying is...it goes with the territory.
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