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Break up; Having a hard time with acceptance and letting go

Old 11-30-2012, 12:13 PM
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Break up; Having a hard time with acceptance and letting go

This is 8 kinds of LONG, but I could really use any perspective.
I am a recovering alcoholic - been sober since 2006. Until 4 months ago, I dated a guy that was/is also in the program and it was the best relationships I’ve ever had. Not only was he great and he “got” me (we “got” each other) but he was a very kind yet confident person. I never had any desire to manipulate him the way I’d done so out of immaturity and self-centeredness to my past boyfriends when I was using. I approached our relationship much with the same respect that I approach my program and I tried very hard to take the good with the bad, to be tolerant and honest, and not complacent. He did too.
We were together for almost 6 years and engaged for the last 1 ˝ yrs. We are both in our late 30’s, own our own properties, and have no desire for kids. Though we had no date set to get hitched we were getting ready to begin searching for a home to buy together. This past June he was in the process of refinancing his mortgage and adding my name to his new mortgage and to the deed to his house. His property is a multifamily rental property and just before he was to have his place appraised for the refinance one of his tenants flooded the building causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. That event seemed to be the proverbial straw of sorts that broke the camel’s back…. A little more background:
My ex has been in recovery for 10 years. His drugs of choice were booze and later cocaine. For many years he practiced a great program. 12 step work comes naturally to him, almost to the point that he has no problem helping others but refuses any help himself. He is a self-employed musician who sets unrealistic standards for himself especially considering that he refuses to self-promote his music.
He comes from a small family – dad, mom (who is originally from Argentina) and 2 brothers – both adopted. When he was 15 the older of his two adopted siblings committed suicide. His folks were too wrapped up in their own grief to really realize how much he was partying. He did a lot of weed, drinking and LSD. He began traveling on Grateful Dead tours and was really wrapped up in that life style, both while in high school and later during the summers while attending art school (he was a painting major). Eventually the Dead stopped touring and he, having graduated from college, was living the life of a self-supporting artist/musician. He worked a commission based sales job right out of college in order to buy the rental property that would become his source of income while he pursued music. Fortunately, he never had that artist mentality that he could somehow subsist financially on just his art. Unfortunately, after he purchased the rental property and secured tenants, his alcoholism and later his cocaine addiction progressed and he declined rapidly. His dad, who was quite a bit older than his mom, died of a heart attack while my ex was still drinking. He and his dad were close and he carries a lot of guilt over that. He finally got sober in 2002 after almost losing his house and OD’ing on alcohol and coke and ending up in a 4 day coma.
He discovered, by finding others like him in AA, he could continue to enjoy and play music while sober. Since 2004 his mother’s health has been steadily declining and he is her sole caregiver. His other surviving brother bailed on the family – just dropped out of touch in 2007 – hasn’t been heard from since. My ex had lent his brother several thousands of dollars on several occasions, to save his brother’s house from going into foreclosure. It’s quite sad and really confusing for his poor mom, and that is hard on my ex. To boot, I know that my ex feels angry and possibly abandoned by his brother but down plays it saying that it’s out of his hands. Since then, my ex is the only one available to support his mom – financially, emotionally and physically. It’s hard on him but he reminds himself that it’s his living amends to her. Since his brother bailed and his mom has gotten worse he has been increasingly stressed out and refuses to ask for help. He wouldn’t let me help either. But, as our relationship progressed I started pushing him more and more to let me help him and/or to seek outside help for her. He continued to fight me and minimalizing the toll it was taking on him.
Last year he spent a lot of time, energy, and money writing and producing a record. During that time he was so happy. He kept proclaiming that he was having the best year of his life. All of that seemed to start falling apart the following February 2012. Suddenly he was irritable and unhappy about the album, the situation w/his mom was still there and he still wouldn’t let me help. The band he put together broke up right before the album was released. I thought he’d eventually get over it. Not to sound unsympathetic but, at least to me, it was simply a lot of “life on life’s terms” stuff. Though he refused to accept help and continued to minimalize things, he always did seem to be able to move past them eventually. Just before he started working in the studio on his album he’d had a crazy situation go down with his long term AA sponsor, who was the same guy who’d shown him that enjoying music and going to shows while sober was possible. His sponsor had what appeared to be a sudden nervous breakdown and was institutionalized for 2 weeks. True to form, my ex swooped into help. His sponsor told him that there was some 5th step type stuff that preempted his breakdown. Namely that he’d been fooling around on his wife for years. Many of those hookups happened while he was traveling to see music shows. My ex was insistent that his sponsor come clean to his wife. His sponsor felt like she wouldn’t be able to handle it and that he would do a living amends instead (billed it as “unless to do so would injure them or others” type thing). Being none of his business my ex agreed to keep his sponsors secret as long as his sponsor broke off his current adulterous relationship and started his living amends immediately. His sponsor did not. It took his sponsor 3 months to end the extramarital affair and my ex felt like his sponsor was full of ****. Not just in the way he’d treated his marriage but that he was a fake in the AA program. That he’d taken so much of what his sponsor told him and put it into place in his own life only to find out that his sponsor was really a hypocrite. It really REALLY affected my ex and I never quite understood why it affected him SO bad. My ex acted like he was the scorned wife….. At that time he was really only going to about 1 meeting a week. Maybe it’s also worth mentioning that I met him about 4 months after a breakup where his ex, whom he’d met drinking/drugging and who’d stuck it out with him, had wound up cheating on him.
Fast forward back to after he finished up his record (Feb. 2012) and he’s bummed again and I’m thinking it’ll pass…. It doesn’t. He started having panic attacks. He’d had one a few years before when his brother estranged himself from the family but not since. In-between February of 2012 and June of 2012 he had at least 4 attacks. 2 of them landed him in the ER. One of them occurred with an excruciating headache. When we went to the ER he admitted to having had smoked pot, thinking it would help with the pain. My ex would smoke weed once in a blue moon (talking like 1 or 2x/yr.) so the fact that he smoked it didn’t strike me as odd at the time, but the fact that he had some to smoke in his house did. That was this past April. Right after that I talked him into going to see my doctor about medication for what appeared to be depression/anxiety. He was prescribed 20 mg of Prozac and a low dosage of a beta blocker (high blood pressure med) to combat the anxiety and the headaches. My ex was very hesitant to go to the doctor’s and even more hesitant (almost freaked out) to take the meds, but he did. About 2 weeks into taking them he claimed that they were causing him to lose his desire to play music and started canceling acoustic gigs that he and another guitarist were doing together. He also started isolating and became hard to get in touch with. He admitted to me and his friend (the other guitarist) that he felt like the meds prescribed were adversely affecting him. I told him that he needed to talk to the doctor about how they were making him feel. At the end of May he we went off to a Phish concert in Atlantic City with a friend. While there the friend he was with - who is not in the program but knew my ex when he was using - was careful that he wasn’t exposed to any coke in particular. My ex was super flattered by how his friend – who isn’t in the program – understood and had his back. A couple weeks after that, he was invited to another Phish concert and then a few more. All told he was gone for about a month. I didn’t mind b/c he was having fun. As a matter of fact I was insistent that he go on. He kept in contact with me and even allowed me to take care of his mom for him so he could stay on the road. When he came home and told me about all of the fun he’d had I asked him if there was another show he could attend. He responded that there was but that he is “an adult now and can’t do that kind of stuff”… I told him that I thought it was fine – once in a while – as long as he was managing his life. He stated that he’d think about it. That same week he was confiding in me that his home owners insurance was due and that he was planning on paying it with money from the refinance but since the refinance was put on hold he wasn’t sure if he could swing the whole thing. I offered to give him the money. He agreed to take it. He’d never agreed to take money from me so easily before. I was happy and grateful that he was finally feeling better and finally allowing me to help him out. A week later, he broke up with me, out of the blue. (The day before that he was literally telling me how much he missed and loved me and how his friends all think I’m awesome for being so supportive.) He told me that he felt as though we were incompatible and that he thought it better to end things now before they deteriorated further and we ultimately grew apart and broke up. I was shocked. He still took the money that I’d offered him. He stopped taking the meds about 2 weeks after he broke up with me. I spoke with him recently and though he acted like he was still really into me (different people commented on the fact he couldn’t stop staring at me) he said that he hadn’t changed his mind and that he felt that he’d ultimately cheat on me if we stayed together. Suddenly he isn’t sure of what he wants to do with his life and that he may even sell his house. His friend – the other guitar player – heard a rumor that my ex had “done the gamut of psychedelics “while on Phish tour and confronted him over it. My ex who’d always been very respectful of his friend got super angry and defensive. They are no longer friends. To this day my ex swears that all he did on the tour was smoke some weed and that his friend equates weed w/other harder psychedelics and that his friend is just “pissed that he broke up with his girlfriend” (umm, I thought we were engaged, mofo…but whatever). It was all really weird. I don’t think that he is going to too many meetings but I believe him that he didn’t do anything other than pot while on tour. I do believe that he is smoking a lot more weed these days and said as much to him and he didn’t deny it. So, that means he is. He’s not playing music b/c “he has no one to play with”. He wants to be friends but I can’t do that to myself right now. Still, I worry about his state of mind so I’ve reached out to him 2x in the last 4 months to check in on him. He’s friendly but barely responds…Umm, I thought he wanted to be friends?
My whole reason for posting this here is to get some feedback on this from other folks in recovery. Maybe some who have used pot recreationally and/or who maybe had a similar experience at midlife themselves. After reading some of the posts here, it seems he may be codependent. Even though I didn’t ask, he told me that he his heart was never into the engagement (I saw ZERO signs of this). He won’t admit that he simply no longer loves me yet he says that he’s afraid he’ll cheat and that he “can’t be himself around me”. It’s hard for me to believe that he’d tell me he’s afraid he’ll cheat but he won’t tell me he no longer loves me. And why has it taken 6 years for him to figure out that he isn’t comfortable around me? He also mentioned that the stuff that went down with his sponsor “really screwed him up”. I asked him if I should blame his sponsor over the fact that we are no longer together and he said “no”. It seems that he is running from something or regressing while going through a dry drunk. I’m thinking that he is self-medicating w/weed and perhaps that is one of the reasons we’re suddenly incompatible and the reason why “I wouldn’t like him when we are older”.
Thanks so much for reading this!!!! I go to a LOT of AA meetings now and previously spent a year in Al Anon and have also really stepped up my step work since the breakup, but I still can’t make heads or tails of this and it’s hard to talk frankly about it at the meetings that I go to as many there know him. I appreciate any feedback. xxoo
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:01 PM
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Hi Nowell,

I am pretty new to this site but certainly not new to the issues you speak of. Although I am not an addict myself, I have (and do) deal with the same issues. My RAH had been drinking and smoking pot for 25 years before just 30 days ago going into recovery. At several points in time he had tried to modify his drinking, stop the pot smoking, only smoke or drink on weekends and a variety of other useless scenarios. He had always been told that marijuana is 'natural' and non-addictive. He (and I) found out the hard way that this simply is not true. He tried to quit numerous times and always went back stating that it helped him with his anxiety. What I have learned by educating myself through books and speaking sith substance abuse counselors is that pot actually makes anxiety worse over time. It may initially produce a calm but it puts your emotions on a roller coaster ride! Add alcohol to this and nothing but trouble. He always felt depressed as well and was prescribed every antidepressant in the book. They had minimal effect on him and I now see why. We have both since learned that, not only is drinking while using antidepressants not recommended, it lessens the effectiveness of them altogether. At a certain point he told me he was just sick of taking the pills, them not working, drinking and smoking pot and still feeling like crap. He had to do this on his own though...no matter how much and how long I could see it, he didn't want to hear it.
In regards to relationships in early recovery, you should read the article entitled 'Relationships and recovery' that is on the home page at the top. I believe it is marked "Articles". It basically speaks about new relationships as sometimes being a replacement 'high' for the addict in recovery. I would say that after the high wears off then it isn't as exciting for them any more. I don't think the addict even realizes that he is functioning this way but it certainly makes perfect sense if you think about it.
When I read that he told you 'he is afraid he will cheat' it hit home to me because I have been told something similiar before and found out later that he had already cheated when he said this.....
I don't think you mentioned how long he's been sober or if he's totally sober (if he's smoking still, he's not sober) but my RAH was told by his Dr. that it wouldn't be wise for him to try to diagnose him with a possible mental illness until he has stabalized for a while.
In the meanwhile, take care of you.....
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:31 PM
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Thank you SO MUCH for responding It really helps.
My ex has been sober for 10 years. He was sober for 5 when we met. He would smoke pot once in a while -- like once or twice a year, up until recently when he started doing it much more often (he told me as much when we broke up). My background isnt in drugs -- at all -- just booze, so when he told me that he smoked weed on rare occassions, I didnt really judge him for it. I tried it myself, once in early sobriety, and immediately wanted MORE. I then realized thata pot, like alcohol, isnt an option for me.
Considering the chain of events of the last several months leading up to the break up, it makes a certain amount of sense that he is/has been smoking weed regularly. For one, he had it in his house that one night we went to the ER, for two, it would probably explain his panic attacks and his adversion to the prescribed medication, for three, he's now telling our friends in recovery that he's always smoked pot on occassion and that he's never hidden that from them -- that's a lie b/c he asked me not to tell anyone early on b/c most folks dont understand -- they dont consider it sobar behavior... huh.
Also, I think he did meet some girl while away on that tour and that he is now sucked into some fantasy where he can smoke weed, date some hippy chick and stay "sober" (from booze and coke) - all while living the life of a "free spirit".
I think he's jacked up in the head right now -- all of the mounting life on life's terms stuff -- w/our relationship being sealed and about to go to an even more commited level (we'd be living together), the damage done to his house, his lack of money, and taking care of his mom was the perfect storm for when he went off to Phish land and met others, not in recovery, who "get" him (one of which is probably some chick).
It just sucks b/c even though I know its not me or my fault, I cant believe it happened. I keep hoping he'll suddenly snap out of it, realize that he screwed up and come back.
He was a really really good partner to me (even when he was falling apart) and, though I consider myself pretty damn intuitive, I didnt see this coming at all. Our friends and his mom were as shocked as I was.
I know that I have to put myself first and I am. I'm taking the high road too and not becoming some bitter/resentful/scorned ex, but its hard as hell to do that and stay out of denial at the same time.
I will keep putting one foot in front of the other -- you do the same! I imagine that all of that (taking the high road and attempting to forgive rather than resent or hate him) is really hard for you too.
Are you and your husband still commited on any level?
Feel free to message me whenever

Last edited by Nowell; 11-30-2012 at 02:44 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:08 PM
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Welcome to SR, nowell.

I may be wrong here, it it is my understanding that sober means no drugs and alcohol. And drugs like pot. It is a drug, right? SO how can he be sober and have a strong 12 step program if he's smoking pot?

And in all honesty, it sounds as if he let you go to free himself for whatever he is up to. My internal BS radar went off all throughout this post. Why would a friend confront him on using drugs if it wasn't true? And you all are my age...my friends don't BS. We're too old for that nowadays. So I lean toward that friend knows a lot more about these concerts than you do.

It sucks to be caught off guard, I know, because I was too, by an addict. But you know what? Everything happens for a reason, and I am far enough away from my divorce to see that I have dodged a bullet and can go on with my own life, without the ball and chain of addictions dragging me under.

Reading between the lines in your post, I sense a lot of things being "off" here. More to be revealed, I would bet.

In the meantime, you sound like you have a lot to offer folks here, so please keep coming back, and hang in there. It does hurt less and less as time goes by.
~T
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:18 PM
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Nowell, there is also a Friends and Family of Substance Abusers section to Sober Recovery, and you might want to copy your post there since you'll get lots of readers who have experience with pot and other drug abuse.

I am so sorry for your situation. It does sound as if he is descending into some kind of addiction or depression. Taking care of yourself is important. Sorry I don't have anything more specific to offer, I'm thinking of you and wishing you well.

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Old 12-01-2012, 08:05 AM
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You guys rock! T- I love it! What you said is so true that I laughed out loud - I needed that! I appreciate your direct and honest approach. I need that but I get sick of the move on, take care of yourself, it doesnt matter approach. Though that is in essence what you said, I can really sink by teeth into your elaboration. Im as capable of denial as the next person and your words keep me from going there. Again, thanks folks I'll keep coming back!
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:45 AM
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SS1-thank you for your sweet words of support. It means a lot to me. And thank you for the depression angle...I've thought a lot about that myself but, alas, it's yet something else that I have no control over. I have to remind myself that when I was flailing I wasnt ready to accept the truth or any help until I was ready and willing. XxOo
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:17 AM
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You'll move on and work on yourself in all due time.

In the meantime, trying to figure things out is a part of the moving on process. There may be much you don't know, but as you work through it all, I think things will become a lot clearer. Red flags you didn't see at the time appear in your vision again. Words you believed back then suddenly sound like horse-pucky. The further you get, the easier it is to let go of the denial and face it for what it really was.

Go easy on yourself. Its normal and natural to grieve the loss of relationships, even if we know its best to be shed of them!
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:47 AM
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When people fail to be transparent, that is a red flag. All his breakup reasons are vague, cryptic...you name it, all leading to confusion for you. His reasons lack substance, validity, and they reek of ulterior motives.
Let's be "friends" is often used simply to avoid animosity and placate when the person asking for friends has no thoughts or plans on how to change the relationship to become legitimate friends.
From what you've written it appears as if he is on a train-wreck course at this point, so it is good for you to distance yourself as much as possible and do everything in your power to better your life and feel good about yourself.
It stinks...I know...but do what you can to get through the stench and come out smelling like a rose on the other side.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:22 AM
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It all smells Phishy to me!

The hardest lesson for me is that if someone wants out: open the door for them.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:27 AM
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Live- HAHAHAHA! Nice!!!
Thanks everyone, I love you guys and WE've never even met!
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